Sep 14

The Air Jordan Effect–It’s Not Just for Shoes Anymore

Product Development as MarketingPeople often focus on getting huge numbers of followers behind a product. They pour all of their efforts into getting more, often before a product is ready for release. This inevitably amounts to more confusion because your crowd will have different needs, values, and dedication to what you are doing. What does it take to create a great product?

One key person.

The example I frequently use for this is Air Jordan shoes. Michael Jordan is the tour de force that took Nike from being a running shoe company into the biggest athletic shoe company in the world. When he first graduated from North Carolina, Jordan actually had no interest in Nike and instead wanted to pursue Converse or Adidas. Neither company had any interest in Jordan, and it was actually Jordan’s agent David Falk who saw the opportunity in a potential Air Jordan shoe. Jordan was paid $2.5 million over five years, a ridiculous sum for the time.

Jordan’s shoe was black and flashy instead of the standard white. It was different, so different that the NBA actually fined Jordan for wearing them. Oh well, it added to the appeal. Air Jordans have consistently been one of the top selling basketball shoes in the world since their inception. You can find all sorts of generations of Air Jordans still available online.

Nike went after someone they considered the next superstar. It was a risky, irrational move that made them billions of dollars and secured their spot as the dominant shoe company in the world.

By targeting influencers and building products around them versus focusing on building sheer numbers, you’ll know that your product will be able to hold its own versus the competition. Why? You are focusing on the user of the product–not the product itself. Just don’t drop the ball when it comes to taking care of those who end up buying it.

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  • http://strategyweb.wordpress.com/ Oscar Del Santo

    Sensible advice.

    I think in the case of the much-maligned Nike (obviouly for other reasons than the current discussion) this story proves that they were creative and not averse to making a big investment in securing the ‘top’ influencer for their product.

    And yes: focusing on the end user of the product is always a great philosophy to go by.
    .-= Oscar Del Santo´s last blog ..ORM and the Dark Side: Astroturfing, Flogging and the Viral Marketing Campaign that never was =-.

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