Who sells more golf clubs… Nike or Adidas?

Last Friday, we shared a survey on our Facebook page asking you, “Which golf company has the highest yearly revenues?”

The options were the following:

  • Nike
  • Puma
  • Adidas
  • Callaway
  • Titleist
  • Cobra

We got 83 responses and here are those answers broken out for you.

While two people did give the correct answer of Adidas, another 81 hooked it into the pond.

It comes as a surprise to many that Adidas is a powerhouse in the golf industry.

Yes, this was somewhat a trick question.

As you can see, Adidas was the option given on the quiz even though Taylor Made is the recognizable golf brand that Adidas owns.

Taylor Made has been around since 1979 and was acquired in 1997 by Adidas.

While they knew the value to the Adidas brand by acquiring Taylor Made, Adidas made a very smart move in not changing the name of the company.

While Adidas might mean something in the foot apparel world, it means very little in the golf industry. They piggybacked off of the equity already created in the Taylor Made name and only strengthened it when Taylor Made (well, Adidas) had the number one selling driver in 2005.

A different approach

Nike has attempted to enter the golf market on the laurels of it’s “house” name.

They’re guilty of something called the line extension trap. This happens when a company uses it’s house name to be the brandname for a new line of products or services.

Nike is synonymous with sports apparel and, most specifically, basketball sneakers (thank you, MJ). Golfers might buy Nike socks, but when it comes to golf clubs, Nike isn’t on the top two rungs of the ladder.

What do we mean by rungs? Well, it has to do with a marketing concept known as positioning, and we’ve made an 89 second video to further explain this concept made famous by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

What is the main marketing lesson from all of this?

Well, there are two, really.

  1. If you’re not on the top two rungs in your business category, you should consider creating a new position.
  2. If you’re considering expanding into new markets (or products), think about creating a new brand for that service.

One of the best examples of a large company creating new brands for its product lines is Proctor & Gamble. They own Bounty, Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Downy, Febreeze, Gillette, Olay, and Pampers, just to name a few.

If P&G didn’t create a separate brand for each product line, it would be much more difficult for them to own positions on the top rungs of all those ladders.

Would you really want to buy beauty products from the people who make diapers?

Positioning is all about occupying mental real estate in the minds of your consumers.


Link to book on Positioning
Information provided on history of Taylor Made