The Nike Story: Part 1

Posted on May 27, 2015 in Discover | No Comments
The Nike Story: Part 1

There are very few brands that have managed to prove their competency and sustainability in the 20th century with the success that approaches the success of Nike Inc.  Nike has captured a Titanic position in the sporting and brand marketing world.

Nike is headquarted in Beaverton, Oregon. Many would consider Nike one of, if not the most, successful and largest brand name pronounced by people when it comes to apparel, shoes, and fashion. The company was founded by two athletes that were friends, they both had great aspirations towards atheletics (and especially track and field).

The founders of Nike were Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. Bill Bowerman always had a quest for improving the shoes of runners of Oregon and he coached track at the University of Orgeon. Phil Knight, on the other hand was a young active runner.

Bill Bowerman, working in University of Oregon, was known for his expertise in track and field. In his tenure of about 24 years as head coach at the University of Oregon Bowerman not only brought his teams to be successful but he also worked to empower the atheletes to reach their full atheletic potential.

Phil Knigt, a middle distance runner, was a pupil of coach Bowerman. Bowerman was looking to improve the performance of his students, so he worked on improving their running shoes in his spare time.

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Bowerman had a great thirst for improving the running shoes, especially for his track atheletes.He was considered a hardcore runner and an expert in running all distances.

Bowerman was frequently credited for looking to bring a reform in running technique and improve the popularity of this sport.  Knight, having the same interests and passion, became very close friends with Bowerman.

Frequently Phil Knight expressed his dissatisfaction about the clumsiness of running shoes. Also, they both had a belief that runners would be able to run better with greater balance if they are provided with better shoes. That was the era when the atheletic shoe market was completely ruled by German Sneakers like Adidas.

In the meantime, Phil Knight, Bowerman’s student was studying for his MBA in Finance in Standford University. In that semester there was project given to students, where they were asked to write about starting a small business in an area. Phil Knight wrote about a new market niche.

Knight brought up an idea of producing high qualiy and low cost sporting good that could be produced in Japan and shipped to US for their distribution. The idea behind this was taken from his coach Bowerman – who was looking tobringquality running shoes to the U.S. Though this project was undertaken for a universityproject, it formed the base for Nike Inc.

In 1962, Phil Knight on a world-tour, traveled to Japan. Knight took at stop in Kobe, Japan. There, he scheduled for a meeting with the Japanese Onisuka Tiger company. Knight strongly believed that the Japanese shoes were really supereme in quality when compared with the shoes in United States.

Knight brought huge shipment of those shoes to U.S. and started a business outlet named as Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1964, they formed a partnership, run the business as started by Knigt. Soon, Bowerman was working as a coach as well as a designer of shoes for Blue Ribbon.

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The shipments from Japan took almost one year to arrive in U.S.   Because there was no good storage or warehouse to keep their shipments, Knight stored those shipments in his parents’ garage. He started to sell the products by taking them to sports events in his car and selling them there.

Bowerman started to experiment with various materials to produce the best running shoes. Those products were personally designed by Bowerman.

After making some profits the founders decided to move to the next stage in their business. That is, to design as well as manufacture those shoes under their own brand.

By early 1970s the founders stopped the import of shoes from Japan. So they engaged in the act of setting up their own manufacturing unit to produce a new type of shoe. The shoes designed by Bowerman had rubber soles that were specifically aimed for runners to improve their balance, speed and traction while running.

Blue Ribbon Sports Inc., was officially changed its name to Nike. Nike gained its name from the Greek Goddess of victory (based on Greek Mythology).

The founders decided to bring the new symbol to the shoes for their first product from Nike Inc. Even totoday, the one powerful tool for Nike’s sustained success is largely due to the brand recognition of it’s iconic logo. The Nike Inc., logo “The Swoosh” was officially designed by Carolyn Davidson, who was a graphic design student of Portland University.

Can you guess how much money was paid to this designer to get the rights to use this logo?

Carolyn was paid just $35!!

The company was from the Greek Goddess of victory and she had the sacred wings that influenced the acts of warriors and gave supreme powers to the warriors. This simple Swoosh Nike logo had a revolution in the clothing market.  Consumers started to recognize this symbol to be the corporate identity for Nike Inc.

The Swoosh symbol was initially used a dull orange color to exihibit the Nike brand identity, as they thought that it would be a powerful tool that improves confidence and stay to be an appealing corporate identity. But as years passed by, the strong black colour was used for the Swoosh.

By the year 1982, Nike Inc., started to spread its wings extensively by selling its famous brand worldwide. Only at that time, the company concentrated on advertising. The reason for that is that Knight initially did not depend on advertising to market the company’s products.

He thought that it could bring Nike products even closer Americans.

In the 1990s, Nike Inc., sales was nearly $2 billion and over 5,000 people were employed all over the world. Soon, Nike Inc., started to move up in track, by engaging itself in production of other sporting equipments.

By the year 2000, around twenty two thousand are working from all over the world. The continuous innovation and the research for improving the excellence of the existing products was the base for the success of this company!





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