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“Running is in our DNA", Avinash Pant, Director – Marketing, Nike India

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This small statement sums up the marketing and brand story of Nike in India. In the last few years, Nike India has associated itself largely with running events across the country. Besides, it is laying deep emphasis on Cricket as well as Football. In this exclusive interview to EE, Avinash Pant, Director – Marketing, Nike India talks about Nike’s steps to come closer to its consumers via several touchpoints.



EE: Nike is known to associate itself extensively with running events. Can you enlist your top associations?



Nike is a running company started by a Track and Field coach and an athlete; running is in our DNA. Apart from being associating with the biggest races across the globe, Nike boasts an arsenal of innovative products across footwear and apparel to help runners perform better every day. As a brand, we strive to understand the needs of an athlete and for this we work with some of world’s best elite athletes who are part of the Nike family.



In India, Nike is the official running partner for the TCS Bangalore World 10K. Last year, Nike partnered with the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon, organised by Hyderabad Runners. We truly believe that these two races help us connect with the authentic runners not just from these cities but from across the country.In 2013 Nike launched the ‘Nike Outrun’ series to encourage community, connectivity and friendly competition through running by hosting college race series in N.M College, Sophia College, IITPowai in Mumbai. The Outrun series which was a central event of the festival gave runners a chance to represent and run and earn points for their college.



EE: What are your other efforts to promote running? What has been your experience with Nike+ Run clubs?



Nike’s global expertise in running is leveraged every weekend at the ‘Nike+ Run Club’ in Mumbai and Bangalore.  The Nike+ Run Clubs, set up with the express purpose of training everyday athletes in the sport of running, began four years ago. Today, the Nike+ Run Clubs have built a strong community of thousands of registered runners across Mumbai and Bangalore making this initiative one of the largest running communities.



The Nike+ Run Club trains everyday athletes to take to their sport seriously and helps them realise their true potential while providing participants with overall conditioning, several training tips, expert advice, inspiring experiences and Nike product trials that would help them achieve their personal best.



EE: What has been Nike India’s experience with digital experiential initiatives? Which consumer trends and behaviour studies drive your experiential efforts?



At Nike, we are constantly looking at innovative and dynamic ways to connect with our consumers while being disruptive in our efforts. We truly believe that the thread that holds Nike and its consumers together is the tremendous passion for sport that we both share.



We understand that in India, cricket is more than just a sport. A recent example was the disruption we created on the Nike Cricket Facebook page to reveal the new national team kit for Team India in September. The ‘Unleash the Blue’ cricket initiative on Facebook gave fans across the globe the opportunity to unlock Team India’s new team kit even before its official launch. 5000 cricket fans had to unlock 5000 pixels to unveil the new team kit for the Indian cricket team. The response from fans across the globe was encouraging with the team kit revealed in less than 3 days and reaching 3 million users in less than a week. As an effort to bring fans closer to their cricketing heroes, personal messages went out from Nike athletes to fans that were part of this experience.



Experiences like these help us bring our consumers closer to the sport while strengthening our connection with these passionate cricket fans who Bleed Blue for Team India!



EE: Nike launched innovative retail concepts called Nike’s House of Cricket and Nike’s House ofFootball. What was the rationale behind these initiatives?



Nike’s House of Football and House of Cricket are dedicated spaces to showcase Nike’s best innovation in the sport. Nike aims to establish the House of Football and House of Cricket as the ultimate destination for young athletes and fans.



Young athletes in the Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai can find the best of Nike’s products for training, competition and lifestyle wear at one dedicated space.



These concept stores bring young athletes in these cities closer to the sport by offering the same technologies worn by elite athletes across the world.



EE: Are there any plans to expand this concept in other cities?



We are extremely delighted to partner with Planet Sports to create such premium spaces in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The House of Football and House of Cricket is a great platform to showcase our best products in a premium style within the limited space of a multi-brand environment.



 



7.       Out of all the results that you may obtain via experiential, which is the most crucial expectation for you?



•          Bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the World



•          Understanding and connecting with the youth



•          Helping athletes perform better each day through innovative product range



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