As a vehicle to differentiation and aspirational status, retail brands often pay a premium on sponsorships and endorsements of international athletes. Few do it on the scale of American Sportswear company, Nike. Nike has track record of renowned collection of global endorsers, including; Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. and Tiger Woods.
On Sunday April 14th, Tiger Woods completed a stunning victory at the 2019 Masters taking place at Augusta National Golf Club. This was Tigers’ fifth victory at Augusta and the 20th year of the partnership of Tiger and Nike. Although Tiger took home the “Green Jacket” Nike was able to reap much of the benefits from his Sunday victory. Tiger was wearing his iconic red Sunday shirt and black swoosh cap, which have become a symbolic outfit for the brand and Tiger himself. The victory sent a ripple through the markets- Nike’s stock price rose 2 percent after the Master’s tournament's victory and added $2 billion to Nike's market value, furthermore, the entire golf industry experienced a boost in sales. The phrase coined as “The Tiger Effect” touches on the power and influence one man can have on a brand and entire industry.
The Tiger Effect is something important for retail brands and consumers alike. A brand is essentially a compelling story. Certain technologies and materials can create a superior product but what majority of consumers buy in to is the messaging behind the brand or product. Nothing stands truer than in retail industry. If compelling enough, retailers can leverage their brand image and it can be proliferated on an international level. Differentiation and value is so much based on the perception and value the brand holds within the eyes of the consumer. The path of dependence is often unique and subjective to historical conditions. Retailers can drastically influence market share and brand perception through the marketing and brand strategies acted on. For Nike, using many figures to tell a larger narrative has proven to give the company a sustainable competitive advantage.