As a parent, I hate Nike.
But as a marketer, they command my respect. Their brand is embedded in my 13-year-old son’s brain. Their content engages him. He spends hours on their website dreaming about the athletic feats he will accomplish in their shoes. They even let him design his own shoes online. Whoever doesn’t believe that advertising works doesn’t spend much time with 13-year-olds. His lives in a world where only the latest and greatest brands will do.
I have resigned myself to giving him a shoe allowance, and anything over and above this amount, he pays for out of his birthday or report card money. He will gladly shell out his hard earned cash for anything and everything with a swoosh on it.
In contrast, I buy my athletic shoes out of the clearance rack at a discount store. The name brand doesn’t mean that much to me in the case of athletic shoes. But my son, he just doesn’t see it this way.
Clearly Nike is selling more than shoes. It provides a young man with confidence. My son wants to look cool to his friends, and with Nike, he’s pretty sure he will. He wants to feel a certain way, and the shoes, that’s what does it for him.
Can B-to-B marketers learn a lesson from Nike? I think so. But to inspire that kind of brand loyalty requires thinking beyond the “product attributes.” What can you do to enhance the total experience; to engage the customer; to make them “feel” something about your brand? Are you ready to let them design it and customize it right on your website? Do you know what their real motivations are? What b-to-b brands do you think have the same kind of loyalty as Nike?
I may not like what Nike has done to my son, but I can learn from it. And if I could request just one thing from Nike, it would be this. Maybe just once a year, could you do a little something for the Moms? You know a coupon would be really nice.