There are probably not even a handful of people on earth who haven’t heard of Nike. And Nike’s marketing strategy is one of the most famous in the marketing world. It mostly rests upon a brand image that is favorable and has evolved into a great multinational enterprise over time. The brand image has been kept afloat due to the strong association with Nike’s logo and the distinct slogan of “Just Do It’.

Nike is the largest sneaker maker in the world with 1,150 stores worldwide and 76,700+ employees working for it. Nike was founded about 55 years ago by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman the iconic slogan of “Just Do It” still resonates with its customer even after 30 years.

Nike uses "Emotional Branding" and a catchy headline to attract customers

Biggest Themes of Nike Marketing

  1. Telling a story via each ad: We all know that social media ad campaigns are instrumental for brands in driving sales. Now Nike’s social media marketing strategy revolves around a meaningful and compelling story that resonates with the viewers. The brand cleverly recognizes the human appeal and never directly sells its products. Instead, it chooses to tell a story, either inspiring or emotional or a snippet of daily life. This is called “emotional marketing” and Nike is the master of it.
  2. The strongest social media game: When it comes to social media strategy, Nike’s numbers speak for itself. They quickly adapt to any social media trends that comes along the way and even are a trend-setter in each medium. On Twitter, Nike has got the most engagement in terms of social content. Nike uses hashtags to create a lifestyle for its followers. The tweets are short but have the zing to them that makes it the X-factor. The two-way interaction approach between the brand and its fans has created a sense of community amongst Nike’s followers.
  3. Influencer Marketing: Nike has used different world-famous personalities as a successful marketing method. Moreover, it doesn’t limit itself to just famous sportspersons or athletes but poses rappers and entrepreneurs in their influencer marketing.

During the African American quiet protest in America, Colin Kapernick, the ex-NFL quarterback kneeled during the American national anthem and posted an image of him with the quote #JustDoIt. The results it fetched for Nike were mind-blowing. It got a surge of 1,400% in its social media activities and gained $6 billion in sales overnight. Though the stunt earned quite some backlash, but as they say” Any publicity is good publicity”.

The Nike logo us a brand in itself

Digital Marketing Strategy of the Brand

The distinct digital marketing strategies of Nike have been always inspiring for marketers across the globe.  They are backed by brilliantly effective ads. The company not only sells products, they sell aspirations and emotions of people; but remember, in a good way.

  1. Building meaning stories: Nike campaigns are effective in the sense that they focus on creating meaningful stories that common people can relate to. They induce emotions in the customer which enables them to build a loyal fan base.
  2. A tagline that resonates: Nike tells stories with a narrative of a hero who overcomes hardships and battles to find glory in the end. In most ads the negative lead tells the hero, “You can’t” but the tagline comes out a “Just Do It.”
  3. Word-of-mouth: It is important for any business that customers talk about it and Nike understands that very well. They strive to create exciting experiences that people would talk about and share.

It also enforces a strong distribution strategy. Nike uses varied channels like retailers, e-commerce sites, resellers, and supermarkets to distribute its products worldwide.

  • The right targeting strategy: Nike is not just a footwear brand. It is present in sports equipment, clothing, and many other products. For separate items, it has targeted separate customers and uses separate techniques to pursue them. The worldwide brand always uses cutting-edge technologies like hyper adapt.

A short Case Study

Nike: Reactland 

When Nike launched its new cutting-edge running shoes, Epic React, it had to promote it in a way that caught the people’s interests. They developed a rich digital marketing campaign. The campaign used channels like mobile, social media, video, and website. The striking element of the campaign was the launch of Reactland, a side-scrolling video game that transports users into a virtual arena by 

Epic React shoes of Nike

creating their 8-bit avatars. For this, they collaborated with advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai.  The high-energy game has highlighted the unique properties of the new sneaker model which is claimed to be bouncy, light, and durable. The campaign is a brilliant example of the combination of social media engagement, immersive experimental marketing, and gamification.

Epic React shoes of Nike


Nike’s excellence in marketing strategies can be attributed to its energy in achieving the set marketing goals. Nike believes in “pyramid influence”. Pyramid influence states that the preferences of top athletes influence the product and brand choice of others. Nike pays attention to its technology in producing, designing, and selling. It has outsourced its products to several countries like China, India, and Indonesia. Nike has remained and continues to hold the top spot in the production and distribution of sportswear and sports footwear. Though currently, it faces cut-throat competition from its peers like Reebok and Adidas, the ever-evolving nature and adaptability of Nike has kept it successfully afloat for the longest time in the market.