I’ve been a Nike fan for a long time. I remember my first pair of Nike’s way back in the mid-80s. I was stoked – white canvas with a royal blue swoosh. I think I wore them until they physically feel off my feet. That started my love affair with the brand, through high school sports, and ultimately into college. I had first hand experience with their constant innovation as they were our track team sponsor and we, being Oregon, had access to custom designs and prototypes coming right out of their test labs. Into my 40s, I continue to marvel at the momentum they’ve maintained all these years – and they’re just getting better.
It’s no surprise that they’ve been named Fast Company’s most innovative company of 2013. The continue to evolve, to innovate, and to surprise… and they do it by following 4 distinct rules:
Rule #1: TO DISRUPT, YOU MUST GO ALL-IN
Rule #2: ANTICIPATE A PRODUCT’S EVOLUTION
Rule #3: DIRECT YOUR PARTNERS
Rule #4: FEED COMPANY CULTURE
They’ve come a long way since my canvas sneakers way back in the day…. I wonder if Bowerman is smiling down on the new design crowd and blessing FlyNit from above?
On the heels of signing Rory McIlroy to what’s rumored to be a $200M contract, Nike releases the ‘youngs’ version of a classic dueling athlete commercial – dubbed, “No Cup Is Safe”. For those of us in the middle age department of life, you’ll recognize this very familiar story line ‘borrowed’ from McDonalds, featuring Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan (apologies for the poor YouTube quality). It’s a great spot, and a hat tip to Rory becoming the ‘air’ apparent to Tiger within the walls of Nike Golf.
Nike just ‘did it’ and has done it better than every other sporting goods manufacturer for a long time. They’ve motivated us to want to be better than we are – athletically, and do it in a spirited and fun way. Welcome to the gamification of ‘civilian sports’. We’re all competitive in our own way - if you say you’re not, you’re lying. What I love about what Nike has done is that they’ve taken that competitiveness and made a game of it. With Nike+ and Nike Fuel, Nike is – as they say – ‘Making Life A Sport’. Along the way, they are gathering TONS of data around individuals and their workout habits – which will, in turn, predicate products of the future. Add a social layer to it – as they do with both Nike+ and through their Fuel Band (both linked to Facebook and Twitter) they have an army of ‘athletes’ marketing their products – without spending a dime. Pretty ingenious if you ask me. Game On, World.
I’m a huge football fan – College (Go Ducks!) and NFL…although I watch them very differently. I Love My Ducks, and I love NFL Fantasy Football…. I run a league with 9 great friends and every year we have a good time harassing each other on draft night over our respective picks. This new commercial from the NFL Network pretty much sums up our collective reactions when someone ‘steals’ a player we were targeting. Draft night is this Friday…. I’m Ready For Some Football!