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Nike: Tiptoeing into the Metaverse


In January 2022, Nike's chief digital information officer, Ratnakar Lavu, was planning the year's digital strategy for Nike. The leadership team at Nike had requested a presentation regarding company strategy in the rapidly evolving metaverse. Nike had already made several forays into the metaverse and related digital products. These included an in-game collaboration with the online video game Fortnite, trademarked blockchain-based digital sneakers called CryptoKicks, a virtual 3-D showroom called Nikeland in the Roblox environment, trademark applications related to the creation and sales of virtual sneakers and apparel, and the acquisition of RTFKT, a creative company that made digital sneakers and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for the metaverse.

Nike's leadership team wanted to move aggressively into the metaverse, in keeping with the company's reputation for pioneering design and innovative marketing. However, the leadership team wanted evidence that Nike's digital team was placing the right bets at the right time in a very dynamic and confusing space. To prepare his digital strategy, Lavu needed to assess the experiments that Nike was participating in, evaluate trends in the evolution of the metaverse, and benchmark the strategic moves of competitors such as Adidas. It was time to take stock of the various experiments that Nike had conducted between 2019 and 2021, so the company could chart a more strategic and cohesive path forward. Lavu and his team would have to tread the narrow path between being carried away by the hype and getting left behind by competitors in the brave new world of the metaverse.




Mohanbir Sawhney, Pallavi Goodman

Date Published





Sawhney, Mohanbir, and Pallavi Goodman. Nike: Tiptoeing into the Metaverse. Case 5-122-004.


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