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Nike: Brand Positioning Case Study

Oct 16, 2023
Nike Brand Positioning

LeBron… Serena… Jordan… Tiger… What do all of these GOATs have in common? Nike — the greatest sports brand of all time.

In this breakdown, we’re going to look at how Nike has used an “emotional edge” to own its category and rule the competition.

Let’s get into it…

💼 The Brand: Nike

💛 The Heart

Nike’s Values: Innovation, Performance, Empowerment, Inclusivity, Fashion & Lifestyle


👤 The Head

  • Nike positions itself not just as a sportswear brand, but as an innovator and culture carrier.
  • By sponsoring world class athletes across ever major sport, the swoosh is now synonymous with greatness.
  • By following this strategy for decades, you now have adults (like myself) who are loyal to the brand because of nostalgia, not just a fashion preference.
  • When you wear Nike, you *feel* like an athlete. It’s their emotional edge and it’s worth billions.

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✋ The Hands

Nike’s innovation doesn’t stop with its sponsorships and inspiring commercials. It leverages its emotional edge inside its app to make it a more intimate experience. Here’s a few things I noticed when I logged in recently…

Custom Welcome Screen — The app could just load up the latest on-sale item. Instead, it greets you, thanks you for your loyalty, and reinforces the brand relationship with a mention of how I’ve been a “Member” since 2018. In return, I feel valued and appreciated.

  • Personalized Product Feed — The products on my screen are personalized according to my most recent purchases. They copy “Because you like…” again reinforces my relationship with the brand.

🧪 Try It Yourself

Whether you know it or not, every touchpoint with your audience creates an emotion.

When they’re hitting your website, opening an email, entering your store, or engaging with your brand in any other way — you have the opportunity to further strengthen your relationship with them and the perception of your brand.

Nike wants to make people feel athletic, strong, important, valued, respected, and yes — even nostalgic.

Take some time and think about how you want your business to make people feel… Smart? Sophisticated? Appreciated? Excited? Calm? How you make people feel is up to you, the important thing is making them feel something

- Try personalizing your subject line or email copy

- Add some personality to your website copy or social media

- Reward longtime customers with something special

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