Brand affinity case study: Nike vs adidas

I’ve recently started to enjoy running and after increasing my distance and speed, I realized that I need a good pair of running shoes. So last week I went shoe shopping and I had an opportunity to observe myself making a buying decision for a rather expensive product.

I have 2 favorite sporting brands – adidas and Nike. Just the previous month I have purchased gear from both brands. adidas seemed to me like the more affordable brand and I probably own more adidas workout and training apparel than Nike. However the Nike Running sub-brand spoke to me more directly since I actually enjoy running.

I began by researching online recommendations, and then looking up specific model reviews and YouTube videos. Then I went to Sunway Pyramid which had both adidas and Nike side by side to have a look at the options available.

The adidas staff were super helpful and attentive. I tried on 4 pairs of shoes ranging from RM250 to RM430. They also had an promotion on – trade in an old pair of shoes for up to RM80 rebate depending on the value of the shoe.

adidas Supernova Glide 4 (White/Energy)

My favorite shoe of the bunch was the adidas Supernova Glide 4. It retailed at RM430 but with the rebate it was only RM350. It was a really comfy shoe and the retail staff were really nice and so this was top of my list. But I didn’t want to make snap decisions so I went next door to the Nike store.

The Nike store staff at Sunway Pyramid are lame. No one attended to me. When I asked to see a shoe in my size the guy went away and never came back. I walked out the store disappointed.

However, I really wanted to give Nike a fair chance. I couldn’t make my decision without trying on the shoe so the next day I went to the 1 Utama store. Luckily the staff there were much better and I tried on several pairs of Nikes. Overall the Nikes were more expensive with prices ranging up to almost RM600. They were also in much brighter colors than I would usually wear – neon green, pinks and yellows.

Nike Air Pegasus+ 29 Shield (Black/Electric Green)

In the end I bought the Nike Air Pegasus+ 29 Shield for RM389. It was at full retail price with no discounts or incentives, but I was really happy with my decision! The shoe is awesome and in the words of runners, it really offers a great ride. The RM389 was a worthwhile investment in my feet and my fitness.

After the experience, I began thinking and deconstructing my buying decision making process. My conclusion is that adidas didn’t stand a chance. I would have bought Nike anyway because they’ve converted me into a fan.

adidas has simply been present in my fitness journey with their apparel. However Nike has been really pushing and motivating me with their apps and gadgets. I’ve been using the Nike+ Running app for a while now. I can see my progress and improvement through the app. At the end of my runs I get attaboys and acknowledgement from the app.

Then when I decided that I needed to improve my fitness further I got a Nike+ Fuelband which has been tremendous motivation for being more active and healthy. I visit the Nike+ website weekly to check my NikeFuel and compare against friends. Nike made fitness fun for me.

Nike turned me into a fan, not with their branding or more cooler designs. I became a fan because their free Nike+ Running app got a foot into the door and pulled me into the Nike “community”. Nike just grew on me, and now I’m invested!

All in all, great marketing from Nike and whoever came up with the NikeFuel concept is a genius. Next fanboy thing I have to do: See if there’s a male version of this awesome shirt.

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