Branding takeaways from a Knight and his running shoes

The Nike story Shoe Dog. Author Nike Founder Phil Knight

I’ve just finished reading Shoe Dog. The Nike story from 1962 – 2016 authored by its Founder Phil Knight.

Phil started with nothing and perservered through times when only his drive seemed to keep him going. And he was focussed – more interested in perfecting a shoe that helped sports people excel than being a famous business identity.

While most of us don’t run a business with the scope of Nike, and are not dealing with sporting celebrity endorsements on a daily basis, there were two things in the book that stood out for me.

No 1 Be proud of your product or service

An excerpt from the book resonated with me.

No 2 Find your point of difference

A new ad agency helped him brand his business around the vision and end result for his customers, not the product. They didn’t focus on the running shoes, they focussed on the spirit of fitness, aspirations and competition.

Your brand is your comittment to your customer, the words and deeds you build your business upon. What marketers create -v- reality is not always a match.

This one has stood the test of time.

Your brand statement is your cornerstone. If you market your business totally or somewhat different from your competitors, your clients will take notice. This is the added value a client can anticipate when dealing with you.

It is a tangible asset if you plan to sell your business, so find your point of difference and concentrate your marketing around that – an inexpensive option that is often overlooked.

Then and now

From a “back of a car boot” business founded by running geeks, Phil Knight was smart to surround himself with good people who could negotiate with the sports celebrities and visionaries who could design shoes that were game changers. Although as a trained accountant his nerves must have jangled the “demand-v-cash flow” slipery slide. And those who have read the book will have picked up on his personal observation of entrepreneurs and America today. (page 382 for the skimmers).

Published by Sherryn McBride

Sherryn McBride and Marketing Talk. Consulting, marketing workshops, industry talks, workplace training and social media.

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