vintage adidas jacket Keep Your Company in a Constant State of War
Lesson 4: Keep Your Company in a Constant State of War
is natural, instinctive, competitive, and, in the end, rewarding, says Knight. of us at Nike get to earn a living in that world a world that is easy to believe in. Much like the competitions in which Nike shoes increasingly found themselves being worn, so too did Knight take his company to the top with his instinctive sense of competition. By tapping into his entrepreneurial DNA and constantly maintaining a sense of combat against his competitors, Knight was able to succeed where few others had.
wants a certain amount of stress,” says Knight. “Most people have too much, but I didn’t want too little, either. Nike is a very competitive organization and Knight wouldn have it any other way. Often quoted as saying that is war without bullets, Knight has instilled within his company a healthy dislike of its competitors. When Reebok went to the expense of sponsoring the entire Atlanta Olympic games, Nike sponsored just the top athletes, but gained much more valuable coverage than did Reebok.
It was that sense of competition that also made Knight want to sign the 20 year old Stanford golfer, Tiger Woods. Amateur,
Knight shadowed Woods from hole to hole. Impressed with what he saw, Knight said, hope we sign him. If not, I hope he goes to medical school. Knight wanted Woods for himself otherwise nobody else could have him. Indeed, three days later, Knight wish came true. Twenty four hours after Woods called a press conference to announce he was quitting college to join the Professional Golf Association Tour, Nike revealed its newest endorser. Under the well crafted slogan, World, Woods was signed to Nike for a five year endorsement deal. It cost Knight over $40 million, but it was a price tag well worth it in order to keep this golfing prodigy out of the hands of his competitors.
Knight sense of competition has often gotten the company into trouble. In an attempt to make its ads stand out, Knight once personally pushed through a dark comedy spot during the 2000 Olympics that depicted a killer with a chain saw running after Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton. sport? the ad asked. you live longer, said Hamilton. Television network executives didn laugh, nor did many Olympic fans. Knight even admitted that it on TV, but added was one of the most downloaded ads of the year. Today, Knight claims his company has been responsible for ratcheting up the quality of advertising notches over his competitors.
Today, Knight may no longer be in charge of the daily running of the company,
but his presence can still be felt throughout the company walls. Nike owns 25 percent of the world athletic shoe market far more than any other company but Knight continues to seek out new markets to dominate and new innovative products to peddle ahead of his competitors.