Nike Skateboarding's strategy was built on the hard-learned lessons from Nike’s first attempt to enter the skate arena. In 1997 they launched a line of skate products and a big TV ad campaign. It was a failure in part because of resistance from the skate community and an unconvincing product line.
Five years later, they had a new plan: be humble, work with closely with skateshops and deliver the freshest, most innovative products in the industry. It worked because it diffused suspicion and gave skateshops what they wanted: great products that weren’t available at the mall.
2002: The Early Years
Odopod’s first site for NikeSB set the tone for the brand online. Its main purpose was to introduce the team and products.
Our strategy was to use experimentation and artistry to embody NikeSB’s plan to push technical innovation and style with the new product line. The result was a hand-crafted, high-production value website with tailored experiences for each product and team rider.
2005: Growing Up
By 2005, NikeSB had nothing to prove. Their first two years were an unqualified success. Skaters and sneaker collectors were buying shoes as quickly as they hit stores. New shoe models, an apparel collection, more team riders, more retailers and a growing international audience were the results.
The maturing brand meant that it was time for a new digital strategy.
The new site needed to be more dynamic, more efficient and visually more restrained. Tactics were increasingly important. Things like updating the rapidly expanding product line and publishing content in five languages were important considerations.
We started by analyzing the traffic patterns in the existing site. We discovered that our biggest assets, in terms of traffic, were the collectability of one shoe, the Dunk, and the team riders.
These insights shaped our design strategy: to wrap more content and products around our high traffic assets.
The first hub we created was an interactive shoe browser that enabled sorting by models and colors. This brought the new shoe models into the stream of traffic created by the Dunk.
For the team riders, we created interactive puppets that captured the personality and style of the riders. The puppets were put into environments that aggregated photos, sequences and video for the each rider.
Lastly, we also media browser that brought all the of the photos, sequences, and video content together in one place with advanced sorting and filtering by media type and rider.
2007: All Growed Up
By 2007, NikeSB was major force in the industry. A deep fan-base of both skaters and sneaker collectors now followed NikeSB’s every move. The product line continued to grow and the team swelled to include ten pro riders and a handful of amateurs.
Time to evolve again.
Our strategy was to create an online brand magazine. With so much going on everyday at NikeSB, we wanted the new site to feature all the freshest brand stories – video, photos, kicks and team happenings.
We kept the best bits of the old while building something brand new: a site with a robust publishing system and a customizable visual design layer. This made it easy for the teams at Odopod and NikeSB to quickly publish new content to the site from anywhere in the world.
Video was central to this new strategy. The goal was to create more video, more frequently and with higher production value. So we created a video browser that enabled fans to tune in on a weekly basis to full-screen HD footage of all things NikeSB.
The icing on the cake is our skinning system for the site. It uses a style sheet to let us make quick yet dramatic changes to the entire site's look and feel in minutes. That means that colors, backgrounds and type can be changed to support a new shoe drop and switched back the next day.
2008: Video Explodes
The team at NikeSB has committed to producing some of the best skateboarding videos in the industry. Our job was to extend the NikeSB publishing platform to support video and to create a new video experience within the site. We created a dedicated video hub with high-resolution video, a dynamically-sized embeddable player and auto-play functionality. Since it was launched video viewing is up 405%.
The cycle of life continues. Based on the success of the NikeSB strategy and platform Odopod was selected to build Nike’s new Snowboarding site. Nike Snowboarding has just launched. Let’s hope the ride is as good as Nike Skateboarding.