Helena Ferreira
Retail Director
Nike México

Employee Motivation Leads to Better Consumer Engagement

By Jan Hogewoning | Mon, 03/09/2020 - 07:06

Sports can be an empowerment tool and a way to boost confidence and overcome barriers, both athletically and socially, according to Helena Ferreira, Retail Director of Nike Mexico. “Even doing a little bit of exercise is already a significant achievement, especially in a country where obesity and child obesity are on the rise,” she says.

Sneaker culture is a multimillionaire industry and Ferreira says Mexico is an important country for this market. Within Nike’s global strategy, Mexico City is one of the 12 key cities in a league that includes New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Barcelona and Paris. The company is making significant investments in the country, including a distribution hub for online purchases that will open in mid-2020. “One of the reasons why Mexico is interesting is because people are hyperconnected, very up to date with the latest global trends and their purchasing power is increasing,” explains Ferreira. The country also has a globally recognized cultural heritage that attracts many artists. Just like Zara, Louis Vuitton and Carolina Herrera that sought inspiration in Mexico, the company launched the Día de los Muertos collection, which had massive success in and outside Mexico.

For the last years, Nike México has been analyzing the needs of the Mexican consumer. The main focus is on Mexico City, whose population is between 28 and 33 years old on average, according to INEGI, which is an attractive customer segment for the brand. However, Nike México is also targeted other groups, in particular women and children.

Nike’s focus is on selling sportswear, but the company also has a social role, which is on display in its social media campaigns to promote sports and exercise. “Our belief is that we can be a game changer in making the Mexican population more active,” Ferreira says. A clear example was 2018’s Juntas Imparables (Together Unstoppable) campaign. This appealed to women to get together, exercise and post their achievements on Nike’s website. The message was not just to do more sports but also to be stronger together. This year, the company is betting on the new Tiempo de Ser Héroes (Time to Be Heroes) campaign, which highlights inclusion. Regarding children, the company recently launched a program to train physical education teachers on how to teach sports in an enjoyable way. This was reinforced by a “Made to Play” initiative that focused on increasing the number of spaces where children can play in urban areas.

Ferreira believes that creating social engagement through the power of sport is important for the success of the company. Part of this is reflected in the goal to make Nike a place where employees do more than just generate sales. The company has a high rotation rate for internal employees, so they can continue experiencing new things and growing personally. There are several networks for employees, including one known as Community Network. This aims to motivate employees to do volunteer work for NGOs and community organizations. It rewards every hour of volunteer service with a US$10 donation to the employee’s account, who is then free to donate this to an organization. “Employee passion and engagement directly translate into better consumer engagement,” says Ferreira.

While Ferreira is excited about the Mexican market, she points at several challenges, one of which is having a good transportation network. With online sales, she says, speed really matters. Investment in a distribution center for online purchases in Mexico will reduce delivery times, as Mexican online purchases are still being shipped from Europe. Another advantage of localization is the ability to better customize products according to Mexican preferences. This, however, is not enough for Ferreira. The company wants to fully blur the line between the physical and digital experience. “The idea is to allow the customer to navigate without distinction between the digital and physical or monobrand and multibrand locations we have or where we are present,” she says.

Photo by:   MBP
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst