Don't Be Like Nike

Nike are currently in a rut. Sales flat, share price down a quarter over the past year. Getting a kicking from all sides.

Particularly from longtime rival Adidas. Athlete's jumping ship to their once surpassed arch enemy. Innovators and new entrants adorning the feet, limbs and bodies of enthusiastic amateurs and couch potato athleisure wearers alike.

I myself recently saw the throngs amass for one of the world's premier marathon weekends, including ultra and half variants. And struggled to spot a single Nike shoe. Whereas the likes of Hoka, On and Brooks did abound.

What's interesting about the now though, is the press Adidas are gleaning.

At first, I thought maybe a nod to the annual 'car of the year' award being deliberately rotated round a cartel of global manufacturer's each trainer maker gets their slot in the sun?

The recent spotlight passing from Puma through Under Armour to New Balance.

Whereas Adidas for ages couldn't buy a positive headline. From the billion-dollar stock write-off that came with the abrupt ending of a celebrity colab, to the absence of any meaningful product development lately.

Yet all of a sudden, their heritage models are everywhere. From red carpets, to the incognito wealthy. And in not least of places, under the ankles of Britain's Prime Minister. He sports Sambas. In my teens I loved my own Gazelles. You could also go for their Spezials or even Superstars.

Move over the all-whites. Forget too the turbo-trend from about five years back that was Yungs.

I learn the enduring styles mentioned above are labelled 'terrace'. Apparently due to their popularity in the 80s with those watching football standing on the terraces.

Adidas both pursue new positioning of these as well as coming out with fresh ideas from the new Adizero or remixed Originals ranges.

So what have Nike been doing?

Well, here's the excuse of their chief exec. On an investors' call in March, John Donahoe;

"We know Nike is not performing at our potential ... Our employees were working from home for two and a half years. And in hindsight, it turns out, it’s really hard to do bold, disruptive innovation, to develop a boldly disruptive shoe on Zoom."

What a joke. I'd fire him for that rubbish. If he gets something so basic so wrong, then imagine what else he's messing up.

Every other player was in the same boat. Yet competitors managed 'bold, disruptive innovation' of their own. As surmised by consequent market share going their way.

Indeed, with perhaps the headline innovation right now, they've actually achieved great things. Blazing a trail with the Alphafly supershoe. The tech leaps of which are slashing distance running records.

Directly contradicting his lame blame.

And herein we have the crux. Corner office dwellers are quick pin culpability on remote working when the real cause is their inept management, inability for vision and failure to inspire.

I've heard this.

We're happy with our video meetings.
We know how to use Teams, thanks.
Our customers prefer in-person meetings.

All stemming from utter delusion.

Each missing the crucial point.

Revealing reasons for baked-in underperformance, unconscious incompetence, and unrealised potential.

As for creativity over video alone, internally or with prospects, there's so many techniques to try you can be amazed at how a simple little trick can change your video results forever. Same goes for engagement, progressing and distinctiveness.

If you have any element of your sales effort that needs to be done over video - whether by accident or design right now - then make it a priority to work out how to do it in the best manner possible. And then you won't be like the fail that is currently Nike.

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