The Social Trend to Design and Develop Products

jmann89    June 25, 2014

Organization Name: Nike, Inc.

Contact: Jesse Stollak – Nike’s Global Digital Brand and Innovation Director

Industry: Retail – Sports footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories

The digital and social media worlds have opened up new directions to companies in regards to how they market, develop and design product. Nike Inc. is one of those companies who know how to use this technology and adapt towards it.

Nike’s History and Heritage

The company was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports and officially become Nike Inc.  in 1971. The company takes its name, Nike, from the Greek goddess of victory. Nike manufactures and sells sportswear, footwear, equipment and accessories and also sponsors athletes and teams around the world.  High-profile athletes such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are sponsored by Nike.


You may recognize the slogan “Just Do It” or the Nike Swoosh logo, a check mark symbol. What you may not be familiar with is how Nike uses social media to continually improve, design and develop their products.

Building Nike’s Social Network

In 1996, the brand launched for the Atlanta Olympics and in 2004 Nike made its move into the social space online. Around 2005-2006 Nike partnered with Google to create a social network platform before social networking was the norm. “Nike joined MySpace and YouTube around that time. Nike was also one of the first brands to take advantage of the average Internet users’ propensity to share.”

Jesse Stollak, Nike’s Global Digital Brand and Innovation Director says, “We launched the famous Ronaldinho cross bar video on [YouTube’s] platform and in doing so created one of the first branded YouTube channels, as well as one of the first videos to really go ‘viral.'”

In 2010, Nike launched the Digital Sport Division developing new devices that allow sport users to track their data such as Nike+ Running Sensor that currently has the largest running community of over 7 million runners.  Nike is creating not only products but services that allow their customers to participate and engage in using their products. “They use public social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness, answer people’s questions, show video, and allow people to share their results, but they keep those results under lock and key in the Nike + website so they can offer consumer more Nike gear and ONLY more Nike gear tailored to that individuals activity.”  On Facebook, customers post videos and comments about products they purchase and the services that are provided by Nike. Nike has created their own social community which allows them to get trusted feedback from their loyal customers.

Like Facebook, Nike uses Twitter to engage their customers and improve their products through feed they “respond to more than 100 tweets per day regarding order queries, stock information and product details.” The Nike Football feed on Twitter provides training advice, product information or encouragement to other users. This actively engages customers and allows them to participate in product development.

Company’s Goal

Stollak, explains the company’s goal in engaging with consumers via social platforms:

“Social networks are tools that help build and leverage our relationship with the consumer. These networks serve as a platform to reach our athletes. However, the goal hasn’t changed since the beginning of Nike — we want to connect with athletes to inspire and enable them to be better.

“The rise of social media provides new ways to do this. The future will have new tools and methods and Nike will continue to push the edges.

“This intersection between the physical and the digital is where we see the future and that intersection will be game-changing.”

Lessons Learn:

  • By building an online community, Nike can follow their users and customers to form tighter relationships and long term engagement
  • Social media is now part of their full business cycle
  • In order for Nike to follow their users closer, social media marketing is now in-house to gain a better understanding of their customers and products
  • By consistently answering Tweets, Nike’s customers are more comfortable in providing feedback to improve their products and services

Submitted By: Jordan Mann, University of Waterloo

Author Contact:

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director

Web References: