‘Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old’: Four Lessons From Nike

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‘Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old’: Four Lessons From Nike

Like most terrific CEOs, Mark Parker sought the guidance of some wise mentors when he first took the helm at Nike. One of those advisors happened to be Steve Jobs, that shared the following item of guidance: “Nike makes several of the very best items in the world. Products that you fancy. Yet you also make a lot of crap. Simply get rid of the crappy things as well as concentrate on the good stuff.”

The problem with focusing on the “excellent stuff” is that a lot of that things isn’t really shiny or new anymore. For your top ability, whether they are online marketers, designers, or innovators, working on variation 4.0 of a worn out franchise is the equal to being designated business lavatory responsibility.

Yet, that’s precisely just what the most effective companies on the planet do. Instead of chasing after the brand-new, they introduce the old. They take all their glossy new ideas as well as apply them versus existing services and products that currently have significant market momentum and also consumer goodwill, with the goal of making them a lot more iconic.

Innovating your existing services and products leverages your existing personnel, frameworks, processes, making facilities, distribution networks, retail electrical outlets, as well as customer base in a way that “radical” brand-new advancement never can. It’s a smart use of sources and also power; it results in raised gross margins; and also it has a far greater chance of success. It’s likewise less complex to do, as well as you’ll start seeing results much faster.

Yet one of the most vital reason to introduce the old is to shield your legendary status, the highest and also most lucrative kind of branding.


There is lots of proof that legendary condition leads to better customer commitment, higher need, and also stronger testimonials. Research study from WPP, one of the globe’s most significant advertising agency teams, has established that people locate it much simpler to keep in mind legendary brands. Its research studies have revealed that iconic brand names have over 60% much better top-of-mind recognition compared to non-iconic brand names. That’s since renowned brand names link even more deeply with their audiences.

4 Lessons from Nike’s Air Max

As a typically skilled designer, Mark Parker fully understood the worth of iconic layout as well as had the ability to apply this assuming versus one of the most effective franchise business in the Nike profile, the Air Max.

Having actually simply celebrated Air Max Day (March 26) as well as the 31st wedding anniversary of the footwear, let’s take into consideration 4 methods Nike has actually had the ability to innovate this ever-popular item.


  1. Safeguard trademark components to keep experience

Iconic products take pleasure in a more powerful link with their target market, as well as consistency is an important element of that link. Famous trademark aspects function as solid supports, offering believers something to specify themselves by. If your brand is extremely irregular across its touch points, it’s unlikely making it to the legendary level.

Uniformity results in familiarity, knowledge brings about confidence, as well as self-confidence causes count on. Depend on, then, leads to more sales, even more suggestions, and also more revenue. Uniformity is vital if you want to gain condition as an icon in your industry.


Over the past 3 years, Nike has very carefully shielded its key signature aspects, consisting of the Nike Swoosh and the distinct air pocket in the sole of the footwear. These aspects are not just unique; they also link each generation of the Air Max with its audience in such a way that is both familiar and comforting.

  1. Advance your story and also heritage to produce significance

If a stranger handed you a Montblanc pen together with a scrappy BIC pen with a chewed-up cover, you would certainly have a pretty good suggestion which one was better to them. If he then informed you that he as well as his spouse had signed their marriage certification with that BIC, they’ve hung on to it for 12 years, and also they utilize it just once a year to create wedding anniversary cards to every other, you ‘d most likely alter your mind.

That’s the power of stories to create definition. Tale could absolutely transform the value of a product.


Nike has constantly developed the story of the Air Max, from the origins as a space-age, NASA innovation utilized to secure astronauts from head injury, to the elevation of the brand name in addition to each jump of every youngster that just wished to “be like Mike.”

  1. Introduce the advantages to supply delight

As I noted earlier, the best firms introduce the old. They consider their existing products and seek methods to draw attention to them more plainly, include even more cinema to them, as well as boost the amount of pleasure they provide.


Think of the Nike Air technology. The air pocket was originally hidden inside the sole. When Nike introduced to earn it noticeable in the very first Air Max, the footwear suddenly removed. Nike continuouslied innovate on the product till the air pocket extended past the heel to cover the whole length of the shoe.

This process has consistently included dramatization to the item and maintained it fresh.

This constant advancement has also made it harder for rivals to get an upper hand. Reebok introduced its Pump tennis shoes the year after the Air Max 1 was released, in an effort to claw back some market share, however it’s never had the exact same success.

  1. Reimagine design to construct exhilaration

Maintaining your iconic item fresh and also contemporary calls for reimagining it. If it doesn’t alter with time, it sends out the message that you’re not that interested in it, so perhaps your audience should not be either. That indicates it will gradually unclothe importance, as well as you’ll lose your audience.

Revitalizing your item is about greater than just maintaining it up to day. A 2006 research study at University College London found that novelty triggers dopamine paths in the brain, making us really feel excellent. Our brains crave dopamine. However, in time, the impacts of new excitement wear away as well as less dopamine is produced. Products rather essentially become less satisfying over time.

Without constant refreshes, even the most famous item will progressively lose its wow and also end up being simply a day-to-day things.


With each version, Nike didn’t merely catch the zeitgeist and also patterns of each period; in many instances, its designers were offered permit to push the envelope on design visual appeals to scorching a brand-new path on the style runways.

Marry the old with the new

Introducing the old is not merely more successful. For your top skill, it can be a chance to display their development, storytelling, and style chops in a manner that is both motivating and awarding.

The key to success is marrying the very best of the old– trademark elements and also heritage– with the excitement as well as pleasure of the brand-new.

In time, that approach develops better durability and also more lasting competitive advantage, permitting you to up the lust to deliver more of that legendary “great things.”

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