Marketing Case Study: Nike's Global Marketing Strategies

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  • 0:05 Nike's Global Strategy
  • 1:27 Emotional Advertising
  • 2:18 NikeID
  • 2:56 Athletes and Sponsorships
  • 3:42 Technology and Marketing Flops
  • 5:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Nike's success in global marketing relies on their ability to reach many audiences with tailored messages. In this lesson, you'll learn more about Nike's global marketing strategies.

Nike's Global Strategy

The title of this lesson alone probably brings to mind images of advertisements and products by the owner of that slogan: Nike, one of the world's most popular and recognizable brands.

Not only is Nike successful at marketing their products in the United States, but they have grown into a truly international company through their approach to global marketing strategies. Global marketing strategy, according to Oxford University Press, is 'marketing on a worldwide scale' taking note of differences, similarities, and opportunities in order to meet global objectives. Or, simply put, it's creating a strategy that fits the market you're trying to reach, incorporating the geographic, cultural, and societal norms of that region. What works for one market may not work for another. Global marketing helps create a strategy for a similar product in a different market.

Nike's business and marketing strategy, both at home and abroad, help keep them at the forefront of their industry of footwear and athletic apparel. Nike succeeds in global marketing because they understand world markets and how to reach each audience in a personalized approach that works for different languages, cultures, customs, needs, and differences.

Nike is one of the most successful companies on the globe, both from a sales standpoint and in their marketing initiatives. Here are a few of the ways Nike achieves success in reaching varied audiences with the right message.

Emotional Advertising

From its beginnings with the now world-recognized slogan, 'Just do it,' Nike has succeeded in marketing across borders through the use of emotional advertising and branding. Rather than selling a product directly, Nike has managed to build a strategy that appeals to a customer's aspirations or emotions to build an attachment to a brand, as opposed to selling the product solely for the product's sake.

Nike routinely relies on the emotions of activity, heroism, success, achievement, and triumph to appeal to customers, a strategy that has been successful regardless of the market. Some of Nike's emotional branding tactics have included advertisements with phrasing like, 'Anticipate greatness' or 'Your only limit is you.'

Appealing to basic human emotion and desire knows no boundary. It's a strategy that works as well in Europe or Asia as it does in the United States.


One of Nike's most successful strategies that has eclipsed the boundaries of country and culture is the introduction of NikeID, which allows shoppers to customize products that align with their own styles and cultural preferences. For example, a consumer can choose different colors, color combinations, patterns, and shoelaces as well as being able to customize a shoe for favorite regional sports. Though Nike offers a full complement of athletic shoes ready to buy off of store shelves, they recognized that consumers have individual tastes and preferences, particularly consumers in other countries with varying cultural and societal differences.

Athletes and Sponsorships

Nike has built much of its marketing and advertising with the help of superstar athletes and sports sponsorships. By selecting international sponsorships and highlighting international athletes, the company has been able to build a broader, global interest in their brand and put their name and logo at the forefront of global sporting events.

For example, Nike has partnered with the English football club Manchester United to not only penetrate the European market but also reach consumers from all markets who are interested in soccer, known outside of the United States as 'football.' Sponsoring an athletic team or an event such as World Cup soccer, or using an internationally recognized superstar like Cristiano Ronaldo or Rory McIlroy, has helped Nike gain traction in other countries where different sports and athletes take center stage.

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