Monday, March 5, 2012

Response - Nike

In “Rhetoric of Branding”, Nike’s clever branding is analyzed piece by piece. I think that as we are about to publish an online magazine, we can learn a lot from Nike’s approach. When designing an online environment, we have to think about the reader as well as the writers/photographers etc. who we choose to publish, as well as find solutions that we as a team feel comfortable with. Yes, not an easy task. But in this analysis of the branding of Nike, several clever and usable ideas are presented.

Firstly, Nike’s logo is brilliant. Why wouldn’t we come up with a logo too? The logo, with or without the word “Din”, could be repeated on all of the pages, sort of keeping it together and this way we could brand us as an online magazine as well.  Nike has found a logo that “rhetorically represents success and visually ties into the ancient gods of sport explains its success as a successful, simple and recognizable trademark. This clear logo is a perfect example of mixing rhetorical semiotics (recognizable links to wings of gods and the check of a job well-done) and simplicity (the logo is one swift brush stroke) to create a rhetorically strong brand basis.” Indeed, we rarely think about ancient gods when we see Nike’s logo, but it’s all there. There is really something clever in that logo in my opinion. I would say that many people are not even familiar with this reference to Greek god’s but nevertheless, the logo still conveys a certain message of success and victory with its shape: far from clumsy, awkward or difficult, full of energy, velocity and power. To me, Nike’s logo is a Jedi mind trick. And the logo combined with the message “Just Do It”, is a very effective image in our eyes. As it is said in the article, the actual message behind the words is a lot more: “don’t think, don’t ask, don’t talk about it, don't regret it, just do it!” That’s a whole lot of meaning from three words. Could we use the word distortion as a “slogan” like this, as someone pointed out, “Din” can be drawn out of it: DistortIoN?

Nike is also trying to reach women through the “Real Women” campaign, which I also liked very much: the colors, layouts, design. I would say that women could relate to that. With “Din”, the lesson learned would be aspiring to layout and design that would appeal to both men and women. Not too girly but not too plain or high-tech or whatever men prefer (Call of Duty/Terminator etc...).

Finally, the most important point in my opinion: simplicity. Nobody wants to be lost in an internet page. Clear navigation, colors that are repeated (or that are logical in some other way), finding “a sense of cohesion where everything relates and everything flows together”. It is also said that “the site attempts to tell a story about the different aspects of this brand, essentially saying that there is something for everyone”, which is something important too: it needs to be approachable and reader-friendly: who would like to read something that is too difficult to reach? From the features that do not work on Nike’s website, jargon and occasional difficulty in navigating the site was one point made. Simplicity is the key when dealing with these problems too.


  1. I think one of the most important things is simplicity. The Nike logo works on a rhetorical level because it does represent success, but it's also simple. It's distinct. This is the key to a logo. However, logos are only part of branding. Branding is about how you define your brand in the eyes and mind of the consumer. The logo is how you bring your brand into their minds through a symbol. But what does that image in their mind look like? How do they perceive DIN once they see our logo? How have we branded it?

    We talked in class about perhaps becoming the "weird" online publication. Well, that's a start. So when people see our logo, they think, "weird." When people see the Nike swoosh, they don't think the same thing they think now as they did in 1990 when Michael Jordan was famous. This is because their brand image has changed. Now, people see the swoosh and they think of a big corporation with overpaid diva-athletes as their spokespeople wearing over-priced clothing made by poor children in Cambodia. UnderArmor has successfully broken into the saturated athletic apparel market with a solid branding campaign, and with mistakes made by Nike.

    The first thing we'd have to do is decide what we are, which I think we've done, but then decide how we CLEARLY distinguish our brand from other competitors. That is how you brand. But in our case, I don't think we're really competing for customers with other online publishers because I think most of the people we'll get submissions from will be on campus who've never submitted before, or even had the thought to. I think our main competition will simply be other things people could be doing with their time. We're trying to get people who've written or created something to take twenty minutes out of their day and check us out and submit, and we're trying to get people who haven't created anything to take even longer out of their day and create something and then submit it. I think that's the reality we're facing here. I don't know if we're not big enough at the moment to even entertain the premise of competing with other publishers. I think we could maybe consider branding ourselves as a publisher for new artists who maybe have never submitted before, but want experience with an established, state university-level publisher. Once we establish how we're different from other publishers, we can really move forward with a branding campaign.

  2. Emni you raise good points about branding in your reflection of the Nike wiki article. Your discussion of simplicity in logo branding is important, as Nike does present a nice example of semiotic and rhetorical logo branding. Such rhetorical semiotics would be something we would definitely want to keep in mind and consciously discuss if we decided to renegotiate DIN's logo.

  3. I am a big fan of NIKE. When i was in middle school and high school, people are so proud if they have a pair of Nike shoes. And I believe Nike is a very successful example on branding and also promoting.

  4. i think NIKE's success is due to the "just do it". it is clearly distinguish NIKE from other competitors.

  5. I agree that the Nike logo is brilliant. I shudder at the services that offer cheap logos: usually just a collection of images for the buyer to pick. People who use those services don't realize the thought and research that goes into professional logo design!