Nike, Another Little Company in the News Last Week

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods obviously stole the headlines last week, with the runner-up being Walmart's purchase of Bonobos. (Among all the battleground hot takes, my favorite so far is, "The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy". And for a quick-response deep dive on Amazon/WFM, listen to The Jason & Scot Show.)

But the real page-stopper - yes, actual page in the actual print edition for me - as I read The New York Times this weekend wasn't about any of these companies. It was about Nike trying to "go local". Why is this interesting/important?

  1. When I hear "global brand", my first associations in the consumer space probably are Coke and Nike
  2. Maybe it was just the dominance of all the other news, but typically announcing layoffs of an estimated 1,400 employees - even if only 2% of a company's work force - would get attention
  3. So many other companies are so focused on achieving global reach which, arguably, is easier to do than it's ever been -- but Nike makes headlines in a busy news cycle for emphasizing the opposite

Nike is doubling down on the 12 local markets that will deliver 80% of brand growth over the next 2.5 years. To many companies, this would mean focusing ad dollars in those markets and maybe sprucing up some area stores. But for Nike, it means more.

The article says Nike will be releasing new styles faster in these markets. This is smart: It makes certain customers feel coveted, throttles supply (thereby likely providing insight into how much more product is needed based on demand), and - assuming strategic marketing initiatives are in the works - fuels demand in markets of secondary and tertiary focus.

There's also reference to "shaking up the organization" to support a local-centric model. This one leaves me curious since I've watched other companies centralize.

I'm encouraged by the Nike news overall, but particularly eager to keep an eye on this bit:

"Despite the move to online shopping that is transforming retailing, Nike is not giving up on its physical stores. Instead, the company will use the stores to try to foster relationships with customers and further link the shops to its digital efforts."


Note: Thumbnail image is from the link provided to the Nike NYT story.