Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman: How to sell without selling – Nike’s Phil Knight
Great branding is about identity – and it’s about matchmaking too. No one knows this better than the legendary co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight. When he and his partner, Hall of Fame track coach Bill Bowerman, started the sneaker company, they never tried to force-feed customers a product just to drive up the bottom line. They focused on one thing: making an excellent product for people who believed in the edgy Nike ethos.
Because they knew, when there’s a mismatch between product and market, the bottom usually drops out. Instead, they told the world who the are, and then did everything they could to find their ideal customers. And made history.
Creating loyal customers
To create loyal customers, brands need to combine aspiration, authenticity, true value, and identity to create connections with ideal customers. It’s important to offer products that align with the brand’s values and aspirations to establish a genuine connection with customers.
Honesty in sales and a passion for innovation can lead to success.
The Swoosh Logo
When building a brand, simplicity and risk-taking are crucial. Nike’s iconic “Swoosh” logo and name choice of the Greek goddess of victory, helped establish the brand identity and align with winning.
A good brand name is short and has a hard sound for easy recall. Simplifying branding by eliminating irrelevant details creates a strong essence. Defining a target audience too narrowly can leave a brand vulnerable to competition.
The branding approach
By prioritizing design and partnering with an advertising agency, Nike expanded their target audience and reconnected with their core brand values, ultimately leading to increased sales and continued success.
Nike’s branding approach showcased its products as aspirational and accessible to all consumers, not just elite athletes. They used star power and controversy to connect with customers and reinforce their image as an irreverent company.
The magic formula for building lifelong brand loyalty
Creating lifelong brand loyalty requires a magical combination of aspiration, authenticity, true brand value, and identity. Great branding is a form of matchmaking that connects ideal customers with authentic brands. It’s important to establish your brand’s identity and create connections with your ideal customers.
These are the individuals who will remain loyal as your brand scales. Building this kind of loyal customer base requires offering products that align with your brand’s values and aspirations. Ultimately, the goal is to “sell without selling” by establishing a genuine connection with customers.
Nike’s brand story
Nike took a risk with their controversial advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, but it paid off with a 31 percent increase in online sales. The company’s core focus on high-level performance shoes remains intact, but they have continued to expand their definition of who an athlete is and what she might look like.
Nike’s brand story has grown with the company, and they have learned from past mistakes like their failed casual shoe brand. As they continue to innovate and push the envelope, Nike remains true to their brand identity and vision.
I never thought I was a sales personality. An extrovert is a person that stares at other people’s shoes. So I’m not really the typical salesman. But, you know, eventually you gotta sell something.