Monday, July 24, 2006

Gold Star Goes to Nike

If you have a chance, read the following story from Business Week titled, "Nike: It's Not A Shoe, It's A Community." The article noted that Nike created ", a social networking site for soccer fans it quietly launched in February with Google."

Other interesting tidbits:

* "Nike officials say they reached their World Cup goal of signing up 1 million members by mid-July, when the tournament ended."

* "It created JogaTV, a virtual soccer TV station, where it releases a new video clip every few days and fans can upload their own clips."

This idea is an amazing "outside the box" marketing tool. There are some many different ways that Nike can connect with the users of the site. Hopefully, they will be smart and not commercialize the site so much that its users turn away.

Nike can use this social networking site for the following:

* Research: How do these fans view soccer, its players and Nike products in general?

* Future Marketing: How to reach these fans -- via channel (Internet, TV, Print) and tone

* Product Testing: Gauge the communities’ feedback on certain products

We all can see that social networking is the next big "it" Internet craze. Nike deserves a gold star for recruiting over one million users to the community as well as securing a decent amount of coverage in the last few weeks. If their PR department is smart, they are pitching one of the executives as a "thought leader" in the social networking craze so reporters want to talk with Nike when discussing this phenomenon. If the executives participate in interviews, even if it is only twice a month, they are still keeping the site “top of mind” to the average soccer fan.

If more companies are smart and are willing to take a risk, they will review and try to develop their own social networking community. The positives outweigh the negatives by far. Other than blogging on a company site, this is a smart way to connect with your customers.


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