The Challenge of Seducing Nike
27 de April de 2021
27 de April de 2021
There are few branding cases as successful as Nike’s. The mere presence of their famous Swoosh —created by Carolyn Davidson in 1971, when she was just a design student in Portland— is enough to evoke not just the most famous logo in the sports world but also the three words that have the most direct and simple, yet inspiring, message: Just Do It.
The phrase could easily have inspired the young Davidson, if not for the fact that it came up in the heart of the Nike headquarters in 1988. That slogan —the industry’s most effective call to action— multiplied the company’s sales, placing it above it’s direct competitor, Reebok. Since then, it marks the company’s philosophy with a purely motivational message, of sports and creative boldness, that also reflects the internal values of a company that’s compelled to carry out a constant process of research and improvement.
Through this dynamic, Nike keeps an eye on the students of today, who are the creative talent and the managers of tomorrow. And, for this, they counted on EAE for their Business Challenge 2021 — a pioneer initiative led by Nike University that creates synergy between the professional sector and the students of the best business schools and universities around the world.
Nike threw down the gauntlet and, in Spain, it was picked up exclusively by EAE. In fact, only 10 schools from Europe, Africa and the Middle East took part in this bidirectional challenge where groups of four students were presented with a project on digitalisation, whose horizon was rentability, and where they were asked to find analytics solutions that would help with the demand predictions.
There were 26 teams from around the world who participated in this challenge: 9 for the Analytics Challenge and 17 in the Digital Challenge. The winners of the Challenge were to become part of Nike’s internship team at their European headquarters in Amsterdam for 12 months.
In March, the first phase of the Challenge was completed. No European school managed to pass the selection. Nike celebrated the effort and motivation of EAE students in this “fierce competition”. “Overall, your students were very motivated and were very creative in their answers”.
Valeria Vargas La Roche comments that these types of initiatives by EAE with influential companies “are very good for students. It’s an opportunity to meet and get in contact with people from inside the company. Some of us have even applied for internships at Nike after the Challenge. During this event, we were able to use our creativity in solving the business case. That’s what we liked the most. We were given a lot of freedom in the way we built our proposal”.
She’s 25 years old and a student of the Máster en Psicología y Comportamiento del Consumidor. She poured all her experience into the Digital Challenge. “Our project consisted in a proposal to increase the sales of the digital channels and it focused on building customer loyalty. One of the ideas we put forward was the creation of a customisable box: after subscribing and going through an AI analysis, customers receive a box with products that fit their lifestyle, likings and the sports they practice”.
One of the things that this challenge has taught the students is how to coordinate a multidisciplinary team working under pressure: “We’ve learned a lot from multidisciplinary work. All four members of my team came from very different backgrounds and are studying different masters. It was great seeing how we connected our diverse knowledge in order to come up with our proposal. And, even if we didn’t win, we received positive feedback from Nike”.
Valeria knows that her professional horizon is wherever there’s “a marketing team in a company that believes in the services or products they offer and a position that connects insights with creativity. Ten years from now, I would like to have a managing position or start my own business”.
“Taking part in this Challenge, even if you’re not selected for the next phase, really helps in the selection process for the internships that Nike publishes in its web site every year —explains Marina Gayán Antón—. Participating in this initiative is a great opportunity that must be taken very seriously”.
She’s 25 years old and a student of the Master in Supply Chain Management and Logistics , and she brought all of her artillery to the challenge. “The learning experience has been extraordinary in every single aspect. In my opinion, the development process for our idea was the most demanding. It may seem simple but it surely wasn’t. Transforming the initial concept into the final idea requires a lot of dedication, teamwork, patience and research in order to materialise the entirety of the concept in a logical, professional and understandable way. On the other hand, teamwork is key when it comes to pitching ideas from which you then pick the one that best adapts to Nike’s philosophy and to the Challenge’s guidelines.
Just like Marina, 23 years old Rudy Fares Eid is a student of the Master in Supply Chain Management and Logistics. . “As such, we chose the creative path —he points out—, since it was better for expressing ourselves more properly”. His project was based on AI and consisted in the recollection of data in order to give support to each client according to their level of activity and their environment. Their slogan, “From you… To You… For You”, makes reference to the gathering of data that adapts their project to the needs of the customer and, in this way, to the personalised recommendations that come afterwards.
As an international student from Lebanon “that came to Spain to fulfil a dream —adds Rudy Fares—, I thank EAE for all the opportunities that they have given me through their network of companies and partners. It’s really comforting to see that my university is involved in international events and creates such valuable connections. There’s no doubt that it’s all up to me and, because of this, I’m giving it my best in order to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way”.
“Nike’s Business Challenge was a great opportunity to show my talent and creativity in such a big multinational company. It was a real challenge that had many results; a challenge in which we had to rethink every part of the process in order to take the obvious to the next level and create an experience that no one would have thought possible. EAE was the only Spanish school that took part in this challenge and it was a great honor to be part of that exclusive group. I hope we can take EAE to the top by showing that intercultural teams that are made up of international students have a great impact in the way we think and shape the ideas and processes”.
“Hard work and commitment” are, for this student, the keys to success. A strong motivation that didn’t go unnoticed by Nike.