Sportswear Game Changers | Joe Holder, Building Value for Nike as a Master Trainer

Céline Sabbagh

The Sportswear industry, being very unique, is defined by its emphasis on community building. Brands rely on brand ambassadors and influencers to effectively connect with their target audience. These individuals possess the ability to establish powerful connections with their followers. We're not just referring to celebrity athletes who act as brand ambassadors, but also niche influencers who have a direct link with consumers due to their specialised content focused on specific sports practices or specialisations.

With this, we are excited to introduce our new 'Sportswear Game Changers' where we delve into the world of Mid-Tier and Micro Ambassadors. Through this content series, we will discover each month a unique ambassador of the sports sector. Through their stories, we will explore their unique approaches to community engagement and uncover the successful strategies employed by various brands in their collaborations. If you're a brand operating in the sportswear sector, this series is sure to capture your interest.

Get ready to be inspired and discover compelling cases that could be 'game changers' of your strategy too ;). Today, we kick off the series with Joe Holder, an esteemed member of Nike's Master Trainers Program and understand Nike's Marketing Strategy with this expert.

Understanding Nike's Holistic Marketing Strategy

Nike's marketing strategy is a testament to its success as a sports brand. One key aspect of their strategy is strong branding reinforcement. Nike's advertisements not only showcase visually appealing graphics but also convey a powerful message that reinforces the brand's mission and vision. Their copywriting is concise yet impactful, with a core message of inspiring and empowering athletes worldwide. The iconic "Just Do It" campaign exemplifies this, motivating individuals to pursue their dreams and surpass their limits. Emotional marketing plays a significant role in Nike's strategy. Their ads evoke a range of emotions, resonating with viewers on a deeper level. Nike captures the stages that athletes experience, from pain and doubt to strength, rededication, and ultimately, joy. By portraying the struggles and triumphs of athletes, Nike establishes a strong emotional connection with its audience, motivating them to push past their own obstacles.

Diversity and inclusion are integral to Nike's marketing approach. They cater to athletes from diverse backgrounds, embracing individuals of different cultures, ethnicities, genders, and ages. Nike's inclusivity campaign ensures that their ads resonate with a wide range of athletes across various sports. By connecting with different athletes worldwide, Nike has become a trusted brand in the sportswear and footwear industry.

Sponsorship and endorsements are another vital aspect of Nike's strategy. Collaborating with celebrities and athletes on a global scale maximizes their reach and influence. From up-and-coming athletes to established sports icons, Nike partners with individuals who align with their brand values and inspire their target audience.

In the early 2010, Nike introduce the Nike Training Club (NTC), a fitness app that offers over 200 free workouts and training programs designed to help individuals achieve their fitness goals led by Nike Master Trainers. As part of the NTC, Nike actively engages in sponsorship and endorsements with athletes worldwide. By partnering with both emerging talents and established sports icons, Nike expands its reach and taps into the influence of these individuals. These collaborations with athletes who align with Nike's brand values serve to inspire their target audience and reinforce the brand's connection to athletic excellence.

Joe Holder, Elevating Sportswear Advocacy with Nike

A Deep Dive Into Nike's Influencer Strategy

By utilizing our proprietary algorithm, Media Impact Value™ (MIV®) which serves to measure and benchmark the impact of all media placements and mentions across various voices during a selected period, we look at how Nike leverages the influencer's Voice during Q1 2023.

The below graphic shows All-Star and Mid-Tier influencers are the biggest representatives of Influencers' Voices that post for the brand. During Q1 2023, All-Star Influencers generated $40M in MIV® for the brand with 738 different Influencers posting about the brand, followed closely by Mid-Tier Influencers who generated $36M in MIV® with 2.33K different influencers. Thanks to the reach and influence of All-Star and Mid-Tier influencers, Nike's able to amplify its brand's message and connect with a wide range of audiences.

Interestingly, Mega Influencers play a big part in amplifying Nike's brand message as well. With 1.02K different influencers, the tier generated $34.4M in MIV®, just showing how much their content resonate with their audience.

Joe Holder, a Fitness & Cardio Guru

Joe Holder is a celebrity fitness trainer and Nike Master Trainer within the NTC, renowned for his ability to connect the brand with a diverse and niche audience. With an impressive online presence and a dedicated following of 145K on Instagram, he is the creator of the Ocho System—an acronym for "One Can Help Others"—which embodies his holistic health approach. This comprehensive protocol combines effective workouts, mindful nutrition, and positive thinking to promote overall well-being.

Beyond his notable clientele, millions seek out Joe's expertise through his Masterclass, where he imparts invaluable guidance on fitness, nutrition, and wellness. As a co-founder of System of Service, he collaborates with brands and local charities to establish impactful service opportunities. Notably, his partnership with Nike involves initiatives to refurbish sneakers for individuals in need, showcasing his commitment to making a difference.

Joe Holder's Impactful Content Production Strategy: A Marketing Perspective

In the realm of content production, Joe Holder demonstrates a strategic and impactful approach that aligns with marketing objectives for the brands he works with. Here we delve into the specific channels, content format, and professional activations employed by Joe to maximise reach, engagement and further strengthen his Voice as an impactful Fitness & Cardio expert.

Multi-Channel Presence: Joe Holder leverages various digital platforms to amplify his content and broaden his audience. He maintains an active presence on Instagram, YouTube, and his community platform Exercise Snacks. This multi-channel approach allows him to engage with different user demographics and cater to diverse content consumption preferences.

Seamless Brand Tagging Integration: Joe Holder collaborates with brands in a way that seamlessly integrates them into his content while maintaining authenticity. Rather than overtly promoting brands, he skillfully incorporates them into his videos through product placements or brand integration, showcasing them in a natural and non-intrusive manner. This approach helps him maintain credibility with his audience while simultaneously aligning with the marketing goals of the partnering brands.

