In Search of Growth, Nike Personalizes Its Brand Experience


New York City’s new Nike By You studio—launching on September 16th—will be the brand’s epicenter for customization and co-creation. The innovative new personalization hub at the Nike Soho store in downtown Manhattan connects to a strategy announced in March, when Nike Chairman and CEO Mark Parker unveiled a “Triple Double” strategy for growth, or the three areas in which Nike is doubling down to have the greatest impact: 2X Innovation; 2X Speed; and 2X Direct.

“Triple Double” is shorthand for how the brand is doubling down on innovation (in performance and style), speed to market (streamlining its supply chain and workforce to be leaner and faster) and increasing direct connections with customers (DTC) through digital, membership and personalization.

“The consumer has decided digital isn’t just a part of the shopping experience,” Parker told analysts on a quarterly earnings call in March. “Digital is the foundation of it. This and other factors have shifted consumer patterns, especially in North America, impacting traffic, the economics of brick-and-mortar retail and is driving a more promotional environment in the near term.”

In June, Parker elaborated on why becoming more connected to consumers and innovating in ways that matter to customers, such as style, comfort and personalization, are vital for Nike’s growth:

“The consumer appetite for newness and choice has never been higher. Their connected world means unlimited access to new products. So when they see something they love, they want more versions of it from performance innovation to style. For example, this year the introduction of the Air VaporMax energized the whole Air platform. Five of our top 10 sportswear styles featured Air Max cushioning, adding fuel to a NIKE Air business that already represents several billion dollars.”

Nike’s new “Consumer Direct Offense” (announced in June) also accelerates product innovation, moving closer to the consumer through a Key Cities initiative that deepens the company’s one-to-one connections with customers in key markets worldwide—New York, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Barcelona, Seoul and Milan.

The company projects these cities will generate over 80% of Nike’s projected growth through 2020. As an example of how it’s super-serving customers in Tokyo, for instance, they (and in fact anyone in Japan) can now order nearly any Nike product via and have it delivered to one of more than 12,000 convenience stores or konbini in the country.

Nike DTC delivery Japan konbini

Supporting the global DTC push—a new Nike Direct organization led by Heidi O’Neill, President of Nike Direct, and Adam Sussman, Chief Digital Officer. Smarter use of data will help the company quantitatively plan product demand, allocate resources and target the right customers with the best offers.

As Parker told analysts, “Nike’s strength is our ability to get more out of each of our innovations by scaling across brands and across sports and what you’re seeing right now is just a snapshot. We have a relentless flow of exceptional products and platforms on the way,” including product innovation with cutting-edge cushioning such as the Air VaporMax, “a product that hits the sweet spot of performance and style.”

And it’s up to its retail business to bring its cutting-edge new products to life.

At its flagship stores in its key markets, Nike is looking to engage consumers with unique, memorable experiences. A new event series at its US stores kicked off in July, with The Nike Air Society inviting women to attend, “bringing you closer to the products you love most through a series of engaging experiences, including inspirational speakers, footwear trials and advice from Nike’s pros in Nike stores across the U.S.”

And then there’s New York, an uber-key market in Nike’s retail innovation plan, where it’s testing new content and customization concepts, about which Nike writes:

For decades, Nike has held a strong bond with New York City. Across the five borough’s basketball courts, relationships forged with high school teams further the potential of “the city game.” A partnership with the New York City Parks and Recreation Dept., emblematic of the brand’s commitment to the city’s community, is exemplified by the Stanton Street Courts by KAWS.

With the recent opening of two new spaces, including a NYHQ that houses an integrated design studio, and an NYC Digital Studio that is responsible for the Nike SNKRS app, Nike is deepening relationships to the Big Apple’s sport and culture communities. In celebration of this intersection, which is felt most palpably during this time, Nike is launching a range of exclusive products and experiences, what the brand is calling New York Made, tied to the city’s creative spirit and sport obsessions.”

Its New York retail experiences encompass key cultural moments including New York Fashion Week and the US Open tennis tournament.

The RF19 Pop-Up (from August 23-27) was the first-ever that celebrates the legacy of Roger Federer. The space (at the Nike x KITH Soho store) honors the tennis icon’s style and New York City’s sneaker culture by featuring Federer’s latest NikeCourt Collection and a new iteration of the highly anticipated Nike Zoom Vapor Air Jordan 3.

Nike Off Campus (Sept. 6-8) was held in collaboration with red-hot designer Virgil Abloh, Off Campus, a cultural learning environment for the advancement of sport, design and innovation, kicked off with a series of workshops featuring leading contemporary designers to celebrate The Ten—the 10 iconic Nike shoe designs that Abloh

Nike By You Jersey SuiteOpened September 9 at the Nike by Youstudio on the 6th floor of Nike Soho, this unique experience allows personalization of jerseys with name, favorite number and custom patches by artist Eric Elms.

#milanolive #jordanXpsny

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Jordan x PSNY: This ready-to-wear collection by Jordan Brand and New York City’s Public School was featured during New York Fashion Week on September 10, featuring new iterations of classic Jordan silhouettes.

Nike By You Studio: This global headquarters for the best of Nike’s customization and co-creation experiences launches on Saturday, September 16. For decades, Nike has worked directly with athletes to create cutting-edge and highly personalized products. Over time, this relationship between designers and athletes delineated a harmonization of form, function and emotion that defines Nike shoes and apparel.

With the opening of the Nike Makers’ Experience at the Nike By You Studio at 45 Grand in New York on 9/16, Nike’s Advanced Innovation team brings elements of this process to the consumer by merging digital design with traditional footwear making. The new live-design experience promises custom-made shoes within 90 minutes.

“The intention of the project is to bring to life the collaborative design experience that we offer our athletes,” says Mark Smith, Nike’s VP of Innovation Special Projects. “They love products that tell their story, so we wanted to combine that idea with a new process of live design and manufacturing that allows our guests to come into the space, work collaboratively with us and leave with a special product in less time than ever before.”

“Up and down our categories, we think the consumer is going to be excited about what we have in store in fiscal ‘18 and of course, as always, we’ll have few more surprises along the way,” Nike’s CEO told analysts.

This article first appeared in

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