How Nike adapts ‘Just Do It’ to work across cultures

William Landell Mills

This case study explores how a set of cultural codes that TNS Qualitative developed can surface cultural differences, and guide brand communications. We focus on a contrast between the US and China to help explain what the codes mean at a general level. Then we look at how Nike (a characteristically US brand) has managed to align itself to UK, Indian and Chinese cultures through brand advertising.

Brands lost in translation

Delivering a global proposition in a way that resonates locally is one of the most important and toughest challenges in marketing. Globalisation means that brands seek growth by stretching across geographies. At the same time consumers expect brands to be more sensitive and 'speak their language' as never before. Aligning a global proposition to local requirements is fraught with difficulty. Partly this is because of organisation issues. But it is also because the problem of cultural difference is veiled, misunderstood and under-estimated.