Nike was formerly known as “Blue Ribbon Sports” and was founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman who was a track and field coach and his former student Phil Knight. The company had first started operating as a distributor for a Japanese shoemaker. Nike as we know it now is a consumer product company that engages in design, development, and marketing of footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessory products worldwide. It designs athletic, casual, and leisure footwear for men, women, and children. The company's footwear products include running, training, basketball, soccer, sport-inspired urban shoes, and children's shoes. Nike has been around for almost five decades and is going strong; no other company in the space matches its popularity and growth. On the investor relations page, it states, “Nike, Inc. is a growth company,” which is a strong message about its attitude and intention. And many consumers are sure that Nike is the best athletic shoe brand.
Nike is the most influential brand. Their selection of athletes to represent them has a big impact on their success. They are constantly growing with their tactics of aggressive marketing and their innovation for new products.
Nike has recently suffered a crisis. Just a month ago a star basketball player Zion Williamson at Duke University had what Nike is calling a “shoe malfunction” that caused him to have a knee injury and miss basketball games. Zion is the best college basketball player and is expected to be the first overall pick in the NBA draft. The game in which he suffered the injury only made matters worse for Nike. It was one of the most highly anticipated games of the season. According to StubHub, the average listing price for that game was $4,670. This game had so much hype even former president Barack Obama had to see the hype around Zion Williamson for himself. In just the opening minutes of the game is when Zion suffered his knee injury at the cost of the Nike basketball shoes he was wearing. It was soon after his shoes ripped apart that Nike’s stock price took a billion-dollar hit. People instantly went to social media to mock the iconic brand as this event was trending on all social media platforms. Nike being the face of so many athletes and Zion having the potential to be a superstar this crisis is something that can haunt them in the long run as well. Over the years their competitors have followed their tactics and signed notable athletes to endorse, and a loss of Zion can potentially cost them billions if he decides to sign with one of Nike’s competitor. There are some people who believe that the shoes were tampered with but without any evidence we can only presume that it was a product malfunction.
Nike has responded to this crisis by first issuing a statement. The statement is as follows “We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.” They also flew out there “top people” to Duke University to analyze the shoes and do an autopsy. Tobie Hatfield who is a notable Nike designer spoke on the importance of finding out the root problem and discussed the protocol for Nike designers when there are incidents like this one. “Was there a manufacturing issue, design issue or any of that kind of stuff? It’s just a matter of going through the whole shoe and finding out what the issues are and then we go solve them again. It’s really no different than how we’ve been doing all along” Zion played his first game back from the injury last week, and he didn’t miss a beat. Due to the contract between Duke and Nike Zion has no choice but to wear Nike basketball shoes. After the game he said, “The shoes were incredible this game”. He wore the Paul George signature shoes when he suffered the injury but for this game, he wore the signature shoes of Kyrie Irving. Nike worked on the shoes and designed it specifically for Zion. When asked about the shoes he said, “I just know they’re a little stronger than the regular Kyrie 4’s, so I want to thank Nike for making these, but, yeah, the felt very comfortable.”
I commend Nike for the way that they have handled this situation. After just one day taking a billion-dollar hit puts a lot of pressure on you from stakeholders, fans, and competitors. The statement they made wishing Zion a speedy recovery as well as insuring everyone that they are investigating everything to get to the root cause of this crisis is the way I would have handled the situation. After a crisis as such your response to the crisis in the next 48 hours are so crucial. Depending on how you choose to handle that will determine on how effective your CSR is. Nike sending their “top” employees to Duke also shows how urgent this matter was but also how they value their athletes and how committed they are to those who wear their products. As a consumer of Nike, the effort they have taken in solving this matter has shown be that they are a company willing to go the extra mile for the satisfaction of its customers. What also helped them solve this crisis is the response of Zion himself. After playing his first game back he thanked Nike for designing the shoes for wore that game and talked about how they felt comfortable. Nike is setting themselves up to sign Zion to an endorsement deal once he is out of college and if they do that, they will be secure.
The negative impacts to the way Nike have handled this situation is that they have yet to release exactly what caused the shoes to rip apart. Ensuring that they are working hard to figure that out can only buy you so much time, the time will come when Nike must come up with answers. It just looks like they are trying to sweep this under the rug by giving Zion new shoes that are a “better fit” but if it turns out that it is a bad product there will be tough repercussions that they will have to deal with. Also, with a crisis like this consumer are always looking for constant updates on the matter, and they have yet to release any new updates after their initial statement.
At the end of the day Nike as a athletic shoe brand will continue to excel and be the best based off the fact that they have so many of the top athletes endorsed. What they need to make sure is that incidents like this happen at a minimum. Zion is the future of basketball and his ability to influence consumers is already at an all-time high for just an eighteen-year-old. They are currently one of the world’s largest apparel company and have many endorsements with colleges around the country, so they will continue to market their brand through athletes.
I agree with much of what Nike has done in handling this situation, one thing I would do that they have not is pulling the Paul George shoes off the market until they figure out the root cause to the tearing of the sneakers. The last thing Nike would want is someone having a similar issue and posting it on social media where they have already taken a lot of heat for the incident that first occurred. Although that might affect their sales in the short run, they need to seek this plan to prevent any more backlash and to stay consumer friendly. Nike is a company that once started at the villain and they have worked to turn things around to be the example when it comes to their social responsibility. Not all hero’s wear capes but I expect Nike to save the day once again and remain the best athletic shoe brand.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below