I sit in my cube today in a red St. John’s tee-shirt, Levi’s jeans, and a pair of black high-top Chuck Taylor’s. St. John’s, my favorite college basketball team, is a university for whom I’ve done some strategy work. Nike has also done a good deal of work for St. John’s. In fact, their design team came up with the new sports logo. If you are in marketing you know about Nike’s brilliance.
That said, today Nike is in trouble. Remember the aforementioned Chuck Tailor’s? They squeak. When Converse was wholly owned, they didn’t squeak. Now Nike owns “Cons.” Squeak, squeak. Nike is losing focus. They design logos for college basketball teams, re-design uniforms, and even sell golf balls. Nike is now trying to reinvent the tee-shirt, looking at 74 neck variations and changing the wicking properties so they can charge $25 per swoosh.
The WSJ tells us Nike is re-focusing on core, higher margin products. Here are the categories on which they are focusing: basketball, running, soccer, sports lifestyle, men’s training and women’s products. If that’s focus, I’m Greg Oden. Under Armour is a company with focus. They will be the next Nike.