May 6, 2014
Environmental Factors for Nike
Nike, Inc. is one of the most recognizable athletic apparel and footwear companies in the world today. Some even suggest Nike is the global leader in high quality sports performance clothing and shoes. Looking beyond the global stronghold Nike has on athletic apparel, there are environmental factors that affect Nike’s ability to market themselves to the world. The company must operate within trade practices and agreements with other countries. Also, Nike has to have an understanding of how important demographics are and the influence of cultural differences to their marketing campaign. International relations and the effect of political systems also play a role in the strategic marketing plan for the organization. Nike must realize the importance of social responsibility and ethics, and the difference between that and their possible legal obligations. There is much to consider when researching what makes Nike such a global force in sales and marketing.
The knowledge of cultural differences is of tremendous importance to Nike, Inc. These differences are not always obvious and can take some research or prior experience to understand just how important they can be. Knowing the differences in cultural traditions, symbols, or figures can guide a company to successful market and sell their product overseas. The inadvertent or negligent act of marketing the product in such a way that is offensive or disrespectful to a country’s culture can lead to a boycotting of the organization by the people of that country and also a bad reputation of inconsiderate and unknowledgeable cultural sensitivities. This was apparent in a Nike marketing campaign released in China featuring Lebron James. In the advertisement, Lebron James is shown dribbling a basketball while also destroying some culturally important Chinese figures. The government in China perceived the ad as a violation of marketing regulations established to uphold national dignity and respect of the “motherland’s culture”. Therefore, Chinese officials made the decision to remove the multi-million dollar television ad from the airways in their country. All Nike could do was issue a formal apology, and try to recover from the negative press and publicity earned by their actions. This is a great example of the importance of understanding cultural differences.
Demographics and Physical Infrastructure
Demographic information was important to the Nike organization when it first start building its brand. The simple idea of providing the best running shoes available created the best option for the young, running population of America. However, over time, Nike has grown to full market coverage. One of the catch phrases Nike uses is “helping athletes at every level of ability reach their potential”. This quote summarizes a sign of the times, as Nike is now producer of almost everything athletic, from equipment to clothing of all kinds. Although Nike covers the full market of consumers, the company understands what kids, teenagers, and adults of all ages want or need in their athletic gear and that demonstrates the importance of demographics for Nike, Inc. Physical infrastructure is important to Nike as well because of the many factories located around the world that help Nike’s distribution channels. One such example is the work Nike has done in the country of Vietnam. Nike organization created an Infrastructure Exchange Program in which government officials in Vietnam could travel to a local footwear factory and physically follow products until they reached port. In addition, Vietnamese officials were able to tour port facilities in Singapore and world-class infrastructure in south China to experience presentations and speak with experts in those fields of distribution. Nike’s creation of this program exemplifies the importance of