How Nike stole this year’s sports brand crown

Turning its focus onto individual cities, such as in its Nothing Beats a Londoner ad, has given Nike a new lease of life this year. As a part of our Annual 2019 coverage, we look at what the brand has been doing right

It’s been a bit of a comeback year for Nike. Even as recently as 2017, the company was facing falling sales thanks to competition from up-and-coming brands like Under Armour and a resurgent adidas, which had been making greater headway on sports like football and generating buzz around high-profile fashion collaborations such as Kanye West’s Yeezy range.

In 2017, Nike announced a new strategy to help it better reach its core customer base, which it called the Consumer Direct Offense. Going against the grain of most big brands, which tend to obsess over having a global outlook, Nike decided to switch its focus to the local. The new strategy spotlights 12 major cities – New York, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Barcelona, Seoul and Milan – where the company expects as much as 80% of its growth to come from by 2020.