Written by wendyleepk
Imagine you are running late for a very important first date, you quickly grab your coat and slip your feet into your trainers. You dash out the door in less than a second, hop into the car and off you go. Wait! Have you forgotten to tie your shoe lace? Well, you definitely do not need to worry about that if you are wearing Nike’s new HyperAdapt 1.0 “self-lacing” trainers.
Introducing Nike’s ‘Self-Lacing’ EARL
Recently Nike has unveiled the latest technology breakthrough of self-performance sneakers, the EARL (“Electro-Adaptive Reactive Laces”), which automatically tightens the shoe lace as soon as your heel touches the sensor in the sole. The shoes allow you to further adjust the tightness to your feet with a simple press of buttons at the side.
“It’s great to be able to put a product out there that is a step toward the future of adaptive performance,” said Nike President and CEO Mark Parker.
Nike’s Strategy – To Win is To Differentiate
Nike has announced its revenue performance for the fiscal year 2015 rose 10% to US$30.6 billion (Figure 1) and Parker has attributed the outstanding performance and consistent growth to the company’s strong connection to consumer and their ability to deliver innovation at an unprecedented rate. In their 2015 annual report (pp.70-71), Nike has further claimed its success is highly dependent on its capability to identify and define the product direction and to react rapidly to the new or changing consumer preferences.
This has further reinforced the needs for businesses to identify their consumers and understand their purchasing behaviour.
What is Nike’s Game Plan?
Nike EARL is a classic example of a specialty product with unique characteristics which appeals to a group of consumers who has strong brand preference and is willing to invest time and effort in their buying process. Hence Nike has started their aggressive marketing and promotional activities since October 2015 when they presented to the world and to Michael J. Fox with a pair of the self-lacing shoes to engage consumers’ interest in their product during the pre-purchase phase and to create desires in them to purchase the shoes as soon as they are available in the market. The short advertorial video which spans less than 30 seconds is another effective marketing tool of subliminal advertising to infuse emotional excitement and suspense in the consumers.
Just a quick glance at the brand name “Nike” itself and we will find positive images of healthy athletes filled with high level of energy flashing in our minds. This explains the success of their advertising campaigns over the years which have been instilling perceptual impressions in us through classical conditioning to associate healthy lifestyle and innovation with their iconic logo “Swoosh” and powerful slogan
Cultural differences in terms of social class and to a some extent age are other factors which influence consumer behaviour as well as their decision-making process starting from the pre-purchase to purchase and finally on the post-purchase reflections. This “smart” shoe is the first in the world to be operated on an innovative self-lacing technology and this technological revolution will attract the interest of people belonging to the upper social class as a manifestation of their elite status. At the same time, in the eyes of many young technology savvy consumers, the shoes provide them with a sense of emotional fulfilment and personal satisfaction.
What’s Next – Just Do It.
This phenomenon is like a dream come true for many of us when Nike designers turned fiction into fact by creating the shoes worn by Marty McFly in the movie Back to the Future in 1989. It is fascinating to know that during the product launch, Nike has already embarked on the next development phase of creating self-lacing shoes which are fully adaptive and automatically adjust to the athletes’ feet as they run. With the help of modern technology, anything is possible if you dare to dream.
Iacobucci, D 2013, ‘Marketing Management (MM4)’, South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio
Nike 2015, ‘Nike, Inc. Annual Report on Form 10-K 2015’, pp. 70-71, retrieved 20 March 2016, <http://s1.q4cdn.com/806093406/files/doc_financials/2015/ar/docs/nike-2015-form-10K.pdf>