What Colleges Can Learn from Nike

By Karlyn Morissette - Mon, Mar 22, 2010-->


General, Marketing

What Colleges Can Learn from Nike

There aren’t many brands I’m completely loyal to, but Nike would definitely be one of them. Almost every sports related thing I own is Nike. I could spend hundreds of dollars on clothes, shoes and stuff I don’t even need online or at a store and still want to go back for more next week.

Why? It’s not because of the brand, or the brilliant marketing they do…and goodness knows it’s not the price.

It’s because, for me, Nike puts out a better product than any other company I’ve tried. Their clothes and shoes fit my body and work the way they say they are going to. They are consistent and I feel confident that, even if I order something online without having seen it in person, it will be OK.

Yes, I do actually have a point here that applies back to colleges: Are you putting out the best product you can for your audience? Because if you’re not, no amount of brilliant marketing will be enough to get people to enroll and retain at your school.

Ultimately it’s what you deliver that matters.

In conversations about how to frame a university, I think this is a point that often gets overlooked. Marketing materials are created to be aspirational rather than inspired by the existing reality at the school. They are thought to be the end all, be all of what recruits students…but the real world is far more complex than putting together a viewbook.

If your school is too expensive compared to primary competitors, it’s going to have an impact.

If your school has had bad press, students looking at it will see it (Google, anyone?)

If your school doesn’t offer the programs that students are interested in, no amount of good marketing will get them interesting in programs they don’t want.

If you don’t have the product to back up your fancy marketing materials, kids are smart. They are going to see through it.

So take a step back for a second and look at what you’re offering. If it’s not the high quality that your audience is looking for, then fix that first…then concentrate on your marketing.

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This post was written by:

Karlyn Morissette

Karlyn Morissette - who has written 45 posts on .eduGuru

Karlyn Morissette is a thought leader and innovator in higher education. With over 12 years of web experience (half spent working exclusively on higher education web marketing initiatives), she helped pioneer many of the web strategies considered best practice today.

Today as the Director of Marketing Communications at Fire Engine RED, Karlyn works with colleges around the world to execute integrated marketing campaigns as a part of student search. She also teaches courses on Internet marketing and strategy at Champlain College as adjunct faculty. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration from Norwich University.

To quote a friend of hers: "Karlyn is a super rad ninja marketing genius who will make your target demographic submit to your every whim through sheer willpower. Oh, and she's smarter than you."  We're not sure about the smarter part, but "super rad ninja" is true enough.

Compulsory disclaimer: The views expressed in Karlyn's posts are hers and hers alone, and do not represent those of any company she's affiliated with. Yes, it's true - the girl has a mind of her own. 

4 Responses to “What Colleges Can Learn from Nike”

  1. Avatar image
    Andrew Careaga Says:

    Good point. It’s all about the product or service and marketing should support and reinforce the quality of the product. Too often, marketing messages and materials end up being the veneer or whitewash we try to use to hide the cracks in our product or service.


  2. Avatar image
    ahmad Says:

    really nice idea



  1. Backing Up School Brands With Quality | Educated Nation | Higher Education Blog says:

    [...] masses; schools have to back their rep up with solid output. Karlyn Morissette at .eduGuru likens institutions of higher education to companies like Nike, and explains why the schools must [...]

  2. znak-vodoley.ru says:


    Придуманная мной технология значительно отличается от опубликованной автором, если кому-то интересно, могу поделиться своими мы…

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