Athletes are known for making major money from their lucrative contracts with the NBA. But those who make a fortune are the ones who get endorsement deals and expand their brands. Long after they walk off the court, royalties and wealth are still rolling in. While at the park I did a little marketing research and found that 15 out of 20 children had on a pair of Jordans. Then I thought, what makes a person get up at the crack of dawn to stand on line for a pair of kicks. It's to the point where a ticketing system has been created for the "beloved" footwear. It makes you wonder what are Nike and MJ really selling in those orange, black, and sometimes silver shoe boxes.
The coolest thing about ideation or the creation of products, services, or brands is that a team can package a person or idea into a computer (sophisticated and crisp technology - Apple), a meal (happiness - McDonalds), or in this case - a sneaker. Originally, wearing a pair of Air Jordan's meant you represented an amazing athelete with skill and ability that was unmatched. Someone who was arguably the greatest of all time. As long as Jordan was good on the court he could continue to sale shoes. I'm sure the design makes a difference but the heart of the matter is that Michael Jordan himself became a part of everyone who purchased a pair of J's.
Set the Standard
I heard Ash Cash, finance expert and motivational speaker, say "everyone wants to be last at being first." Charting unfamiliar territory can be a scary thing but as an entrepreneur being first gives you the ability of setting a standard in your market. Micheal Jordan set a standard in the basketball arena hence I want to be like Mike. He became the one others aspired to be. So if you are in the arts, media or entertainment (and any other arena for that matter) create what comes genuinely from the heart even if no one else is doing it; that will be what attracts people. Your differences will automatically set you apart from the rest.
Although The Jordan brand, a division of Nike, has been out for nearly 30 years with over 1 billion dollars in revenue, there is this sense of exclusivity. This exclusivity has been created by avid fans and shoe buyers. They, themselves have created a club out of something as simple as a shoe. Air Jordan's have made up 10.8 percent of the total US shoe market; 3 out of 4 athletic sneakers sold; and roughly 5% of Nikes total revenue. Whether a retro release or a recreation with another color scheme, J's don't seem to be slowing down with the new generation.
So how can you be like Mike and make $90 million in one year off of a simple product like basketball shoes? Be the best at what you do and set a standard of excellence, which breeds a tribe of people who believe in and want to connect with who you are and what you stand for. It's that simple...Just do it.
Read How Michael Jordan Made 90 Million in 2013 on Forbes.com