Here’s a thought. If Nike decided to remove the swoosh from the outside and engrave it on the inside, would you still buy a pair?
I owe this thought to a friend of mine, who called two days ago. He wanted my take on consumer insights about shoes in the Indian market. Lets take Nike for an example. Quality is, of course the most important criterion. The swoosh, in Nike, is extremely important and has a lot of emotions attached to it. But, here’s something more! A pair of Nike with the swoosh on the outside is 10 times more likely to be purchased than a similar pair, offering equal levels of comfort with the swoosh engraved on the inside. With more than 50 responses, I have listed below a couple of points that became full fledged discussions (Thank you guys!)
Q: If Nike decided to remove the swoosh from the outside and engrave it on the inside, would you still buy a pair?
Respondent 8: Hey! They charge me a lot and Im paying premium for the swoosh. It better be on the outside.
Analysis – During the entire conversation, there was no mention of the product attribute at all. Has the visual identity taken over core characteristics? Also, is the premium paid for the swoosh or for brand promise (which is definitely beyond a coolness quotient). The brand Nike can be associated with world class quality. Now, this seems to be taken for granted. Vanity sure is important. But, at the cost of what?
Respondent 15: This is similar to you paying your one year salary on a Louis Vuitton bag. Would you buy the bag without LV logo?
Analysis – Good point. But I still think Nike and LV are poles apart. I wear my Nike shoes to the gym every morning because they are so comfortable. My size 3 feet dont hurt when I run with them. The main purpose is not for other people to notice. Au contraire, I carry my Louis Vuitton for people to notice and talk about. Vanity is the main purpose here. If I was to use it as a bag, I would carry it everywhere. My LV is reserved only for parties where I want to show off.
Respondent 18: Comfort reduces my dissonance, but the swoosh is for people to see and relate.
Analysis – For all the non-MBA-jargon-folks (respect!) the dissonance referred to here, is called post purchase cognitive dissonance. This is the “have I spent too much?”, “Is it worth it?” syndrome that remains in the head after purchase. Product attributes like comfort (“Of course they are worth it. They are so comfortable, it was a great buy”) help reduce the dissonance. Personally, this response is my favorite. We have now come to the level of looking at the core product attribute as a reason to feel good and not a reason to buy!
Respondent 34: I am buying Nike for the product, not for the swoosh.
Analysis – Very very few people are on this side. One of them replied, “As long as the shoe meets my exacting standards, I dont care. I still know it is a pair of Nike.” This set hunt for brand experience and attributes. They go beyond the face value and brand loyalists can be carved out of this lot.
What about you? If Nike decided to remove the swoosh from the outside and engrave it on the inside, would you still buy a pair?