Consumers no longer are sold products. They buy things they like and this is done through the communities they join. The benchmark for this is Nike. At one time, Nike was a benchmark for “old media”. Their campaigns in the ’80s with Michael Jordan are just simply historic. They are historic for that era. Nike is a benchmark in creating a brand image. Times have changed and Nike has learned to change with them. This is in itself is a reason why marketers should study Nike.
Nike has learned that modern brand creation is done through the creation of communities that allow Nike and the customer to engage in real time conversation. For this reason, Nike has very limited traditional media campaigns.
Nike has created a running community that brands its products. Nike communicates interactively with its customers with a performance-tracking wrist band. The wrist brand stores the athlete’s performance statistics. This allows Nike to personalize their products with the customer. Nike can create a personalized online community specially for this one runner. By knowing the runner, and the runner’s progress and goals, Nike can set up a personalized training regime for the runner. They can recommend particular products and health supplements just for that particular runner. They can create a personalized running or exercise program just for that runner. They can communicate running races that are planned for that area. They have knowledge of potential training partners, in the runner’s neighborhood, that the runner could connect with to assist in training. The community works like a runner’s LinkedIn. What this does is change Nike from being just a shoe in the store, to a trusted friend. You reject products, but you never reject a friend, especially a trusted friend. This is the means that modern brands are created.
The building of communities has created more targeted branding and more efficient uses of Nike’s financial resources. In the days of old media, when Nike targeted a particular event, like the Super Bowl, Nike could reach 200 million on a special day. Now, with its targeted customer communities, Nike can hit that figure EACH DAY.