What’s the first thing you think of when you see that swoosh. I bet it’s shoes. But have you ever wondered how much effort Nike put into creating a psychological link between that swoosh, expensive shoes, and visions of athletic success? It makes you realize that Nike is a marketing company first, shoe company second. Plain and simple.
Miguel Korzeniewicz broke down Nike’s 40-year long strategy of partitioning its business model into domestic marketing and overseas production in his essay, Commodity Chains and Marketing Strategies. Nike started importing shoes from Japan in the 1960s, gradually creating an overseas relationship with Asian assembly line manufacturers from a number of Asian countries including South Korea, Taiwan and China, in order to quickly manufacture their product. Outsourcing allowed the company to focus domestic matters on marketing, sales and the creation of the Nike culture, that as Korzeniewicz put it “communicated a consistent set of values that many people… identified with: hipness, irreverance, individualism… competitiveness and health.”
Nike’s segmented business model is in use by many global companies, providing the cheapest and quickest method of creating stable products and high profit margins, but questions concerning the wellbeing and rights of international workers such as the recent Foxconn scandal are hinting at the need for reform.