I’m getting worried about Nike.

December 23, 2008 § 2 Comments

I’m getting worried about Nike.

A little holiday shopping led to this observation: There’s too much Nike at Nordstrom’s (hey I don’t spend all my time at Walmart).

While Julie tried on shoes it occurred to me that Nike is proving that it is possible to over-emphasize the new. They are competing as a fashion brand, and letting that agenda cloud their core message. C’mon, what do frilly purple boots and UGG knock-offs have to do with “Just Do It”?

Fashion is Nike’s differentiator in a field of athletic wear, but function has always come first. The function is the promise. Once upon a time a waffle-iron inspired a brilliant innovation: a better tread for better performance. A brand was born. It was a beacon. But when fashion eclipses function, the message just gets foggy, and a recession will punish foggy brands.

Do they have the DNA to become a fashion house? Can they build it or buy it? If not, they should throw out the fuzzy boots and get back to making moves that fit the focus of the brand (like this idea).

Nike means victory – on the athletic field, not the runway.

Disclosure: no positions

Full disclosure: Julie bought the UGGs.

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§ 2 Responses to I’m getting worried about Nike.

  • Randy says:

    That Cramer link is spot on — or at least more sensical than what you aptly observed Nike doing in your recent foray into Nordstroms. I’ll surmise that they have typical notion about extending their brand to find additional growth but don’t most brands that we really think are world-class stick pretty close to their core identity?

  • Footloose says:

    I am also concerned about Nike’s future.
    I would like to see Nike designers develop a new product for a new client in a fast paced booming market, the athletic-fitness dance line.
    Shoes that are comfortable for the serious dancer who likes to compete on the dancefloor with the comfort and Grace to carry the performer with precision and style in an incredibly energetic and passion filled industry. I know Nike will have tough competition in this field, I am sure that they are up to meet the challenge with the reputation they have had for competative sports athletes. It is always a good sight to see when new ideas come to fruition in a world where greed, envy and pride make the decisions for corporate execs and those in charge.

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