How the Jordan Brand Maintains Relevancy: Even with a Generation that has Never Seen the Icon Play.

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Me and my best friend were shopping at the outlet mall where she was buying the usual wardrobe for her 13 year-old son: baggy jeans and t-shirts.  Nothing special as he is in general a low-key kid…super smart (like the smartest kid I have ever met) who plays baseball (but not the star player), and is really not even into girls yet (at least that is what he says).  She says to me, “He is really easy when it comes to his clothes, but he has to have his Jordans.”  A little surprised, I asked, “why?”  “They all (like every teenage boy) have Jordans.  It is the “cool” factor.” So, there you have it…a brand that has the same elite “cool” factor as Fortnite…but more than 30 years older.  So, what is it about this brand that fuels it for growth despite the fact that a big source of growth is coming from a generation who may have never even see the icon play?

Ethos.  Whether it meant to or not, the Jordan Brand got it right from the beginning.  When the NBA “outlawed” the initial design of the shoe because it didn’t pass the color restriction, a spirit of edgy competitiveness was born which also worked well to exemplify the namesake.  If you wanted to “Be like Mike”, you better got game. This spirit has transcended decades and continues to be core in the way the brand is brought to life on and off the court. Just look at their social channels which exemplifies this through the athletes it portrays as the next generation of greatness.  Look at the feet of your favorite college bball teams, and be assured the flying Jordan icon will still be prevalent.

Keeping the Icon Alive.  In 2016, the brand brought back an Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan XXX1 to commemorate the moment he dunked the ball so hard, it shattered the back-board sending glass flying.  Epic no matter the generation but holds a level of mystique similar to when talking about mythical super-heroes (or your Fortnite avatar) for those in the younger generation.  Thanks to YouTube and social media, these moments and others can be relived. Just search “Michael Jordan Top 10 Plays of Career”, and you can be the 18,349,440 viewer.

Embracing Other Verticals.   Thanks to Sneaker Headz, celebrities, and teenagers like my best-friend’s son, the Jordan Brand is also “cool” off the court.  This has brought in an entirely new consumer who has translated the ethos to street style. Dress them up or dress them down…they make a statement that reinforces one’s own personal brand.    

It is hard to find a brand that has persevered like this one, even with other phenomenal bball ambassadors who have also made a mark.  I commend the marketing genius of the Jordan brand, but I also have to pay respects to the icon…because there has been and always will be only one, Michael Jordan.

Anne’s Note:  As always, I hyperlink to brands I love so I can share the love with you.


Anne Candido is the Founder of Go for 2, a communications consultancy focused on helping brands grow by cultivating brand love.  Contact her through her website: WWW.ANNECANDIDO.COM or email: ANNE@ANNECANDIDO.COM

Anne Candido