Do It Like Nike: Let The Print T-Shirt Do the Branding

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There’s nothing like learning from the Masters and in the Sports Industry Nike leads the race. “Nike’s lead in the two-horse global athletic apparel race just got bigger” says Matthew Kish, Staff reporter from the Portland Business Journal. Kish is referring to sales reports from 2013 that show Adidas’ sales went down an 8% in Western Europe, while Nike’s grew by 11% in the same region.

What Nike Does Right 

Certainly Nike must be doing several things right, but we thought of focusing in one of them. Chances are you have seen one or two of those cool sports shirts with inspirational quotes. The brand is well known for its catchy slogans on sports apparel, which is not only good as stand-alone designs but also turn Nike users into walking billboards. From the fonts, to the designs and clever phrases, Nike t-shirts are highly recognizable.

We decided to browse through Nike’s Online Store to learn what they’re doing right in wearable branding. Here’s what we found:

  • They offer t-shirts for a wide range of sports, so fans from different disciplines can find something for their specific needs.
  • The slogan t-shirts are current and easy to understand by their target market. (Hashtag this is a great example!)
  • The design and styling is consistent and easy to recognize as Nike’s.
  • They have local custom t-shirts for specific sport teams or events.
  • The slogans are motivational and encourage consumers to become better at their sport.
  • Motivational Messages Encourage Brand Advocacy

The t-shirt branding strategy is not exclusive to sports. In fact, printing t-shirts is an affordable advertising strategy for your business. Giving your customers an attractive product they can wear means potential brand exposure. Designing an eye-catching product that can be worn over and over again for years is definitely not a bad investment.

You can create promotional t-shirts for your business and include them as a gift for a minimum purchase. They can also be given away as freebies on exhibitions you take part of or sponsor. If the t-shirt looks cool enough you can even make a contest with it as the prize. (Or just check out our 10 Ways to Use Custom Printed T-Shirts to Promote Your Business)

Now You Do It! Create your own t-shirts – mix it up, pump it up and add your own flavor.

Let’s say you have an Arts & Craft store, use some of these mad libs as examples:

Craft  Therefore I am.

Arts & Crafts FTW

Mix your phrases with some images to spice your design up!


Here are a few things you should have in mind before planning your business’ customized t-shirt strategy:

  • Make the messages consistent and relatable to your brand, otherwise people won’t remember your business through it.
  • Print your designs on quality t-shirts to make sure people will actually wear them.
  • Know your target market and design for them, think of what they would wear.
  • Remember to order different sizes.
  • Don’t forget to include your business logo, URL or Twitter handle (they’re easier to follow/locate).

Have fun and express your brand identity through the t-shirts, that way it’ll be more likely for your customers to proudly wear them.

Feel free to let us know if you have any other custom printing products ideas to promote anyone’s business. Go to our comment section below and tell us what you think, we always appreciate it!

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