Nike: Changing the Sneakers Game
"Our goal is to be the kind of start-up that would terrify Nike-if Nike didn't already own us." Ron Faris, general manager of S23NYC, a Manhattan-based digital studio owned by sports apparel giant Nike, is on the phone with Adam Sussman, Nike's chief digital officer. It is June 1, 2018. Two years earlier, Sussman was behind Nike's push to acquire Virgin Mega, a startup comprised of Faris and his small team, which has since morphed into a studio that plays a pivotal role in Nike's digital strategy. With the studio's mobile app, SNKRS (pronounced 'sneakers'), specifically, Nike seeks to strengthen its connection with the most fanatical of its fans-the sneakerheads-and "bring back the fun and emotion of buying," as Sussman put it. Is Nike on the right path with its digital strategy and, in particular, with how it seeks to change the sneakers game and compete with rivals such as Adidas and Puma? Does it make sense for the company to pursue the kinds of innovations featured in the SNKRS app? And what kind of campaigns and activations should it prioritize in the future?