What Nike Did Better Than Every Other Shoe Company

Small businesses are very good at what they do, but forget why they got into the business in the first place. They throw promotions at potential clients thinking, ‘that’s how I’ll pull them in!’ when in reality, customers really want to know the foundation of your business and what your brand is doing that speaks to them.

A great example is one I read in the book All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin. The premise of the book is that we tell ourselves stories, and based on those stories, believe something to be true. Let’s talk about Nike. Nike is a shoe company. They sell a commodity that a lot of other companies sell as well. But what they do differently is tell the story!

They pitch their brand alongside all athletes, showing the value of running in their shoes. Can you run in $25 shoes and be comfortable? Probably. Do you want to? Nope; you’ve read and seen the story of athletes using Nike to further their passion, and specifically their athleticism, and now you just want to lose weight. What’s the answer? $100+ Nikes.

This is what every business should be doing. Everything they put out to the public should represent the brand. There should be emotion and tension and even a hero (you) to complete the story line, as if writing a novel or script for a movie.

How do you do that? 

Answer a few questions:

  1. Who is my brand? If I were to personify my company, what does s/he look like, like to do, tone of voice, etc.
  2. Who is my target audience? I don’t want everyone, I want to work with people who excite me! I want to work with people who know and understand the value of my product or service. Where are these people located? What are their interests?
  3. What is the message or feeling I want people to leave with when encountering my brand?
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