How Nike Wins the Cultural Marathon
With its "Breaking2" marathon race this week, Nike has pulled off what TechCrunch calls a marketing nirvana. The event pitted three of the world's fastest runners—Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese—in a friendly competition to see who could run the fastest. But the company also used it as a chance to showcase its newest sneaker, the Zoom Vaporfly Elite.
The effort also helped to promote the idea of pushing yourself beyond what you thought possible, something that's key for Nike's brand image and helping to attract new customers. The company has long been a champion of inclusivity, diversity and culture in its branding and marketing. This is apparent in the athletes it hires for sponsorships, the models and people featured in its ads and even in its global approach to events and marketing.
For example, the brand recently launched a virtual reality tour of its headquarters in Portland, Oregon. The experience allows customers to explore the company's history and how its products have been developed through the years. This is a major shift from traditional media outlets and other methods of telling its story that have been used in the past. It's an attempt to connect with a generation that doesn't have a connection to the brand's iconic past. To connect with this generation, Nike needed to retell its story where it knows they spend their time: social media, live events and other innovative brand experiences.