Just Do It

CEO Week

Dear Phil Knight,

What is a brand? I’ve heard dozens of definitions, all of which are true at some level.

A brand is a symbol.

A brand is a feeling.

A brand is concept.

A brand is a promise (-Stan Richards) .

At it’s best, a brand integrates itself into a person’s identity and contributes to their sense of self.  The term “lifestyle brand” is thrown around a lot but rarely does a brand live up to this big label. In my opinion, Nike is the quintessential lifestyle brand. How did that happen?

Weiden + Kennedy had a lot to do with it no doubt, but I think you were the first entrepreneur to really embrace the power of indorsement. Michael Jordan wears these shoes and he’s the best basketball player in the world, surely they’re good enough for your Sunday morning pick-up game. Nike wasn’t known as a golf brand until Tiger woods used Nike equipment as best golfer in the world.

This interactive list of the world’s most recognizable brands has Nike at #24. I think that is wayy off. I would place it somewhere just behind Coca-Cola. Athletics transcend all economic and geographic boundaries. Apple may have the most money, but Nike has touched every level of society in every corner of the globe.

Sweatshops aside, it’s an incredible brand.

PS: I found it interesting that you were the single largest contributor to the Oregon Ballot Measures 66 and 67 which increased taxes on large corporations and individuals making or than $250,000. Not to make sweeping generalizations about billionaire CEO’s, but wouldn’t that be the last thing you want? Maybe you’re actually self aware enough to realize that there the we’ve let the wealthiest corporations and people grab far too much of our nation’s capital.

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