Why Branding is So Important
In the simplest of terms, Nike is the king of branding.
Nike is an iconic household brand. Additionally, some may argue that it is the most recognizable brand in the world, and there's pretty solid data to back that up. In a study conducted in 2015 by Siegel + Gale, Nike led the pack when it came to the most memorable logos in the world, scoring just slightly above other highly recognizable brands such as Apple, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola.
I'd be shocked to meet someone today who hasn't heard of the brand - and chances are, you're wearing some sort of clothing right now that's got a Nike "swoosh" on it - whether it's a pair of socks, hat, t-shirt, pants - Nike has made their mark.
But why? What makes Nike's logo so successful?
Nike redefined what branding really was. When Carolyn Davidson sold the Nike swoosh to Phil Knight for $35 (not a typo) in 1971, she made history. Nike is wildly successful for a lot of different reasons - they're incredibly smart and strategic with their marketing, they have very well defined branding strategies, and the list goes on. But here's why Nike's logo is so strong:
THE SWOOSH ALWAYS Held A CONSISTENT MESSAGE
Just Do It. It's Nike's slogan - and it's what comes to mind when you see their logo. They keep a consistent message across all advertisements and marketing campaigns to ensure that nothing is left for debate.
There was never a change in tone or wording. Nike has always pushed an imperative tone to their branding. The ads almost always made you want to do something, and helped spur change in the minds of the consumers.
(Random fact: The "Yesterday You Said Tomorrow" ad is my favorite ad of all time.)
Celebrity Endorsements are king
This one is a tad bit obvious, but almost every talented pro-athlete has a contract with some sort of sporting goods company, such as Nike or Under Armour. Nike (and Jordan) have managed to secure some of the top athletes in the world, such as Russell Westbrook, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Serena Williams, Lebron James, and the list goes on.
And it really does make financial sense to have all these big names on contract. Nike is no longer just a brand meant only for athletes. Nike has become a fashion brand now too, meaning that people who buy their products are not necessarily using them for sports. Consequently, Nike has to stay up-to-date on the latest fashion trends and push new products out quick, so having a back pocket full of celebrity endorsements is always helpful to have.
Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst over at the NPD Group, has crazy stats on how much money Nike spent on "Demand Creation" (aka Advertising) in Fiscal 2014.
Yeah... let that sink in.
Branding is the very essence of your company wrapped up into one creatively designed logo. Don't make the mistake of going on a $5 logo creation website and getting a cookie cutter brand identity, because the only thing you'll be getting is a headache.