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Product:

“Nike Mercurial Vapor” – It is a football boot manufactured by Nike. The boot is known for being lightweight and favored by many players for whom speed is a very important part of their game.

Brand:

NIKE, Inc. is the world’s leading innovator in athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories. Their mission is quite simple: “TO BRING INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION TO EVERY ATHLETE* IN THE WORLD. [*IF YOU HAVE A BODY, YOU ARE AN ATHLETE.”] NIKE.com.

Nearly every age range can wear NIKE. The brand produces shoes even for newborns. Because of their wide range of clothing and shoes for different sports, seasons, and peoples’ style, NIKE can be a brand for everyone. The brand carries shoes in such a wide variety of prices, and often has promotions, that NIKE still remains affordable, yet desirable.

The brand has a tremendous amount of following and recognition across the globe as The Leader in footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services. The brand Nike is valued at over $10 Billion.

Company:

At the core of the company is product innovation across all its products. The process of innovating athletic equipment’s goes back to the roots of the founders of the company even before the company was established.

“Bill Bowerman was a nationally respected track and field coach at the University of Oregon, who was constantly seeking ways to give his athletes a competitive advantage. He experimented with different track surfaces, re-hydration drinks and – most importantly – innovations in running shoes. But the established footwear manufacturers of the 1950s ignored the ideas he tried to offer them, so Bowerman began cobbling shoes for his runners.” Nike.com

They are known to work with athletes in the overall design process and allows a lot of engaging interactive user customizations available in their product line.

Nike follows a simply illustrated value chain which consists of Plan >> Design >> Make >> Move >> Sell >> Use >> Reuse 

Throughout the value proposition they also inculcate measures to “Make Today Better” and “Design the Future” which includes the following values:

“Make Today Better”: Cut Energy, Reject Toxics, Slash Water Use, Reduce Waste, Empower Workers, Support Communities

“Design The Future”: Unleash Innovation, Revolutionize Product, Transform Manufacturing, People and Culture, How We Work

Value Journey of “Nike Mercurial Vapor”:

Marketing Analysis, Customer Insights and Validation & Product Strategy – Nike from its inception has been working with athletes to create and innovate their products. They were making significant impact in the world of football boots since early 1990’s. It was the Mercurial line of Nike football boots that really brought Nike to the forefront of the sports equipment market. The planning and innovation process of making the Mercurial Vapor series of boots was completely focused on getting the player to the ball first. This was derived from significant experimentation and feedback from players who runs the most on the field mostly Strikers and Wingers. For the most part, this meant making the Mercurial Vapor football boots as light as possible, using a blend of ultra-light material and an ultra-slim fit to reduce excess weight.

Product Planning, Packaging and Business Model – They manufacture the product using their own manufacturing process based on the design combinations from both their design team and very successful and significant players of the game and continuous innovation in using various methods to improve traction of the boots on the field and ball control. Their business model with this particular product line has always been to release it to the players and create a market around the product where the huge fans and followers wishes to own the same precious boots that their role models are wearing. The original Nike Air Mercurial was debuted in 1998 by football prodigy of Brazil – Ronaldo. It was launched in the form of Mercurial Vapor before the 2002 world cup. The first glimpse anyone outside of Nike got of the boots was in the Nike cage ad starring Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, and Roberto Carlos. A limited edition colour variation worn exclusively by Ronaldo in the semi-finals and final was released to the public in limited numbers in the period after the tournament.

Product Positioning, Marketing and Launch – All the subsequent editions of Nike Mercurial Vapor has been a result of continuous research and trying to make the already awesome product even better. The design process would include players so they are building and designing the product with their users which they call co-creation. They would manufacture the product adhering to strict standards. They would launch it through intense advertisements and universal stars of the game. Once the product line would be launched they would launch a limited edition variant based on the preference of the player endorsing them. They would then launch 3 variants to the open market at 3 price points which can be classified as Pro, Semi-Pro and Amateur. This makes the product accessible to more income groups as the pricing would vary according to the model and there are certain tradeoffs which people are well aware of.

Sales Enablement and Customer Relations – Nike has launched 10 versions of the product Mercurial Vapor the latest one Mercurial Vapor X was launched on the 25th of April 2014. They made 4 extended models called Mercurial Vapor SuperFly which included Nike Flywire Technology which was debuted in 2009 along with a women’s version. The launches are always planned around significant football tournaments where they promote the teams they sponsor, the players they sponsor and their latest and greatest Nike Mercurial Vapor. Mostly they would put the latest edition on pre order and launch it to the masses after a month after the tournament is over creating this need and wait time for enthusiasts. They sustain their customer base by delivering end to end support and the products rarely would have issues.

Conclusion – Just to get an estimate of how successful this line of product is we can look at a very small representation of the size of their direct market. Their current talisman for all launches is present day soccer superhuman Christiano Ronaldo who has played in 2 of the world’s greatest football clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo has over 50 Million Followers in the World

Manchester United has over 659 Million Supporters in the World

Real Madrid has over 450 Million supporters in the world

Expecting a certain amount of overlap in the above numbers there is still close to a billion or more people who are ardent followers of the athletes and the clubs. Even though a tangible sales figure is not available, the product flies off the shelf and is often sold out. Overall this is a Stellar Nike Product.