From a basketball legend to a brand mogul

Michael Jordan – the hero of NBA (National Basketball Association), basketball legend and one of the biggest brand moguls in sports and street wear nowadays. How did Michael Jordan manage to create and build a strong brand not only for Air Jordan products, but also out of himself? It all started with pair of sneakers.

Air Jordan is a shoe and apparel company for both casual and athletic products. It is a division of Nike created in 1985, originally inspired and designed for Michael Jordan.

As written in Branding Beat’s article, Air Jordan’s are a great example of innovative marketing. Before Air Jordan’s, there were no signature shoes – just sponsorships. Before Air Jordan’s, NBA shoes had to be one color. Michael Jordan changed the whole shoe game in the industry. He was even fined $5000 for every game he wore his original black red Air Jordan’s (seen in picture 1).

Picture 1: Air Jordan’s 1 Retro High OG – Chicago

Air Jordan’s are popular especially among young consumers as well as athletes. Athletes and other celebrities are known for owning extraordinary qualities such as outstanding performances in their field and distinct lifestyles. Since young consumers often look upon celebrities as their role models (Bush & Martin & Bush, 2009), segmentation towards young consumers can be seen as a key factor in Air Jordan’s marketing strategy. Once Air Jordan’s where seen all over the sports, hip-hop and rap music industry, schools all over US where filled with kids wearing Air Jordan’s.

According to The Grio News, Jordan’s iconic status as a basketball legend made the shoes a must-have item, even amongst a group of kids who never saw him play in his glory days in Chicago. Air Jordan’s have become everything from a fashion accessory to a status symbol. To read more about this, read the full article of The Grio by clicking here.

The first pair of Jordan’s where released over 30 years ago. Till this day, Air Jordan is stronger than ever. Air Jordan’s logos, both ‘’Air Jordan Wings’’ and ‘’Jumpman’’ are know all over the world among young consumers and athletes.



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2 Responses to From a basketball legend to a brand mogul

  1. kialahti says:

    Oh I didn’t know about that the shoes needed to be one color and he broke the rule, that is interesting! I think that is good marketing strategy, but it also needs the market niche, which is harder to find nowadays. I think the shoes has become popular because of Michael Jordan, a great athlete behind the shoes. I am wondering how known the brand is today, does teenagers know Michael Jordan and this brand now when his glory days as basketball professional are gone.

  2. Jflory says:

    Sports marketing is an interesting domain for branding. The pull celebrity endorsements have is nothing to shake a stick at. The fact that Jordan was fined for wearing his shoes is quite interesting and isn’t uncommon in modern sports. It can actually be an interesting strategy to break into the spotlight without actually being a league sponsor or approved brand/product. In 2007 NFL Linebacker Brian Urlacher got fined by the NFL for sporting a Vitaminwater hat and drinking a Vitaminwater during a Super Bowl media event. Urlacher had an endorsement deal with Vitaminwater, but the product wasn’t an approved sponsor of the league. The issue generated a lot of press for Vitaminwater, and many speculated the company payed the fine and got a fair ROI in publicity for it. Sounds like Jordan might have been pulling a similar stunt wearing his shoes during NBA games to generate publicity. After all, a $5,000 fine that could generate millions in earned media isn’t too bad.

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