Teaching Students About the History of Nike
Teaching students about the history of Nike is an excellent way to introduce them to the world of business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and sports. Nike is one of the most successful sports apparel and equipment companies in the world, with a market capitalization of over $160 billion. The company has a rich history that dates back to the 1960s that is fascinating for students to learn about. Here’s a brief overview of how to teach students about Nike’s history.
1. The Founding of Blue Ribbon Sports
Nike started as Blue Ribbon Sports, a company founded by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman in 1964. Phil Knight was a student at Stanford University, where he wrote a paper on the benefits of importing shoes from Japan. After graduation, he travelled to Japan and met with manufacturers, including Onitsuka Tiger, which he convinced to sell their shoes in the US. With an initial investment of $500, Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman started Blue Ribbon Sports which would later become Nike.
2. The Evolution of the Nike Brand
In 1971, Blue Ribbon Sports introduced the “Nike” brand. The name Nike was inspired by the Greek goddess of victory, and the famous “Swoosh” logo was created by a graphic design student, Carolyn Davidson, in 1971. During the 1970s, Nike became known for its innovative designs, including the Waffle Trainer and Tailwind series. Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It” wasn’t introduced until 1988 when the company was already a well-established brand.
3. Nike’s Marketing Strategies
Nike’s marketing strategies have been a crucial factor in its success. From sponsoring top athletes like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James to celebrity endorsements, Nike has always understood the power of marketing. Nike’s iconic ads featuring the likes of Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, and Colin Kaepernick have also helped to cement the brand’s image of being bold, innovative, and socially conscious.
4. Corporate Social Responsibility
Nike has not been without controversy, however. The company has faced criticism for its labor practices in developing countries, sweatshops, and the treatment of its factory workers. Nike has since implemented policies to address these concerns, including the Nike Code of Conduct and the Nike Considered Design program. Nike has also been recognized for its corporate social responsibility initiatives, including its Reuse-A-Shoe program, which collects old sneakers to be recycled into athletic surfaces.
Teaching students about the history of Nike is an excellent way to introduce them to the world of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. It’s important to highlight the key milestones of the company, including the founding of Blue Ribbon Sports, the creation of the Nike brand, their innovative designs, and marketing strategies.
It’s also essential to address the challenges the company has faced in terms of labor practices and its efforts towards corporate social responsibility. By learning about the history of Nike, students can gain a better understanding of business success, innovation, and responsibility.