Robert Strasser: The Man Who Saved Nike

Robert Strasser: The Man Who Saved Nike

Robert Strasser: The Man Who Saved Nike


Nike, one of the world's most iconic and successful sports brands, owes much of its triumph to the strategic thinking and vision of Robert Strasser. Often overlooked but not forgotten, #RobertStrasser played a pivotal role in rescuing Nike from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1970s. This blog pays homage to the man who saved Nike and revolutionized the sports apparel industry.

The Early Days

Robert Strasser, a former executive at Procter & Gamble, joined Nike in 1979 as Vice President of Marketing. At the time, Nike was struggling to compete with its rival, Adidas, and faced financial turmoil. Strasser's arrival marked a turning point for the company.

The Air Jordan Collaboration

One of Strasser's most significant contributions to Nike was his role in securing a collaboration with basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Strasser recognized the potential of partnering with Jordan and convinced Nike to create a signature shoe line: the Air Jordan. This groundbreaking partnership not only revived Nike's fortunes but also changed the dynamics of the sneaker industry forever.

Innovative Marketing Strategies

Under Strasser's guidance, Nike embraced innovative marketing strategies that set the brand apart from its competitors. He understood the power of endorsements and sponsorships, leading Nike to sign deals with high-profile athletes like Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, and Bo Jackson. These partnerships not only boosted Nike's reputation but also helped establish the brand's image as a leader in athletic performance.

Brand Building and Expansion

Strasser played a key role in transforming Nike from a niche running shoe company into a global sports powerhouse. He introduced the iconic "Just Do It" slogan, which became synonymous with Nike's brand identity and resonated with athletes and consumers alike. Strasser also focused on expanding Nike's product line beyond running shoes, introducing apparel and accessories that catered to a wide range of sports enthusiasts.

International Expansion:

Recognizing the potential for growth beyond the United States, Strasser spearheaded Nike's international expansion. He successfully positioned Nike as a global brand by establishing partnerships with athletes and teams from around the world. Strasser's efforts led to Nike's exponential growth in international markets, making it a truly global player in the sports industry.

Legacy and Impact

Robert Strasser's contributions to Nike cannot be overstated. His strategic thinking, marketing prowess, and ability to identify and leverage opportunities transformed Nike into a dominant force in the sports apparel industry. Strasser's legacy continues to inspire future generations of marketers and entrepreneurs, reminding us of the power of innovation, perseverance, and visionary leadership.


Nike's success story would not be complete without acknowledging the significant role played by Robert Strasser. His leadership and strategic decisions not only saved the company from bankruptcy but also positioned it as a global leader in the sports apparel industry. Strasser's impact on Nike's brand identity, marketing strategies, and international expansion continue to shape the company's success to this day. Robert Strasser will always be remembered as the man who saved Nike and revolutionized the way we perceive sports brands.