identify 4 strengths, 4 weaknesses, 2 opportunity, and 2 threats. SWOT framework. Nike’s Goddess Could a famously masculine company finally click with female customers? That was the challenge behind Nike Goddess, whose goal was to change how the company designed for, sold, and communicated with women. In its 30-year history, Nike had become the undisputed leader in sports marketing. But beneath the success was an Achilles’ heel. Nike is named after a woman – the Greek goddess of victory – but for most of its history, the company had been perceived as being mostly about men. Could Nike do more to realize the full potential of female customers? And how could it afford not to, given the threats to its future with Air Jordan running out of air and brands like Skechers digging into the teen market with shoes inspired by skateboarding, not basketball. That was the huge question at Nike HQ. The launch of Nike Goddess was the makings of an answer. Just Doing It Differently For much of its history, Nike’s destiny was controlled by its founders, Phil Knight and his running buddies, who signed up athletes in locker rooms and made the executive decisions. But by throwing together a diverse team of people with different backgrounds and different levels of seniority, Nike has found that it can keep many of its core attributes while adding new sources of inspiration. Take the combination of star designer John Hoke and newcomer Mindy Grossman, vice president of global apparel. Hoke design Bed the look and feel of the first Nike Goddess store. Then Grossman, whose career has included helping make Ralph Lauren into a retail icon, pitched1 the design ideas to Nike’s top retailers as stores within stores. Now it looks like Nike has a chance to reach a crucial objective: double its sales to women by the end of the decade. How to Sell to Women Nike Goddess began as a concept for a women-only store, and there’s a reason why. Many of the retail settings in which the company’s products were found were a turnoff to female customers: dark, loud, and harsh – in a word, male. In sharp contrast, the Nike Goddess stores have the comforting feel of a woman’s own home. How to Design for Women Designing a new approach to retail was only one element in Nike’s campaign. Another was redesigning the shoes and clothes themselves. Nike’s footwear designers worked on 18-month production cycles – which made it hard to stay in step with the new styles and colors for women. The apparel group, which worked around 12-month cycles, was better at keeping up with fashion trends. But that meant that the clothes weren’t coordinated with the shoes – a big turnoff 2 for women. How to Talk to Women When Jackie Thomas, Nike’s US brand marketing director for women, first heard the phrase ‘Nike goddess,’ she wasn’t impressed. ‘I don’t like talking to women through gender,’ she says. Nike Goddess had to mean something to women and it was her job to make that happen. ‘Women don’t need anybody’s permission. We are at our best when we are showing women a place where they didn’t think they could be.’ For John Hoke, the real power of Nike Goddess is not about traffic at stores. It’s about changing minds inside the company. ‘I knew that Goddess could galvanise3 us,’ he says, ‘It was an opportunity to redefine and re-energies our entire brand around a market that was taking off.’
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