In October 2009 I blogged in support of basketball star Steve Nash’s approach to endorsements and sponsorships. In “Benevolent Branding” I reflected on how wonderful it was that his strategic approach to sponsorships and endorsements meant that he would not lend his name to a product unless that company or brand is willing to support charities (like his own Foundation). I thought that this was a very powerful way to build a brand, while also supporting the concept of “giving back”.
Fast forward to January 2011 with the shocking announcement that Nash planned to leave his 15-year sponsorship/endorsement relationship with Nike for Chinese brand Luyou. It certainly signals he’s a business man at heart, and that he’s willing to make bold moves!
Imagine leaving a global powerhouse brand Nike?!?!? Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that a Chinese brand can be seen as having more power and potential in the global market. I guess time will tell whether it’s the right move to effectively capitalize on the global market.
I have to wonder what the “philanthropic” tie is with this move and the Luyou brand, presuming Steve Nash is at least sticking to his strategy of only endorsing companies or brands if they are in turn willing to support charities. We may never know. What we do know is that he’s all about the brand, and in the end making money!
What do you think about the move to ditch well-known Nike? Will it backfire or is it just the beginning of a trend?