SoLoMo Best Practices – Nike Case Study

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Nike is a brand powerhouse… No matter what sport, you’ll probably see the ubiquitous Nike swoosh logo somewhere.

So (Social) Lo (Local) Mo (Mobil) is a powerful new way to connect… with a hyper-connected, hyper-informed, empowered consumer (not the first time I’ve referred to today’s consumer with these adjectives!).

So why is a top-tier brand like Nike in a write-up about SoLoMo marketing? Because a marketer like myself can’t help but get excited about creating a case study example of a large brand who demonstrates its grasp of the principles and value of the SoLoMo approach.

So, let’s dig in.

Traditionally, Nike’s marketing emphasis has been one focused on celebrity endorsements. Nike signs athletes who are outstanding in their sport then builds campaigns around their personalities.  These campaigns required spending millions of dollars on advertising around events like the Super Bowl.

New Marketing Landscape, New SoLoMo Mindset

Although Nike could have been content to coast and continue their tried-and-true marketing regimen, they realized that upstarts like Under Armour pose a threat to their status.

Nike understands their target audience is always changing and evolving due to constant market changes, driven primarily by technology and the Internet.

In response to their changing environment, Nike created a special group dedicated to designing technology products. This group was separate from the traditional shoes and clothing products Nike was known for.

The group’s mission was to find ways to connect and engage with consumers. Nike was willing to revamp their organization and redirect their marketing budgets to transform their brand in order to stay relevant.

The power of SoLoMo is a compelling consumer experience achieved through relevance not interruption. I think you will see that Nike has delivered on this.

Let’s look at some of the ways they achieved this.

Customer Centric Focus

Nike-fuelband-300x209The new effort is all about the consumer–their interests—it is not focused on product features.

The message is holistic. Nike has enhanced and expanded their brand using Nike Plus to provide a platform to engage consumers in a manner that is relevant, but still reinforces the core identity of Nike products.

First and most important, Nike connects sports and life. The play on words is significant, setting up a platform for Nike to talk athletics with just about anyone.

Join-NikePlus-300x209The Nike Plus web presence is clean and clear. The benefits describe the product and images reinforce the message. The invitation to join and engage is compelling but, (and this is most important) doesn’t ask consumers to shill for Nike products.


While tailored, the visual image is inclusive, quickly revealing a very broad definition of “athletics”.


Nike Redefines Mobile

Nike-fuelband2-300x202Traditionally we think of mobile as a phone or tablet. Nike has added a new GPS wristband technology to the mix in addition to the mobile app experience.

Notice how Nike describes the product from the consumer’s point of view; and there is always a direct connection to activation.

This product concept is mobile. Mobile serves as the connection point between the brand, the consumer and the community.

MakeItCount-300x187The site is clear and compelling, there are videos designed to help with any questions. Consumers are always encouraged to share and challenge their friends; I’ll talk more about this later.

The Product is Social

MakeItCount2-300x204Nike offers an invitation to join the community. The invitation makes sense in the context of the total user experience, this doesn’t come across as a veiled attempt to collect an email address so the broadcast marketing can commence.

Yes, there is a newsletter; however there are plenty of other benefits to connecting and sharing with others in order to live a more active life.


Nike taps in to the competitive nature of athletes with elements of challenge and sharing results; however, they wisely suggest that self expression is also a form of sharing.



Nike uses Local

NikePlusPlaces-300x182Once again, Nike creates a local brand experience, one that is relevant and designed to help consumers find and share routes. Notice how the set up is thorough and inclusive without being a barrier. I appreciate the attention to detail and the recognition that anyone can join; even those who may not have a GPS device have an entrée into the community.

The local experience also has utility for experienced users. The site can be customized for familiar routes, the mapping feature is useful too; and there is always the option to explore new routes.

We often associate “local” with our specific surroundings, this feature allows one to tailor local to new destinations, for example, business travelers or those on vacation could continue to use this.


Nike Marketing SoLoMo Best Practice Summary

Nike has clearly embraced a whole new mindset, one that involved significant internal and external changes. Nike went from a brand that paid millions of dollars to reach millions of consumers at special events to a brand that can now connect with millions of consumers most anytime they want to through their social channels.

Interestingly, Nike has increased their marketing budgets; however, they have shifted the spending significantly to the digital channels.

The real power of the SoLoMo approach is the integration of multiple channels to provide a seamless customer experience.  While I have selected examples from each of the three elements to highlight those features, notice how all three elements are joined together creating a clear picture of an active lifestyle, one that is lived in community with other like-minded individuals.

Consistently Nike talks “with” and “to,” not “at,” consumers. You feel part of a community, and that is ultimately the greatest goal. While the site is all about community, Nike never loses sight of their goal to sell products; they simply choose to do this by helping and engaging, not selling.

So, what about you? Are you helping and engaging, or just selling? What would your customers say in response to this question? It most likely won’t take a major product revamp (like Nike’s wristband), and you probably won’t have to create a new company division (like Nike Plus), but what steps are you taking to market with relevance to today’s SoLoMo consumer?

Joe Ruiz
This monthly Social Customer Experience Marketing column is contributed by Joseph Ruiz. Joseph is President of Strategic Marketing Solutions, a full-service marketing and consulting firm specializing in web-based integrated Relationship Marketing. Joseph thrives on the ever-changing nature of marketing in the digital age, embracing interactive opportunities, while applying three decades of hands-on expertise in online and traditional marketing. When he’s not helping business-makers navigate through complex marketing challenges, Joseph enjoys reading, working out and traveling just about anywhere…anywhere you can get a digital signal, that is. +Joseph Ruiz
Joe Ruiz


Integrated Marketing Strategist, Client Engagement Building, Cultivating Thought Leadership, Birdwatching Junkie
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    • says

      Felcity before the case study I wasn’t aware of their shift in strategy. Earlier they launched a major campaign with the hashtag #makeitcount so things are always changing and that is key to staying relevant. Thanks for stopping by.

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