Nike CEO: Embrace digital transformation with vigour and end-to-end CX thinking

Chief executive of iconic sports brand shares latest digital innovations during the COVID-19 crisis and his thinking on how to better harness digital

The companies winning the consumer race are the ones proactively engaging in digital transformation with aggressiveness, vigour, rigour and a commitment to continuous improvement.

That’s the view of Nike CEO, John Donahoe, who spoke at this week’s Twilio Signal event on the COVID-19’s acceleration of digital engagement, and how the iconic sports brand is responding in kind.

While Nike has clearly invested in digital for years, rapid acceleration of digital during the crisis has made it vital keep innovating. One key area has been in commerce.

“We have been on a path where our digital channels would be roughly 30 per cent of all business by 2023. Then in March, we closed 100 per cent of our retail stores globally and digital became our ‘100 per cent open for business, business’,” Donahoe said. “All of a sudden, it was the only way we were connecting with consumers. We saw more and more consumers engaging with our digital commerce, through to our Sneakers mobile app, plus all of our activity apps.”

At the same time, with 35,000 retail store employees suddenly stuck at home, digital platforms stepped centre stage in order to keep Nike’s frontline staff connected to consumers. To do this, Nike built an app on top of the Twilio’s communications platform so that if a consumer shopping on its mobile app had a question about a product, it would immediately be sent via text to retail store employees at home to answer.  

“Our staff loved the fact that even though stores closed, they could help our digital customers by providing insights, advice and education,” Donahoe said. “This again allowed us to stay connected with our consumers.”

Even as physical retail is back open, digital continues to grow and Nike’s ‘store athletes’ continue to serve not only consumers in-store, but those digital consumers, Donahoe said.

“Every organisation is embracing digital transformation – we have no choice. It’s about how to digitally engage with consumers, employees, and use digital technologies to drive greater levels of efficiency to invest more in consumers and employees,” he continued. “That’s intimidating and hard.”

Yet Donahoe advised brands not to get too intimated by the technology and instead see it as the enabling factor. He recommended referring to end-to-end customer experience for how to employ digital in a way that will help your brand succeed.

“Look at the entire experience your consumer has. Part of that is direct engagement with products, but a lot is a step before and after that product engagement,” Donahoe said. “Look at digital as an opportunity to transform that experience end-to-end. Prioritisation should be not just in what you do around your direct product, but how you serve it, provide help and support, how you get products and services in the consideration set.

“Look at full end-to-end, then prioritise areas where digital tech and platforms can make the biggest impact in improving consumer experience.”

Donahoe said the other key to digital is to remember it’s a marathon. “You are never there – as we say internally, there is no finish line,” he said.

“Our digital channels are doing very well yet I look at it and say there is so much opportunity to get better. Then companies winning are the ones engaging in that digital transformation journey and do it with real aggressiveness, vigour and rigour, and accept it’s not going to happen overnight. And they are the ones that have commitment and resilience to stay with it.”

According to Twilio’s fresh research across 2500 senior global leaders, 97 per cent report the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up digital transformation and plans by six years on average. And 95 per cent are seeking new ways of engaging customers off the back of the COVID-19 crisis.

Twilio co-founder and CEO, Jeff Lawson, cited three major emerging trends in digital acceleration as a result. The first is that all types of business models are moving from physical to digital.

“This trend has been happening for 20 years but it’s massively accelerated in year of lockdown, social distancing and shutdowns,” he said.

A second trend is further modernisation of the contact centre from on-premise to cloud, fuelled by the urgency to keep employees safe and to support new channels like messaging, Lawson. Thirdly, the company reported more organisations taking advantage of opportunities created by new agile workforce.

“Now we’re all digitally connected, we can reimagine front-line customer engagement,” Lawson added. “These three trends are setting up businesses for an even more of a digital future.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

That’s great! While 95% of customer value high-quality support over speed, delivering both is vital in this competitive age. Integrating ...

Akansh M

Foxtel debuts in-app messaging chat to improve customer service

Read more

Thanks for the post

Ashirwad Towers

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

Like we have been growing in technology since the first industrial revolution and never stopping but when it comes to businesses around t...

Bhooshan Shetty

Predicting the Future: Marketing science or marketing myth?

Read more

Was really informative. Customer retention is very important for companies as retaining customers are simpler compared to making new ones...

Bhooshan Shetty

Gartner survey: CMO spending hit by COVID-19

Read more

Couldn't agree more!The way AI and machine learning as evolved over these years, it has completely changed the look of marketing and cust...

Bhooshan Shetty

Marketing 2030 and the rise of the machines

Read more

Blog Posts

Life beyond the cookie: 5 steps to mapping the future of marketing measurement

​There’s no denying there’s been a whirlwind of response to the imminent demise of the third-party cookie from all parts of the industry. But as we’ve collectively come to better understand the implications, it’s clear this change is giving the digital advertising industry the opportunity to re-think digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while balancing consumer privacy.

Natalie Stanbury

Director of research, IAB Australia

Ensuring post-crisis success

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed brands’ CX shortcomings and a lack of customer understanding. Given ongoing disruption, customer needs, wants and expectations are continually changing, also causing customers to behave in different ways. Just look at hoarding toilet paper, staple and canned food, medicinal and cleaning products.

Riccardo Pasto

senior analyst, Forrester

A few behavioural economics lesson to get your brand on top of the travel list

Understanding the core principles of Behavioural Economics will give players in the travel industry a major competitive advantage when restrictions lift and travellers begin to book again. And there are a few insights in here for the rest of the marketing community, too.

Dan Monheit

Co-founder, Hardhat

Sign in