During the new LeBron Watch program, James will wear five special LeBron 15 PEs inspired by classic Nike products. As soon as James steps on the floor in one of those, the shoe will be made available to Nike members via the Nike SNKRS app.
The irony in listening to analysts talk about why Signature sneakers don’t matter, or that the sneakerhead community is an echo chamber is that the same analyst will come back and tell shoe retail and brands that scarcity is important and that limiting shoes is good for the market. That same person who states that signature entertainers or athletes are not influential because the products being created aren’t “commercial” is the same person (in order to get brands to listen and buy services) will create an entire series about the importance of giving the consumer a unique experience. Signature athletes provide unique opportunities.
Nike continues to build their CDO via the channels introduced last year on Investor’s Day. While signature basketball is no longer the primary cash cow, the significance in establishing stars for the introduction of “hard to find” product doesn’t take place without those players. This doesn’t mean every player deserves a signature. Only certain players can transcend the game and LeBron James is one of those guys. Nike realizes this and with the LeBron Watch Program they are doing what other companies are failing to do and that is moving buyers to their platform in an interactive way that creates a NCX (Nike Consumer Experience) which promotes both long term and short term benefits for both the fan and the brand.
LeBron will unveil PEs that pay homage to the iconic athletes and Nike shoes that have inspired his career. Some he’ll keep to himself, but he’ll also make five of those PEs available to Nike members via the Nike SNKRS app as soon as he steps on the floor wearing them.
While we won’t have access to the numbers on the LeBron Watch sales this is a major part of the future of footwear. The “Connected” will have access to premium, limited kicks and will have to remain engaged with the NBA on some level to see when LeBron actually wears the “inspired by” series. Interaction inside of the Nike App and Nike Plus Membership is much bigger growth opportunity for Nike. Members inside of the digital channels spend 3X as much. When utilized correctly signature athletes are important and Nike understands the importance of getting your fans engaged.