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Do you know the company once named "Blue Ribbon Sports"? Don"t say "no" right away because it is almost entirely unlikely that you don"t know this firm in its present status. Let"s try the question again: How about the company named Nike? Is that more familiar?


It was back in 1964 that Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) was established by famous track athlete Phil Knight, along with coach Bill Bowerman. Their goal was not to make and sell billions of dollars worth of sneakers, however. Instead, they created the firm in order to distribute sports shoes made in Japan by another company with a now more famous name. At the time BRS was created it was strictly as a way of distributing Onitsuka Tiger shoes. Today, you know that company as ASICS, and it too is a global leader in high quality sports apparel, gear and shoes.


So, BRS distributed Onitsuka Tiger shoes for several years and began to grow into a remarkably successful distribution firm almost instantly. In fact, by 1971 the company was ready to sever its connection to Onitsuka and introduce the world to its own, now famous and iconic, "swoosh" as it launched its own brand name - Nike.


Why "Nike" exactly? If you did not already know, it is a name straight out of Greek mythology and is the goddess of victory. Who better to have at your feet when trying to win, succeed, score, and so on?


History Made


Within five years of releasing its first designs, Nike had grown substantially. By 1980 (less than ten years after incorporating) it had roughly half of the athletic shoe market for the entire United States. Many credit this success to two things - flawlessly designed sneakers and innovative advertising.


In its early years, Nike hired an ad firm to create the very first "brand ad" for Nike. Within a few years after that, the now famous "Just Do It" slogan was created, and has never been forgotten.


Over time, many other sneaker firms have risen and taken over portions of the market, but Nike continues to emphasize excellence in its design and has put a lot of its energy towards the soccer and golf markets in this new century. It has affiliated itself with World Cup Soccer and become a golfer"s brand of choice while still holding a good share of the traditional consumer sneaker market.


It"s very latest innovation is the Nike Shox cushioning system that has since become a sneaker industry gold standard in shock resistance, stability, and cushioning.


Affiliates and Brands


Nike does stand apart from the crowd, but over the years it has also grown its own family of brands. It has been affiliated with Converse, Hurley, and the Jordan Brand. Over time it also acquired brands like Cole Haan, Bauer Hockey, Starter, and Umbro, but sold most of them by 2013. Today its primary subsidiaries are strictly Converse and Hurley.


It also has several categories in which it designs and markets its product lines. These include:


* Nike Athletic Training

* Nike Basketball

* Nike Football

* Nike Golf

* Nike Running

* Nike Soccer

* Nike SB

* Nike Sportswear

* Nike Tennis

* Nike Women"s

* Digital Sport


It is a global brand and strives to maintain a positive global image. This is greatly enhanced by its efforts at environmentalism. It has rated very highly (often in the top five or ten) when its climate-friendly policies are examined.


For example, the Nike Grind program is designed to close the product lifecycle by recycling leftover materials or accepting old sneakers. Its longest enduring program of this kind is the Reuse-A-Shoe program that operates by conducting community shoe collections and recycling them to create new playground surfaces, tracks, and sports surfaces.


Better Performance


Just as the company pours a great deal of funding into research and development in order to develop the best sports shoes, it also dedicates resources to creating a better world. "By using innovations like recycled polyester, which has diverted nearly 2 billion plastic bottles from landfills since 2010, we are we producing better products, transforming markets and improving lives by leveraging sustainability as the world"s greatest innovation opportunity." (Nike, 2014)


There are not many brands that have such a strong image in the market. The choice of Nike as the name is fitting. It is a victorious story of success, and is one that will continue to go on as the company continues to innovate and allow athletes to "just do it" and do it successfully.


Resources


Nike. History and Heritage. Nike.com. 2014. http://nikeinc.com/pages/history-heritage


http://www.nike.com/

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