The Jordan brand of athletic shoes from Nike will finally start marketing towards women, as the company hopes that expanding its offerings to women will help increase sales.
There are also plans for the brand to start focusing beyond basketball, as Jordan will soon start offering running shoes in addition to its iconic basketball sneakers.
The brand says that it has the goal of doubling its sales to $4.5 billion by the year 2020.
While the brand has largely been known for focusing exclusively on basketball shoes for males, CEO of Nike Mark Parker is hoping to change that.
Parker said, “It is a great brand and has been one-dimensional: largely footwear, largely male and U.S.-based. The opportunity is to give the consumer more choice in that brand, carefully.”
Nike is once again hoping that the marketing power of Jordan, along with its reputation as a footwear juggernaut, will lead to success in the market. However, many experts believe that the company is taking a major risk that could possibly ruin the Jordan brand by destroying its association with basketball.
Still, it’s a risk that could pay off.
Analyst Matt Powell said, “It’s doable, but it will really take some thoughtful design work, and the product has to be right also. If they can harness the strength of the brand, it can work.”
While Nike already has a big market share in women’s athletic shoes, Jordan has virtually none.
There is reason to believe that women who play basketball would flock to Jordan-branded basketball shoes for women. Some women have even been known to wear Jordan basketball shoes that were designed for men. Currently, Jordan offerings for women are limited to accessories such as socks and hats.
However, the brand might have a difficult challenge in marketing towards younger women, since many up and coming basketball stars weren’t even alive to see Michael Jordan play during his prime years.
President of the marketing-strategy company Ries & Ries, Laura Ries says, “Jordan is one of the most iconic and successful brands, and it very much aligns with young men. Once you start diluting it, it doesn’t have the credibility and authenticity it once had, and the guys might not want it anymore."
Jordan is still very popular, even years after his retirement. A recent study showed that his name is recognized by 97% of women in the United States. Women view him as the 7th most influential celebrity, while he is 11th for men.
Meanwhile, the Nike brand as a whole is predicting that its current annual sales of $30.6 billion will blossom to $50 billion by 2020. The adjustment of the Jordan brand is expected to contribute to this.