How to use Instagram for your business to expand your international reach
June 27, 2016
How to use Instagram for your business to expand your international reach
June 27, 2016
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How did Nike become the reference in sports?

Creative Branding & Design Agency – 3 Colours Rule is a creative branding and design agency based in London, working predominantly in fashion and luxury sectors. We work with SMEs and international corporations to engage their audience and attract prospects. Our team of designers, developers, copywriters, marketing consultants, brand experts provide bespoke creative branding, marketing & business consultancy, brand experience and graphic design. From your brief to the launch, we help you build distinctive, effective and creative branding solutions to stand out from your competition. Contact 3 Colours Rule, your creative agency in London for a complimentary brand review or bespoke quote.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel but you can improve by learning from leading brands in the market. How did Nike become the reference in sports?


Sporting excellence, pop culture, and attitude have all become synonymous with Nike, it is an absolute titan in the sporting world, and is an integral part of the daily lives of millions of people all over the world. The company began as the brain child of Bill Bowerman and Paul Knight both passionate about running, and noticed a gap in the market in athletic shoes for runners that the big names of the time such as Germany’s Puma and Adidas had missed. Following a trip to Japan, Phil Knight secured a deal with Ontisuka – Tiger Shoes Company; a Japanese manufacturer of high quality running shoes, to distribute these in America through Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) – the first physical manifestation of Nike. With innovation, rebranding and taking risks this small dwarf grew into the sporting juggernaut that we have become accustomed to. In this article I will show you how Nike became the reference in sports, and the lessons you can use to build your business up to higher levels.






In the early days of the BRS, Bowerman carried out experiments with the Tiger shows, analysing them and trying to find o make them lighter, and have a better grip to the ground. Bowerman would cut these shoes up, put ridges in the sole of the foot, all with the intention of creating the best running shoe that would propel athletes to reach and surpass their potential. With these new creations, Bowerman took them to university runners to test out the different formations of the shoe, in order to get feedback, and act accordingly to this information. In 1971, the relationship with Ontisuka crumbled, nevertheless BRS was able to make $1million in revenue, but most importantly, the company transitioned from being the distributers to the designers and manufactures.

Thus, if you feel that a product or service in your industry needs to be innovated, go for it, make the necessary changes,  and then go and get first hand feedback from the target audience themselves. With the information gained from this type of market research, change the design accordingly, and continue going until you debut your creation to the rest of the world.


Brand identity

With the departure from the established distributer role, 1971 also housed the rebranding of BRS to Nike; the Greek goddess of victory.  This perfect name accompanied the fundamental aim of making superior distinguished products that would serve and improve the performance of world class athletes. However Nike was still lacking a distinct logo, this problem was solved by Carolyn Davidson, a design student who was payed just $35 for creating the illustrious swoosh.

This really shows that you do not have to spend a fortune in creating a brand logo, in fact it proves that simple and inexpensive changes can propel your business to great heights presently and in the future, so long as you rationalise all elements of your business.

If changing your brand name is something that you have been thinking about or planning for – do it. It can really transform the way in which your business is perceived, by forcing you to change the way you market. Be sure that the new brand name is something memorable, bold and meaningful to what your brand stands for. Moreover, many brands like Nike changed their names and underwent the process of rebranding;

  • Backrub (Google).
  • Cosmair (L’Oreal).
  • Software Development Labs (Oracle).
  • Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web (Yahoo! Inc.).
  • Brad’s Drink (Pepsi Cola).


In addition, remember that creating a logo for your brand is not always something that will happen in an instant, it takes time, and many revisions of designs before you find something that you are happy with, so take your time with it. Remember, the logo should be something that that takes you a second to analyse but a lifetime to forget. Like Nike, the swoosh is something memorable that anchors itself in the minds of people, because it also encompasses success and a ‘can-do attitude’ which Nike is based on.



From the beginning, Bowerman and Knight used athletes to highlight the superior nature of a Nike shoe in comparison to others in the market, by asking runners to where them during competitions – many did win, and this provided proof of the high quality and deliverance of Nike in supporting and serving athletic performance. This collaboration with athletes became ingrained in the way in which Nike advertise products.

In 1985 Bowman and Knight signed Michael Jordan, and the filmmaker Spike Lee to create ads featuring Jordan. Lee created adverts that showed a combination of hard work and Nike shoes made Jordan ‘fly’, the ads were a huge success. Combined with the Bulls victory of six national titles, the popularity of Air Jordan shoes catapulted, and it became an internationally recognized brand in its own self.  These types of partnership continued on within Nike’s marketing strategy, for example Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Serena Williams, this also enabled Nike to lead pop culture and be part of it, which still continues today.



Even if you do not have the money or access to celebrity to increase your global reach, there is so many other options that you can use, for example Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. To add to this, you can also create effective marketing plans similar to Nike by making pop culture a part of the strategy, but most importantly aim to do something creative, different and out of the box, because this pays off in the long run, and Nike is the perfect example of this.



Work with us – Unleash your full brand potential

Need creative concept and design support? Issues standing out creatively in a competitive market? Poor brand perception? Low client conversion? 3 Colours Rule is a results-driven creative branding & design agency. We help brands improve their visual identity to lead. We design projects that engage your target audience & drive sales. Contact us today


3 Colours Rule
3 Colours Rule
3 Colours Rule is a fast, efficient and reliable branding & fashion agency. Our mission is to help businesses and individuals unleash their full potential. What makes us unique is our ability to use our decade of fashion expertise and style insights to create or develop brands, in any sector, that are current and appeal to the market. We also use our fashion knowledge to train individuals and run fantastic brand experience events. Contact us and find out how we can help you.

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