CASE STUDY - EXPANDING THE PLAYING FIELD: NIKE.S WORLD SHOE PROJECT
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”
………..Company Mission Statement
“We want to be able to shoe and clothe young athletes of the world regardless of where they live. To do it for really difficult socioeconomic situations is both challenging and rewarding”
…………...Tom Hartge, Footwear Director for Emerging Markets
The words “Just make me the shoe!” echoed down the boardroom table to Tom Hartge a 17- year veteran of the running shoe company, Nike, Inc. Tom Clarke, president of the company in 1998, had attended the meetings, seen the presentations and reviewed the numbers related to the market potential of China: a rough gem with a…show more content… The few pairs of more expensive, non-canvas "Western" brand shoes sat next to piles of clothing courtside, worn only for the trip to the game and then replaced with the cheaper shoes to actually play in!
Beyond simple observation, research statistics revealed the market demand for athletic shoes. According to a Nike commissioned study of the Chinese sports market, 86 percent of the interviewees participated in some kind of "sport." This translated to over 1 billion "exercising people" in China. Over 49 percent of those surveyed claimed to ride a bicycle, which was also a primary means of transportation. Apart from cycling and running, badminton was reported as the most played sport in China. According to this study, 35 percent of Chinese age 10 or older played badminton at least once a year. In absolute numbers, this translated to 336 million players, a number Hartge felt couldn 't be ignored. Exhibit 4 highlights the various sports activities of the Chinese population. Hartge saw a twofold advantage of the World Shoe project. First, it made sense from a growth perspective. But equally as important for Nike 's brand image, the initiative made sense from a triple-bottom-line standpoint. For one thing, it created more income generation in the regions where the company operated manufacturing facilities. Second, a product specially developed for the needs of the mass Chinese market offered local consumers their own affordable product line.
A New Business