Monday, June 23, 2008

Social Web Example: The Nike Plus Community

In a prior post, I provided a definition of social web. Some may read that post and ask the question: "But are real companies actually embracing the social web?"

The answer is an unequivocal: Absolutely!

I have already illustrated how the Jeep Community is an extension of that engages its passionate community directly as well as promotes the large number of Jeep communities that exist on social web sites like Facebook, Yahoo, etc.

The Nike+ Community is similar in that it engages its passionate member community directly from its own website. It is different in that it does not overtly interlink with other Nike communities that exist on other social web sites. At least not nearly as much as the Jeep Community site does.

The picture below shows the entry point for runners to track their mileage. A cool feature is the Community mileage counter that is constantly counting up the collective mileage posted by the Nike+ community. Kind of reminiscent of the McDonald's "100 Million Served" counter. Neat touch.

The next picture shows the entry point for finding and sharing events that the Nike community would be interested in. Nike clearly wants to encourage their community to run together and interact.

Nike also provides an information-rich blog entitled "Inside Nike Running". They have experts writing on a range of topics. So for the community members who primarily like to read and listen, they have a great resource. Nike also provides a Forum for members who are more vocal and want to share their own thoughts.

While the site is a little over-polished for my tastes, it absolutely provides a branded way for Nike to engage its community around an area of PASSION.

I searched on Facebook to get a feel for how Nike is expanding its Nike+ community by engaging with Facebook members directly. While there are a variety of Nike+ groups created on Facebook (ex. the "Nike+ Challenges" group), none of them appear to have a lot of momentum which may be due to the fact that the Nike+ website already has a lot of engaging content.

I really like the "Nike+ Running Monitor" Facebook application and how it connects Facebook and Nike+ website members.
"The Nike+ Running Monitor is connected to the Nike+ website, giving you the ability to share your running information with the Facebook Network.You have the ability to add your profile summary, runs, goals, challenges and much more so you can show off how well you are doing and to keep you inspired!"

Nike clearly has a great strategy for engaging its passionate community with useful information and tools that enable them to feel part of the larger community. If you look at each of the screenshots above, you will also see how Nike makes it easy for community members to find their running products and learn more about them. It's a great noninvasive way to market/advertise to people who actually care about the products.

What's the bottom-line benefit to Nike? Customer loyalty, word of mouth referrals, increased brand equity, and increased sales. They also likely have a much higher ROI on their product-related advertising since they are engaging well qualified customers directly.

Further Reading:
Why Build Social Applications into a Website?
Why Develop a Facebook Application?
Social Media: Rent or Own?
Search Advertising vs. Social Applications

You can find even more recommended reading in the Social Business section of the Ringside Networks website.


jotto said...

I believe the Nike+ Running Monitor Facebook app was made by an independent developer - which in some ways is another indicator of leveraging the community. Either Nike exposed some APIs or the developer had enough wherewithal to scrape the Nike site and pull in the data.

Joshy said...

Jotto is right!
I was just Googling "Nike+ Running Monitor" and came across this blog.

I am actually the developer that made the Nike+ Running Monitor on Facebook. Hi! Unfortunately for me, Nike was not interested in coming to the party (I did email and try to contact them but got no repsonse before doing it myself) so I did have to 'scrape' the Nike website and pull all the data myself! It took me a while but now I have updates as well so that it logs on Facebook when you go for a run!

I do like how you pasted my little quote about what the Nike+ Running Monitor too, I made that up on the spot hehe :-) Unfortunately, even though I have thousands of users, daily active users, fans and reviews; I have still heard nothing from Nike or Nike+! They have even recently introduced their own Nike+ app which only shares the Nike+ Mini (something my app already does!).

Obviously when Nike links their Facebook app to the Nike+ website, they are bound to get a lot of users immediately, but my app is still increasing very quickly!

Thanks a lot for the write-up about the app! I really enjoy making a product that my users enjoy! :-)

For those of you that want to see it, Click Here! (hope you don't mind some shameless plugging) and for those of you that would like to email me.. Click on my name just below!

:-) Thanks Again

Josh Pugh
Nike+ Running Monitor

Shaun Connolly said...

Thanks for the insight Josh! It's funny how with an open web, you can take the initiative and add value to the community without the help of those who actually established the community.

You and Jotto should sync up since I think you are both runners and since Jotto created the Voomaxer application, which is an athletic training application:

Jotto's app runs on Ringside Server (open source platform that helps apps deploy on websites, Facebook and OpenSocial sites) so he's able to run on Facebook as well as other websites with the same app. Ex.Voomaxer is also useb bt a local running store's website:

Bridget said...

It is amazing to me that Nike hasn't fully embraced Josh's app. The fact that I just added this application makes me even more loyal to my Nike product, and more likely to try to remember it on each run, and to replace it if/when it dies out. I work for a large company (not Nike) and it is funny how sometimes the best ideas & innovative concepts (even if simple) can sometimes take so long to implement. Huge kudos to Josh for developing this!