Essay about Nike: Nike, Inc.

Submitted By RamboKelsey8
Words: 2938
Pages: 12


“What It Takes To Become The Most Successful Athletic Company In The World”

“What It Takes To Become The Most Successful Athletic Company In The World”

Starting off as Blue Ribbon Sports, Bill Bowerman successfully used his passion for athletics and marketing to establish the worldly company, Nike. Persevering through negative media attention because of the sweatshop scandal, Nike has been able to rebuild their reputation and focus on building a better business with good ethics and quality products. While Nike competes against many other athletic brands, the main attribute Nike uses to set itself apart is the technology behind the products. Producing high quality products and offering them for a premium price has proved effective for Nike as they lead the market into the 21st century. With the new era, Nike will be sure to continue manufacturing products of the future while striving to be successful.

Nike’s origins began in the 1950s. A man named Bill Bowerman was a nationally respected track coach who was always thinking of ways to improve athletics. He experimented with many new innovative ways to make running shows, however, established footwear manufacturers at that time ignored his offers leading Bowerman to create shoes for his runners at the University of Oregon (Nikebiz). Phil Knight was a track runner at Oregon and was coached by Bowerman. Knight majored in finance and had written a paper on manufacturing running shoes out of Japan. America had been getting shoes from Germany but Knight thought that he could distribute shoes from Japan that could compete with German shows. Knight sent many letters to Japan and Asia but they went unanswered. Then Knight took a chance and persuaded the manufacturer of Tiger shoes to become a distributor for Knight’s shoes in the United States. When the first samples of shoes came in, Knight brought them to Bowerman looking for a sale. He was surprised when Bowerman wanted to become partners and in 1960 they shook hands to form Blue Ribbon Sports (Nikebiz). Jeff Johnson was the next member to join the Blue Ribbon Sports team. He was a runner from Stanford who in 1965 developed the first advertisements and opened the first Blue Ribbon Sports retail store. Johnson came up with the name Nike in 1971. Steve Prefontaine then joined the campaign as an athlete to promote the new line of shoes. Bowerman had made a new design for the shoe using his wife’s waffle iron as inspiration. The shoes were lighter than the standard running shoe and had more traction due to the unique waffle-shaped bottom (Nikebiz). Nike became the most successful shoe brand through the 1980s. “In the 1984 games, 65 Olympic medals were won by the 58 athletes sporting Nike athletic shoes” (Moskowitz, Levering, and Katz, 95). A decade after Nike began producing their shoes in the Japanese market, Nike shifted its operations to cheaper suppliers like Taiwan and Korea. As demand for Nike products increased new suppliers were sought out. China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam all had under-developed markets and by 1999 Nike had operations in 45 countries (Parloff).
After Nike began operations in other foreign countries, the Nike sweatshop scandal broke out in 1996 when a New York Times columnist, Bob Herbert, pointed out the harsh working conditions in Nike factories. He criticized Knight for being worth $4.5 billion in 1995 by paying workers $2.20 per day (much less than minimum wage) then convincing Americans to buy Nike shoes for over $140 (Herbert). Nike was demonstrated against by small groups and had to make immediate changes to their manufacturing practices. In 1998 Knight spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, DC where he gave twelve promises to help workers. The new Code of Ethics that Nike has set forth is much more detailed and Nike Corporation is under the public eye to continue living up to the expectations