Nike is a brand name synonymous to shoes. It’s a household name that has accumulated billions in revenue since its humble beginnings. It’s everybody favorite shoe company. Nike was founded in 1962, by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in the trunk of Knight’s car and was originally started as Blue Ribbon Sports. Nike emanated from two sources: Bill Bowerman’s quest for lighter, more durable racing shoes for his University of Oregon runners, and Knight’s search for a way to make a living without having to give up his love of athletics. The name ‘Nike’ was established in 1972 after the winged Greek goddess of victory.
Instead of a wing, Nike incorporated the “Swoosh”. The “Swoosh” is well known all around the world, designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971, for ONLY $35.00. Caroline Davidson was at that time, a student at Portland State University majoring in advertising. Meeting Phil Knight while he was teaching accounting classes, she started freelancing for his company. She designed the Swoosh and got paid $35. Together with the Swoosh, Nike is also known for its signature tagline- Just Do It that makes Nike stand out like no other company.
Bowerman was the coach for the track team of the University of Oregon where Phil Knight ran in 1959. Bowerman’s desire for better quality running shoes clearly influenced Knight in his search for a marketing strategy. Spurred with this burning desire, the birth of one of the world’s most influential and strongest brand began to take shape. It took a while for the name ‘Nike’ to sink in minds and hearts of shoe fans and sports enthusiasts as well as to establish the great name they have today.
Nike took formation while Knight took his MBA at Stanford in the early ’60s with Frank Shallenberger. The semester-long project was to create a small business of your own and device a marketing plan with it. Converging Bowerman’s attention to quality running shoes and the knowledge and awareness that high-quality/low cost products could be produced in Japan and shipped to the U.S. to be distributed, Knight finally found his market niche. However, Shallenberger thought the idea interesting, but felt it was nothing more than Knight’s marketing ideas for the project, something that would not take off as a business jackpot.
By the late ’70s, Blue Ribbon Sports officially became Nike and went from $10 million to $270 million in sales, and all from the back of a car. Many people complained about how Nikes were not made in the United States in the beginning of the 80s. The term ‘Sweatshop’ came about this time when people were mad of the way Nike shoes were made in Vietnam, China, and Indonesia where the people were paid in low wages and were subjected to very poor working conditions. This was a major public relations issue that led to the boycotting of Nike products worldwide, particularly in the US. Though that, this didn’t stop people from purchasing Nike products and Nike continued to grow.
The turning point for the Nike Company came about in 1985 with the world’s greatest basketball player-Michael Jordan came into play among Nike bigwigs. With Michael Jordan, Nike climbed new heights with the ever popular “Air Jordan” shoe along with the apparels. This made Nike known as a ‘Fitness and Sport Revolution’ Brand and was named by “Advertising Age” 1996 Marketer of the Year, citing the “ubiquitous swoosh…was more recognized and coveted by consumers than any other sports brand–arguably any brand” Nike is at the top of the charts thanks to Michael Jordan but may never admit to this. Thanks to the new found success through collaborations with Jordan, this lead to ne collaborations with famous athletes such as Bo Jackson, Andre Agassi, Charles Barkley, Deion Sanders, Ken Griffey, Scottie Pippen, Penny Hardaway, Jason Kidd, Barry Sanders, and many more.