Before the emergence of companies such as Nike, amateur sports were mainly played for fun and enjoyment, often without competition in mind. However, with sporting enterprises making their mark on a number of activities, the standard of amateur sports has improved greatly, even if they do not transform every person who buys their product into a fully-fledged international athlete! The name, the brand and the lifestyle of Nike has heightened the goals and aspirations of everyone who buys into their 'Just Do It' attitude. Nike have arguably revolutionised the world of sport for the ordinary participant, pushing them to incorporate sport into their daily lives and boosting their overall well-being as a result.
First founded as Blue Ribbon Sports from 1964 to 1971, Nike Inc. have since dominated the sporting arena, in terms of both apparel and footwear. Successful branding, advertising and marketing have made the 'swoosh' logo, and the 'Just Do It' tagline instantly recognisable for consumers across the globe, to such an extent that the company has almost become a consumer lifestyle in addition to a simple sports brand.
Nike have been able to present young and aspiring athletes with positive role models who they can look to replicate in their day-to-day lives, as well as on the sports field. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Mo Farah, Allyson Felix, Michael Jordan, Manny Pacquiao, Rory McIlroy, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, are a few of many names synonymous with the Nike brand, whose careers have been boosted by the support of their financially incentivised sponsorship deals. Don’t get me wrong, ultimately defined as a huge multinational corporation, Nike pioneer the sports industry simply to make a profit. Whilst you could argue, however, that the consumers succumbing to the marketing ploys are being exploited by the business model, this does not take away the fact that there are millions of children in the world who look up to these highly-paid athletes, hoping to one day follow in their footsteps. This aspiration, which can be realised on a consumerist level through the purchasing of Ronaldo’s latest football boots or the basketball that Michael Jordan used to train with, is not necessarily a bad thing. The drive for success, the drive for victory and the drive to 'Just Do It', supplied by Nike and their sportsmen and women, is healthy for the development of the next generation.
The benefits that Nike have brought to the world of sport are endless, particularly in regards to the enhancement of technology and equipment in a number of different sports. Nike is a thoroughly innovative company, which sets the pace for other like-minded corporations to follow. More recently, the introduction of knitted, mesh fabrics used to manufacture more comfortable, natural and barefoot-feel footwear has transformed the sports and leisure footwear industry forever. Not only that, but the improvement in lightweight clothing ranges for sports such as tennis and running, is truly remarkable. It is evident by the price tag on Nike products that a huge amount of money is spent on research, development and marketing of the products. However, it is likely that these technologies, first pioneered by Nike, will become mainstream in the marketplace and prices will become more accessible for the consumer as time progresses.
It is rare that one business can have such an impact on their industry, however with Nike, nothing but success is acceptable. A 'Just Do It' attitude has been adopted by millions, if not billions, across the world.
Original image by Robert Barrow.