Video Content: Videos play a central role in Joe's content strategy. Through his YouTube channel, he shares a wide range of fitness, nutrition, and wellness-related videos. These include workout routines, exercise tutorials, motivational talks, cooking demonstrations, and interviews with industry experts. By offering a diverse array of video formats, Joe ensures that his content remains engaging, informative, and appealing to his target audience. As for Instagram, Joe Holder uses the reels feature to showcase short-form video content. Through reels, he provides glimpses of his fitness routines, highlights from his interviews, and engaging snippets to convey his expertise and engage his followers.

Thought Leadership Activations: Joe Holder employs thought leadership activations to strengthen his position as a fitness and cardio expert. Through strategic interviews with the media and collaborations, he shares expert opinions and insights, establishing himself as a trusted authority. Partnering with GQ, he contributes articles and features, expanding his reach to a wider audience. These thought leadership activations align with marketing objectives, enhancing Joe's brand and benefiting the brands he works with.

Nike marketing strategy

Nike-Centric Content: Joe Holder's Approach

Joe Holder is a resourceful producer of diverse content for Nike, encompassing both strategic and organic approaches. His content creation for the brand englobes various platforms, including social media video content, The Nike Master Trainer Program series, and organic mentions that Nike receives from Joe's thought leadership content. Through this collaboration, Nike effectively leverages Joe's expertise and influence to forge a deeper connection with their community.

One aspect of Joe's content strategy involves creating engaging social media video content that prominently features Nike. Whether showcasing his fitness routines or offering valuable tips, Joe strategically tags Nike in his Instagram and YouTube videos, establishing a direct association between his expertise and offering value from his own media to Nike.

Another significant component of Joe's collaboration with Nike is The Nike Master Trainer Program series. Through this program, Joe lends his expertise and insights to help educate and inspire fitness enthusiasts. By aligning themselves with Joe's authoritative voice, Nike positions themselves as a brand that prioritizes excellence and promotes high-performance fitness training.

In addition to Joe Holder's own content channels, Nike maximizes their brand visibility and reach by leveraging his presence in media interviews. As a Nike ambassador, Joe's expertise in fitness and cardio is frequently highlighted in these interviews, providing a powerful strategy for Nike to increase brand awareness. Given Joe's esteemed reputation as a guru in his field, any mention or feature of him in articles or interviews consistently includes references to Nike. This strategic approach allows Nike to benefit from the exposure and association with Joe's influential persona, effectively utilizing his status as a mid-tier influencer to enhance their own visibility and connect with a wider audience. By capitalizing on Joe's expertise and extensive media presence, Nike successfully generates brand awareness and establishes a strong presence in the fitness and wellness space through valuable partnerships with influential mid-tier figures like Joe Holder. To better understand Holder’s impact generated for Nike Online, We used our proprietary algorithm’s Media Impact Value™ (MIV®). In the last 3 months, Holder generated $36K in MIV® for Nike via Online mentions through 21 articles coming from worlwide publications including Ebony, Elle Mexico, Men's Journal, and more.

Nike marketing strategy


Best Practices for Leveraging Thought Leaders for Sportswear Brands

1. Identify the Right Thought Leaders: 

Choosing individuals who are aligned with the brand values and target audience is crucial. Brands should look for thought leaders who are not only popular or influential but also share their brand values and resonate with their target audience. For example, Nike was able to identify Joe Holder, whose personal journey and development of the Ocho System aligned with Nike's "Just Do It" motto. Furthermore, leveraging Joe's expertise and extensive media presence was crucial for Nike to establish a robust presence in the fitness and wellness space. By capitalizing on Joe's own personal expertise, Nike was able to effectively showcase their brand's authority in the industry.

2. Foster Authentic Relationships: 

Building genuine relationships with thought leaders who have a real connection to the brand is important. Engaging with them on social media, featuring them in their campaigns or events, or collaborating with them on content creation is one way to achieve this, for brands. For example, Nike featured Joe Holder in several of their campaigns including the Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh x Nike Blazer Low sneakers designed by Virgil Abloh in the campaign titled “Architecture” to promote different perspectives, expertise, and subcultures to promote surpassing limits. These collaborations not only support Holder's personal brand and the Ocho System but also solidify a genuine and mutually beneficial relationship between him and Nike.

3. Leverage Their Influence: 

Thought leaders' influence can be leveraged to drive engagement and build a brand's own community. Brands could work with thought leaders to co-create products, host events or challenges, or generate user-generated content. Nike leveraged Joe Holder's influence and his loyal sportswear community to drive engagement by partnering with him to create exclusive content and share his personal experiences advocating for Nike during professional panels or media articles, for example.

4. Get creative with campaigns or activations: 

Launching a campaign around a specific hashtag that aligns with the brand values, creating social media challenges, or partnering with strategic individuals to amplify the message are some of the ways brands can get creative with their campaigns or activations. Nike, for example, onboarded Joe as part of the Nike Master Training program further strengthening the authentic connection between Holder and Nike which simultaneously allowed Nike to tap into his influence and credibility among his followers.

Overall, through their collaboration with Joe Holder, Nike effectively leverages his diverse content production to strengthen their connection with their community. By tapping into Joe's expertise, influence, and thought leadership, Nike aligns themselves with a trusted authority in the fitness industry and can effectively engage their target audience, fostering brand loyalty and driving continued success

To learn more about the sportswear industry and how can sportswear brands leverage thought leaders like Joe Holder, download our latest report: Sportswear Insights by Launchmetrics

Sportswear Insights: A Report on the Global State of the Sector

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