Case Study: Nike CFO Don Blair Reveals Strategy for Profit Growth

Donald Blair, Nike’s CFO

Despite general weakness in the global market, Nike has been one of the top outperformers this year. With the release of its Q4 profits, Nike not only boasted increased profits of 22 percent, but they also exceeded top and bottom-line estimates. This accelerated growth is Nike’s best showing since 2010, resulting in $6.7 billion for the year. Brand expansion was up in all global markets with the exception of China, where orders rose by 3 percent but profits remained flat once currency fluctuations were taken into account.

Still, the impressive growth by Nike has the industry turning its collective eye for the sportswear powerhouse, as the CEO and CFO discuss the future of the brand. Chief Financial Officer Donald Blair reveals the strategies that have lead Nike to its position today.

Nike: Sustainability Has Changed the Game

While consumers heavily feel the pinch of the economy, major manufacturers and companies must adapt to the shifting landscape as well. Nike has revealed that sustainability is a key component of the company’s strategy moving forward and that it also accounts for the growth the company achieved this year. According to CFO Blair, sustainability is a critical component of success because of:

  • Competition for scarce resources. This ultimately affects the price and availability of products. As the inputs needed to create products become more sustainable, so do the prices.
  • Rising energy costs. Aside from lowering company expenses, creating a more environmentally sustainable company also allows Nike to engage in green and energy-conscious operations.
  • Diversifying profitable growth. By “decoupling profitable growth from constrained resources,” Nike can continue to make a more sustainable strategy that isn’t reliant on scarce resources and an ever-fluctuating market.

Emotional Marketing Takes Center-Field at Nike

Aside from focusing on sustainable business practices, Nike is also revamping its marketing strategy to create more emotional branding. Through this marketing strategy and emotional voice, Nike hopes to inspire athletes at all levels and build customer loyalty. This turn in marketing strategy is based on the “heroism” archetype to sell their brand and generate fervent customer loyalty and excitement. Coupled with a more sustainable business strategy, Nike’s emotional marketing may score major points in the coming quarters.