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Ekin: Nike Brand Evangelists

Buried in this article about Nike’s digital strategy is an interesting tidbit about the company’s culture:

Ekins are official company storytellers employed to evangelise about the Nike brand and its sports technology. Before being unleashed on the world, Ekins are required to undergo an almost military-like training regime comprising a nine-day rookie camp at Nike’s headquarters in Oregon and a full day’s running at the Hayward field track where Bill Bowerman worked as a track coach. Almost unbelievably, as a further sign of their devotion to the brand, each Ekin is then invited to have the Nike ‘swoosh’ tattooed on their ankle ahead of their ‘graduation’.

I’m pretty fascinated by the ways different companies ensure their culture is passed on. It seems to be a pretty central part of the long-term success of an organization.

August 19, 2009


  • Jared Gruner says:

    There was a time with this kind of thing would’ve sounded suspicious and been deemed “guerilla”.

    Today, I find that more and more people, tastemakers especially, are actually impressed by this sort of thing because it shows Nike’s devotion to their craft — a devotion and focus that is noticeably lacking from most companies today.

  • Anjali Ramachandran says:

    I was an Ekin with Nike at the beginning of my career so I can vouch for the fact that yes, they are very committed to sports and to ensuring that everyone who works there has a passion for the brand. It’s very authentic – you really believe in sports and the good that it can bring to a person, and I guess that commitment is something that not many brands have. Full marks to them. But then I’m biased :)

  • Michal Migurski says:

    I can’t help but think of the declining loyalty that companies have for their employees, and the greater job mobility people enjoy. In that context, getting a tattoo for a job seems completely insane. Which I suppose is the point… after all it’s just a tattoo, rather than the very real lifelong devotion of the salaryman. Anjali, are you still with Nike?

  • Anjali Ramachandran says:

    Michal – in Nike’s case, they definitely want to keep their employees, a large reason for which is the amount they invest in training them. The tattoo bit is a recent phenomenon, I didn’t get one. Most Nike employees don’t really want to leave the company because they get a lot of benefits. Nope, not with them any longer, had to move countries for personal reasons. :)

  • Angel Mike Burdier says:

    I want to be a part of ekin!

  • Morgan Kerrn says:

    I need to find nike elite socks in purple !

  • Derex Tejeda says:

    I think that Nike should stop making shoes considering that I’m wearing Nikes, they’re totally worn out and I bought them a week ago, so Nike stop selling dumb ass shit and start makin Adidas products.

    – Derex Out Bitches !!!

  • selen reyxan says:


  • ボッテガヴェネタ ブレスレット says:

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So nice to search out somebody with some original ideas on this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this website is one thing that is wanted on the web, someone with just a little originality. helpful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

  • Janet Makonda says:

    Anjali Ramachandran, can you suggest how one can aspire to be an ekin?

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