In 2006 Nike launched Nike+, which kick-started a sports tracking movement. Since then, with apps and wearables, Nike has strived to get closer than ever to what our athletes need and want. But even with Nike+, Nike had yet to apply this data in order to offer truly personalized service.
Meanwhile, we were witnessing a significant audience migration away from public, social media-based conversations to the closed world of private messaging and ephemeral stories, vis a vis Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
So in 2016 we set out to give athletes truly personalized, one-to-one access to Nike. We wanted a platform that would enable athletes to get closer than ever to Nike, on their channels, on their terms.
The hardest thing for athletes is to stay focused and committed to their goals. So we created Nike On Demand: a human-driven 1:1 service on WhatsApp that keeps athletes engaged over the course of their training, adapting to their needs on the fly and connecting them with any part of Nike's vast ecosystem that would help them achieve their goals.
From a user's perspective, they simply message Nike on WhatsApp and then get help from an expert who gets to know them personally and who does everything in Nike's power to help them crush their goals: everything from setting up personal training with professional athletes to getting them in the backdoor of sold out Nike live events and experiences.
Nike On Demand is no stale, automated chat bot. It is real human interaction.
Because nothing changes people's behavior like other people.
An off-the-shelf platform to power our concept didn't exist so we developed a bespoke platform that blended back-end rerouting and a front-end tagging system and profiling interface that sat between the human operators and WhatsApp.
As users begin a conversation, we develop their unique profiles. This way, different experts can seamlessly pick up a conversation where another leaves off in order to deliver a personal, genuinely human experience and provide users with timely, individual nudges that genuinely change their behavior.
Twice a day, the operators cross-reference their messages with users' app activity data to determine which nudges saw the greatest behavior change. And the data gathered during service "office hours" is collected and analyzed twice daily, with teams in the US working though the European night hours to turn around actionable insights for the morning shift.
The user's qualitative messaging sentiment and quantitative activity data then formed the basis of bespoke training plans, with the experts in the command center tapping into the entire Nike ecosystem to serve up the right Nike services (e.g. a Nike Training Club class), experiences (e.g. a private training session with a pro athlete) and products (e.g. the right apparel or footwear).
Over 6 weeks, Nike On Demand enabled 240 athletes to take their game to the next level, exchanging over 22K messages and serving up pacers, trainers, run coaches, reminders, private classes, 1:1 sessions, training plans, playlists, app challenges, product trials, VIP bookings, coaching tips, and a whole heap of ass-kicking motivation.
Here's what users thought:
83% would recommend Nike On Demand to a friend.
81% would use the service again.
70% expect this type of service from Nike.
And here's what's next:
Nike are scaling this service across categories and regions, by blending machine learning with human responses, so we can serve more people, with more relevant ideas, based on smarter uses of athlete data.
Nike On Demand shows that the human touch is still crucial. As bots become more sophisticated, consumers still want to feel like they are talking to a real person.