Phil Knight is the founder and CEO of the athletic gear company, Nike. He was born in Portland, Oregon, on February 24th, 1938. Knight and Nike helped start a sports business revolution in the 1970s, changing old-fashioned tennis shoes into highly specialized equipment and promoting them as symbols of athletic prowess and success. Nike’s success made Knight one of America’s wealthiest men. Celebrity Endorsement Strategy Known as a taskmaster CEO, Knight is also particular when it comes to matters of promotion.
Hi, I’m Phil Knight and I don’t believe in advertising,” was the way Nike’s ad agency president remembered meeting his new client. Signing up perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, the former Chicago Bulls’ superstar Michael Jordan, was only one of the breakthrough strategies that made Nike-wearers the envy of schoolyard pickup games everywhere. The Nike image has been also linked closely with notable “bad boys” names like McEnroe, Andre Agassi, and Charles Barkley.
Redefining the Shoe market . High interest in sports gave Knight the impetus to study the way track shoes were being made and marketed in the late 1950s. For assistance he consulted his coach, the University of Oregon’s famed Bill Bowerman, who himself would become a senior member of the Nike team. Together they determined that American shoes were inferior in style and quality, too heavy, and too easily damaged. The Japanese, on the other hand, were experimenting with new, trimmed-down styles fashioned in lightweight, hardy nylon.
Knight wrote his Stanford business-school term paper on the subject, then a few years later got involved personally by visiting Japan and arranging to import new-design running shoes himself.
2. “In the early days, anybody with a glue pot and a pair of scissors could get into the shoe business,” Knight told Geraldine Willigan in a Harvard Business Review interview. “So the way to stay ahead was through product innovation. We were also good at keeping our manufacturing costs down. The big, established players like Puma and Adidas were still manufacturing in high-wage European companies.
But we knew that wages were lower in Asia. ” Phil said. 3. From the start, Knight’s shoes sported their own look (including the distinctive “swoosh” logo that still appears today) and their own attitude. An early effort to promote the newly dubbed “Nike”-pronounced NY-kee and named for the Greek goddess of victory-included a now-classic advertisement set at the 1972 Olympic track trials in Eugene, Oregon. The copy boasted that four of the top seven marathoners wore Nikes. By the mid-1970s Nike was at the cutting edge of workout-shoe technology.
For instance, it was Bowerman, the former track coach, who poured some liquid latex into his wife’s waffle iron, thereby inventing the famous sole that made the earliest Nikes feel like bedroom slippers. Nike didn’t exactly burst from the gate in profit, though. Major sports stars demanded major compensation for wearing Knight’s brand. A turning point came in the 1980s, when tennis star Jimmy Connors won Wimbledon in a pair of Nikes and John McEnroe “hurt his ankle, [and] started wearing an obscure three-quarter [Nike] model that had sold all of 10,000 pairs that year. Slogans Bo Knows, It’s Gotta Be the Shoes, Just Do It