Congratulations to Seth V. from Texas, Rachel B. from New Jersey and Lindsey R. from Indiana for winning the Spring 2017 HALO Scholarship Contest. Each winning essay will be published here on the HALO blog. To get things started, you’ll find Seth’s first place essay below.
Seth will be a freshman at the University of Texas in El Paso this coming fall, and feels that his studies up to this point have taught him to think like a marketer in a couple of ways. “First, my experience with advanced courses at my high school has helped me become a critical thinker. It has helped me to dissect a problem, break it down, and then attack it,” Seth said. “Second, my experience with various extracurricular activities has exposed me to a variety of people. Everyone is different in their own right, yet they can come together in these groups with similar desires. Overall, they represent a market that can be persuaded.”
Read Seth’s winning essay below.
Essay topic: Give an example of a rebranding strategy done well. Why was the change necessary, what steps did the brand take to implement the change and what was the result?
How the World’s Best Running Shoe Learned to Shoot Hoops
In 1964, one of the world’s most profitable companies, renowned for its massive hold in the socio-economic atmosphere based solely on brand reputation and its billions of dollars made in revenue yearly, was birthed from only a $1,200 bank deposit. It is very hard to believe that Nike®, the sportswear giant, had such humble beginnings. Currently, the company’s total market capitalization is over $94 billion (The Motley Fool 2016). A large reason from this huge spike from small business operations to global markets has just as much to do with hard work and perseverance as it does with some very clever rebranding techniques.
When Nike first began manufacturing its products, it focused on meeting the needs of the running market. The two founders of Nike, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, were a duo of track runner and coach from the University of Oregon – the premier school of track athletes. From its inception, Nike wanted to be a company for runners by runners. However, due to the relative slow growth of running as a major sporting activity, the company remained stagnate in growth. The company was not very profitable. They needed a change. It wasn’t until 1984 that Nike made its boldest and bravest business venture.
1984 marked a momentous year for the company. After much discussion and careful planning, Nike decided to open its brand to a new market – basketball shoes. With the support and design input of, rookie at the time, Michael Jordan, the Air Jordan 1 was birthed. The red, white, and black colors mixed with the Nike swoosh marked a new era for sneakers. Soon they became the go-to basketball shoe. The promotional pair of Nike and Michael Jordan were an unstoppable pair. The rumor had it that Michael Jordan was fined for wearing the infamous sneakers during games which helped to promote the shoe’s reputation as a rebellious fashion statement.
Nike effectively rebranded themselves. Although still focused on the running market, the introduction of the Air Jordan brand gave Nike a new reason to explore this new market. Nike made over $130 million in the brand’s first year (Fortune 1998). This occurred for a variety of reasons. First, Nike was urged by Michael to have a marketing campaign of $1 million which helped to promote the brand to new heights that sneakers had never seen before. Second, the brand effectively became a large part of urban culture with its popularity with rappers, artists, and athletes. The massive success of the brand effectively forced Nike to realize its potential as a sportswear company.
Nike has come a long way since its $1,200 bank deposit. With the help of rebranding, the corporation has effectively seen exponential growth in its profit margins. Nike is a prime example of how pushing the boundary of products and expectations of a company can greatly benefit both the producer and consumer. The Air Jordan brand has also helped Nike reach out in other ventures, too, such as with its Nike Skateboarding, Hurley International, and Air Max brands. Overall, rebranding can turn a small company into one of the world’s most valuable sports corporations.
Caplinger, Dan. “How Much Is Nike Really Worth?” The Motley Fool. The Motley Fool, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 07 May 2017.
Edwards, Phil. “Running Was for Weirdos. Here’s How It Became Normal.” Vox. Vox, 17 May 2016. Web. 07 May 2017.
Johnson, Roy S. “The Jordan Effect.” The Jordan Effect. Fortune, 22 June 1998. Web. 07 May 2017.
Ozanian, Mike. “Forbes Fab 40.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 June 2016. Web. 07 May 2017.