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  • Diana Schneidman

Nike: Goddess of Branding

When the experts discuss personal branding, they often cite the Nike brand first.

You know Nike, home of the Swoosh and Just Do It!

The Swoosh is said to represent the wing in a famous statue of Nike, Greek Goddess of Victory. And “Just Do It’ was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the twentieth century.

Apparently it’s just me, but I don’t get what’s so great about Nike’s branding. The Swoosh is OK, although I had thought, prior to my research, that it represented the sole of an athletic shoe from a side view.

My problem is with the slogan since I’ve always assumed that it means sex, not running.

Barbers do it with shear pleasure.

Actors do it on cue.

Bankers do it with interest.

Supervisors tell others how to do it.

So, do Nike wearers just do it with their shoes on?

There are two possible conclusions.

The first is that relevance doesn’t matter. Throw enough money into advertising, and through constant exposure, any brand can be branded into our brains. Repetition counts more than a meaningful concept.

If this is so, then Nike-style branding, which doesn’t name the product and doesn’t show any benefits, won’t help the small business that doesn’t have enough money to bully its way into consumers’ minds.

The second possible conclusion is that I don’ know what I’m talking about. Nike earned $496 million last quarter, and I earned less.

So never mind. Carry on.

Originally posted 3-31-10

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