‘Just Do It’ Grows Up: The Evolution of Nike’s Legendary Tagline

If you’re an executive at Nike and your company owns one of the greatest taglines in the world, the easy choice might be to continue doing what you’ve always done… increase brand equity of “Just Do It” by advertising and signing the top athletes in the world to endorsement deals. Of course, you don’t end up at Nike simply by maintaining the status quo.

Since the mid 1980’s, the company has been researching and experimenting with products that could communicate to runners how far and how fast they were running. About 10 years ago, with the explosive growth of Apple’s iPod, Nike found a suitable partner and Nike+ was born.

As Mark McClusky wrote in Wired Magazine, “Nike has always tried to meet the physical needs of athletes with shoes and equipment, but Nike+ does something very different. Nike+ is about creating, and then meeting, a psychological need.” Today, Nike+ has a variety of mobile aps and has just launched Nike+ Training, Nike+ Basketball and Nike+ Kinect Training to engage more customers and users.

According to Stefan Olander, Nike’s VP of Digital Sport, in a recent Ad Week article, “Nike+ is a sweet spot, where two human cravings meet: the aspirational drive toward self-improvement on the one hand, and on the other, the desire—stronger than ever in the digital age—to quantify one’s activities and accomplishments and compare them against others.”

Olander continues, “It used to be that when you bought a product, that was the end of the relationship… Now, the purchase of any Nike product needs to be the beginning of the relationship we have with the consumer.” This deeper and ongoing relationship outside the shoe store helps increase brand loyalty and drives revenue before they even buy their next pair of shoes.

Olander shares this insight about the Nike+ consumer and the potential of the technology driven relationship, “When I buy this product and take it home and sign up [for the services], I’ve created a link so much stronger than anything you could ever say in a communication. It’s an emotional connection to myself, and my achievement, and my friends. We’ve now created an entire ecosystem of services that complement the product.”

Help Me Just Do It… Enable Me to Just Do It

The product alone is no longer enough. In order to compete in today’s fast changing world, it’s about incorporating technology with your brand to make life better for your target audience.

According to Bob Greenberg, the CEO of Nike’s digital agency R/GA, “Nike belongs in the same conversation as Apple and Google and Amazon—companies that have changed their entire architecture and are now building seamless, interconnected services and experiences, not just products, for consumers.”

For radio stations, what might a seamless service and experience look like? It begins with understanding your audience and what matters in their life, especially during the 90% of the time they are not listening to the radio.

What if you are able to learn that for women in your audience, what really matters is eating dinner as a family and being willing to do anything to surprise her kids. How would you bring that opportunity to life? It’s unlikely that just telling her about 10 in a row to start the day or the retro lunch hour will create a lasting connection. Rather, your brand can build and leverage these  deeper insights to create a unique relationship with your station for both your audience and advertisers unmatched by your rivals including Pandora.

For more information on DMR Interactive can help you generate audience insights that deepen your connection with the listeners who matter most to your ratings and revenue, please contact Andrew Curran.


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