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NIKE goes after women, digital growth for 2019.

The sports giant calls out “openness and responsibility” as part of its corporate planning.

photo: nike.com

Month to Month

In August, NIKE was hit with a class action lawsuit was filed against the sports giant by former employees . This lawsuit comes on the back of one of the biggest (and controversial) diversity campaigns of the year featuring, Colin Kaepernick. The systemic gender discrimination lawsuit – still fresh – has not yet been settled.

During the September 2018 NIKE annual, Parker stated he would initiate the re-training for over 10,000 managers, “fostering an environment of openness and accountability.” And that he was “grateful for employees” who have spoken up (in terms of HR management).

That means the management would undergo Boot-Camp style retraining to outline the following (in addition to): 

  • Core concepts of humanities
  • Proper employee-employer relationship building
  • Best-practices of in-office behavior
  • Staff retention

All while re-branding its “toxic” and “demeaning” corporate environment. 

In November, NIKE filed a motion to dismiss several of the claims in the class action lawsuit.  

However, this month of December as the year closes, Mark Parker Chairman, President and CEO of NIKE, recently shared his vision for the company to include digital focus as well as…growing the women’s market.

Photo: nike.com

Digital rise is a great place to start

On December 20, Revenues for the NIKE Brand were $8.9 billion, up 14 percent  driven by accelerated growth across all geographies and in NIKE Direct, led by digital.

Revenues for Converse were $425 million, up 6 percent on a currency-neutral basis, mainly driven by growth in Asia and digital.

“NIKE’s Consumer Direct Offense, combined with our deep line up of innovation, is driving strong momentum and balanced growth across our entire business,” said said Andy Campion, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, NIKE, Inc. “Our expanded digital capabilities are accelerating our complete portfolio and creating value across all dimensions as we connect with and serve consumers.”

Digital growth is an area that can help strengthen the brand and outshine competitors with NIKElab, limited editions, targeted customization, and continuing the vision that Parker will lay grounds for. The goal is to truly grasp the deep personal connection with their consumers, as posted on the intro of Nike.com’s investor page.

Mark Parker c.2012 – Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

When did NIKE start marketing to women?

The women’s market is particularly of interest to capture and retain, as female-driven purchasing power increases online. This is due to active wellness and fitness goals women are leading, as well as more women embracing the sneaker culture on a global scale.

“There’s incredible momentum for women in sport right now as athletes elite and every day lead a movement of health and wellness, while driving a strong appetite for athletic footwear and apparel,” Parker said. “This energy is manifesting in a number of ways. For example, footwear for women overall was up 20 percent for the quarter, and sneakers for her are really taking off with the Sage Air Force 1 emerging as for favorite franchise, owning the No. 1 spot on nike.com for 5 weeks running.”

Mark Parker/Nike.com
NIKE Woman’s Sage AF1 $100, available on nike.com

Parker said that women market growth is outrunning men’s for this quarter, and that NIKE sees that continuing based on a number of independent variables.

“I think the brand is actually speaking to women more directly and personally,” Parker said. “That’s going to be amped up throughout 2019 as we head towards World Cup. You’re going to see Just Do It with a big emphasis on women’s.”

With the lawsuit looming over NIKE’s Executive team and NIKE’s human resource operational issues, it is a bold move to single out focus on the women’s market.

But didn’t NIKE always include women in it’s marketing strategy in the past?

NIKE’s Female-Centric collection “The 1 Reimagined” already happened.
Photo: Stella Scott

NIKE has always had a place for women’s sportswear and I cannot think of a time when women were not part of the Just Do It anthem. To state that NIKE will focus on the women’s market with big emphasis in the near future, sounds like an opportunity to divert the focus from the lawsuit to a shinny, new, well glossed photoshoot slated for 2019.

Let’s just hope there are no #metoo hashtags or silly “we care about women” slogans planned for the marketing mix.

NIKE will need to take on full corporate responsibility, and stop mentioning women as if its their first time seeing us. Once this is achieved – their marketing team can Just Do an amazing campaign.

Tanita Gray

Editor In-Chief, Publisher and Founder of Last-Report.com. Tanita S. Gray is a footwear, accessory and apparel designer/developer by day - writer and content architect by night. With over 16 years experience in the fashion industry, you can find her teaching at FIDM, drawing thumbnails, writing in her journal, or eating french fries.

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