post tag icon Marketing
14 / 11 / 19

How Nike Make Branding Look So Easy

Nike. Does that name ring a bell?

If you answered no to that question, then perhaps the famous ‘Just Do It’ mantra will jog your memory. If you are, somehow, still in the dark as to what Nike is, then I’m sure the swoosh logo will give you a clue:

Does that tick look familiar to you? Of course, it does.

We’ve all ran into the swoosh logo before. You’ll find it stitched on to one of your old, dirtied trainers. You’ll find it lovingly marked on to a hoodie. A jumper. A backpack. A t-shirt. A sports water bottle. Wherever you look, there you’ll find the swoosh.

And, of course, whenever we see the swoosh, we can instantly identify which brand it represents: Nike.

At the tip of the iceberg, the Nike swoosh design is very plain and simple, but at its core, it is one of the most effective branding visuals out there.

The art of simple design:

The truth of the matter is that simple, straightforward logos are easier to recall and to remember than complex ones. Nevertheless, many businesses continue to fall prey to the error of choosing logos that are way too detailed. When it comes to design, you should always opt for the visually simple one.

Visually simple designs work better. That is precisely why you and I can both identify Nike’s famous swoosh from a mile away, and why the McDonald’s golden arches were forever-burnt into your memory since the day you ate your first Happy Meal.

Your logo can tell the audience a great deal about your business without you even muttering a single word. You must be intentional and meaningful when you choose the way it looks.

The Nike swoosh, for example, represents motion and speed, an arc of movement. Swoosh is a sound you’d hear when LeBron James bolts past you en route to a thunderous dunk. The swoosh logo goes hand in hand with Nike’s brand; it compliments Nike’s action-focused ‘Just Do It’ culture.

American art director and graphic designer Paul Rand once said,

‘Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.’

He wasn’t lying.

Think about the design of your brand’s logo. What is the silent message that you want it to relay?

Why not start with the Why?

In his book ‘Start with Why’, Simon Sinek applies the Golden Circle model to explain why legendary leaders such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright brothers can inspire and motivate people so well, where others can’t.

The Golden Circle looks a little something like this:

As you can see, there are three separate stages to the Golden Circle.


First, comes the what: without a shadow of a doubt, every business should know what they do with 100% clarity. Business owners should have a good overview of their industry; they should know about the products they sell, and who their competitors in the market are.


Then there’s the how: businesses should know how they carry out their work. The employer and employees should be completely aware of all the little processes and operations involved at every turning point of production.


Last but not least, there is the why. Not a lot of businesses have mastered this one. Nevertheless, the vital question for any business is why. Why do you do what you do? And by ‘why’ we don’t mean to make a profit. Profit is a result, and it will always be a result.

By ‘why’ we mean, what is your purpose, cause and belief?

What philosophy stirred you to invest your life savings into your business?

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

When promoting a business, it is all too easy to get carried away playing the role of a salesman or saleswoman. In a desperate attempt to win the love of customers, we can fall into the trap of ambushing customers with statistics and broken promises. But, here’s the truth of the matter: facts and figures are not what drives behaviour.

To turn followers into advocates, you need to take a step down, so that you are on the same wavelength as them. You need to make a determined effort to relate with them on a personal level.

Start by honestly telling them why you do what you do. If your philosophy resonates with theirs, chances are, they will feel that much more motivated to allow your brand into their lives.

The crossroad between story and culture:

The art of storytelling has been around for thousands of years; storytelling predates writing. Some archaeologists even believe that rock art may have served as a form of storytelling for many ancient cultures.

We tell stories to make sense of the world around us and to share our understandings with others. Compelling stories are more than just a marketing strategy – they are about forming lasting bonds between people. Hence, the reason why brand storytelling is such an effective way to persuade customers to connect with your brand personally. Customers resonate more with stories than they do with statistics.

It is harder to rationalise someone into believing in your business because faith comes from the heart, not the mind.


Stories can allow you to tap into a customer’s heart, to tap into what drives their whole being.

It is safe to say that Nike have mastered brand storytelling to a fine art. Time after time, the Nike brand has never failed to pull our heartstring with one of its story-driven marketing campaigns.

Nike brand storytelling almost always focuses on the ideas of heroism, unbroken determination and the achievement of greatness.

In a Nike advert, you will always find a hero. A hero who rises from the ashes of humble beginnings. A hero who defies all odds, no matter how bad they may be. A hero who challenges the status quo. A hero who boldly attempts what many before him have failed to do. Nike’s brand storytelling is very action-focused and is a friendly reminder of their famous ‘Just Do It’ culture.

To be a better marketer, use visually simple design, ponder the question ‘why?’ and harness the power of storytelling in your marketing campaigns.

To learn more about how you can revamp and revolutionise your brand marketing strategy, contact Formation today!

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Written by Aggee Digital Journalist