Logo and Imago Paper Proposal

Discourse Analysis (or is semiotics better) on Nike’s Cultural Branding Strategy

Research Question

How does Nike’s branding strategy surpass the ‘idea of the product’ and uses cultural branding to identify themselves instead?

Background information

Nike was one of the first companies that started branding themselves a little differently than the rest. Instead of selling their products and only their products, Nike sold their brand. By selling their brand instead of only their products, they sold a ‘experience’ or lifestyle instead. This was then also seen in how they used their logo to brand themselves. Logos did not used to be something that was advertised on the products themselves (like clothes) but Nike amongst others changed that. Now, many brands do this as well and Nike is not the only one anymore, but it might be interesting to look at how they were one of the firsts to change that mindset.

Nike’s image is often associated with ‘winning’ and ‘doing the impossible’. Many people who buy Nike therefore not only buy their products for the sake of having a new product but also buy the brand and the possibility to ‘achieve the impossible’. Hereby they convey the message that if you wear Nike shoes, you can do anything and be anything you want.

This paper is a discourse analysis on how Nike uses their brand and logo to convey this message of ‘experience’ and ‘doing the impossible’. By looking at their website and advertisements, this paper examines how Nike creates their message and incorporates this lifestyle in their products.


Preliminary Literature

Holt, D. B. (2004). How Brands become Icons. The Principles of Cultural Branding. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard Business School Press. (Chapters 1 and 2) (SB HF 5415.153/ SW HF 5415.153)

Klein, N. (1999). No Logo: no space, no choice, no jobs: taking aim at the brand bullies. New York: Picador. (Chapter 1 and 2) (SB HF 5415.152/ SB HF 5415.152, see also https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/k/klein-logo.html)

Moor, L. (2007). The Rise of Brands. Oxford / New York: Berg, pp. 15–38. (chapter 2).

Rose, G. (2001). Visual methodologies: An introduction to researching with visual materials. London: Sage. (Chapter 6: Discourse Analysis I)

Elliott, C. (2001). “Consuming caffeine: The discourse of Starbucks and coffee” In: Consumption, Markets and Culture, 4(4), pp. 369-382.

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