The famous Nike swoosh and their tagline just do it are one of the most famous ones in the world. The co-founder of Nike Phil Knight is mostly credited with the insane success of the company over the years. The company was established in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports and later renamed as Nike in 1971.
We all know Nike as a company dealing not only in footwear but also in apparel and equipment too. There are many reasons for which Phil Knight is responsible for making Nike the company that is synonymous with top quality and is often seen by its customers as the best product in the market. Over the years, Nike has maintained its position, although rival Adidas and Puma, for example, have made sure they give an excellent fight to Nike.
The leadership skills of Phil Knight have been discussed in numerous case studies, and students around the world study his personality traits and try to replicate them in their professional lives.
The following are the top 3 personality traits of Phil Knight that I would like to discuss with my readers in this post, as they have made him highly successful. These can also be termed as words of wisdom for the new entrants in the marketplace in any industry as to how to make things work in your favor.
- A Firm Belief in your Idea
When Phil Knight started Nike with the name of Blue Ribbon Sports, he was also not sure that his product would get the attention of his target market. But he was sure of one thing: that his idea was a novel one and he can succeed if you can put his heart and soul in this project. That’s why, after a modest start, his business took off quickly, and Nike became one of the most prominent and popular footwear companies in the world.
So, what can we learn from Phil Knight regarding this aspect? It is the firm belief in your idea that works every time. In the beginning, every business faces a scenario where Most things are not in your favor. It is the test of every businessman’s strength of character and how much belief he has in his idea. You need to keep in mind that when Phil Knight started his business in the mid-60s, there was no advertising on marketing mediums like today. And he has to make it against all the odds.
Starting on a shoestring budget and fighting with many obstacles, Nike came out triumphant only because he felt night believed in his idea right from the first day. And within a few years, he reached his goal of making this company number one in terms of sales and market share.
- Know your Audience
After a firm Belief in your idea, knowing everything about your audience is the next logical step so that you can succeed in your business. Phil Knight knew that selling sneakers to the young people who are interested in track and field and also professional athletes will be easy to target. Any started selling the shoes outside a university as he couldn’t afford to start his venture in a proper place.
From Nike’s example, there are many things that you can learn as to how to target your market in a severe scenario. And don’t commit the mistake of starting the production of your product without thinking about your target market and how you will approach them. This includes the complete marketing and sales plan so that you won’t face any trouble after you have started your business.
- Enhancements in the Product
Even if you haven’t been following Nike throughout the years, you will be aware of some of the most popular designs Nike has come up with. This is not just for the sake of coming up with new designs, as Naik experienced fierce competition from rival companies throughout the 80s and 90s. Adidas and Puma were the main competitors of Nike as it struggled to hold on to their number one position during this period. Not to mention lots of new Chinese and local brands around the world selling far less cheap shoes than Nike.
Nowadays, Nike has the lion’s share of the market when it comes to sneakers and sports goods around the world. Nike became sponsors of one of the world’s most famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Michael Jordan, to name a few. But that’s just not pure marketing. It is one of the traits for the leadership styles or traits of Phil Knight as he knew from the start that enhancement in the product would be required after every few years.
If you compare the footwear footballers wore these days with that of two or three decades ago, you will notice a remarkable change. That’s because Phil Knight was able to foresee what was going to happen in the industry as new entrants start to sell their product in the market. The introduction of Nike Pro, Air Jordan, and CR7 are good enough reasons as Nike left no stone unturned in making their product the best and most innovative ones in the market. Thus, product enhancement was the key to cementing Nike’s status as the Numero uno footwear and accessories company.
Over the years, Phil Knight has made sure that Nike just doesn’t sell footwear or accessories but as a status symbol and the epitome of quality around the world. Apart from introducing many new marketing and branding concepts, Phil Knight started to use tools or task management software like TaskQue to keep things in the right perspective when it comes to manufacturing and keep a check on how all his employees are working efficiently and effectively.
The story of Nike has kept us amazed even after five decades, and I am sure that we will listen to more creative stories and products from Nike in the coming years. If you think you can add something valuable to this blog or want to ask a question about any aspect mentioned in this blog, you are more than welcome. For any kind of feedback, please use the comments section below.