The Winged Goddess Of Victory Flies High

Nike has just announced increased sales, but what exactly is it that they sell?

I guess that most people who buy Nike sports clothing aspire to emulate the myriad of top sports stars and sports teams that the company sponsors, but there is more to it than just wanting to be good at sport.

I doubt that Nike’s now familiar Swoosh symbol, designed by Carolyn Davidson for $35 dollars in 1971, is very often consciously recognised as representing the flight of the Greek winged goddess of victory, Nike. Apparently, the Swoosh simultaneously represents athleticism, competition and victory. It is supposed to look like the wings on the feet of the god Hermes and like a wing of the goddess Nike. The Swoosh also resembles a check mark, which in American culture denotes success and a job well done.

So, what are you buying when you choose a Nike product? Success of course. Surely that’s a credible aspiration, as don’t some of the most successful (sports) people in the world wear the Swoosh? Perhaps some will rub off on you too.

All brands have a functional component, in this case the equipment helps you play sport, but they also have an emotional component. When you buy Persil, you are buying care for your family. Lucozade has sold energy for decades. And Lynx (one of my very favourite brands) sells sex appeal – apparently woman just can’t resist you if you use it.

What’s your brand like? What is the emotional component of your offer? Is it packaged wonderfully? Could it be improved? If you don’t have a strongly aligned corporate identity, based around a defensible market position whose most developed expression is your brand, then you are probably missing a trick.

One of my 5 Secrets is about alignment. It all starts with being clear about what you are selling, to whom, and why they might be interested in buying it from you. Nike know it – do you?

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