I’ve been a fairly active runner over the past 2 years and in that time the Nike Plus App for the 3GS iPhone allowed me to track and measure my efforts. For those not in the know, Nike plus operates with a chip placed in your running shoe (Nike have created their own line in running shoes where you can place the chip under the inner sole) and like a pedometer, calculates the number of steps the person has taken during a run.
After each run the user would upload their run onto the Nike plus social website, and measure their efforts against other runners. The Nike plus site was genuinely rich with content, allowing users to customise their workout, create new goals and challenges and finally broadcast their efforts via Twitter and Facebook.
The web site, and the app were all tied into the well established Nike brand and incredibly polished and well thought out it was too. So what went wrong?
A couple of weeks ago I went out for a run and found that the Nike plus chip in my shoe no longer synced with my iPhone. No problem I thought, the chip probably ran out juice so I bought a new one. But again the chip was having the same problem syncing with the iPhone.
After digging around I found the answer, with the roll out of OS 4.0 for the iPhone earlier in the summer of 2010 the Nike plus chip was having a hard time syncing. Some users were having to reset their iPhones to get it to sync and if it did manage to sync, would incorrectly measure the distance ran.
Usually in the case a brand is experiencing difficulties, the first positive step is to quickly mitigate any negative opinions on the web by recognising the fault and provide timely updates until the issue is resolved. But in this instance Nike took over a week to communicate back to it’s user base. A week’s a long time in the blogosphere.
But Nike are not the only guilty party in all this. Complicit in this big bowl of wrong was Apple itself. There has been no official communication between Nike and Apple as to when the situation will be resolved.
What’s compounded the situation is that the Nike plus app has been removed from iTunes Store with no official stance taken by either company. Having reset my iPhone the app has no been deleted with no means of getting it back until Nike and Apple make it available again on the iTunes Store.
Update: I plead ignorance here as apparently the app was built into the iPhone. As per bfd’s instructions below I was able to get the app to re-appear by going into the iphone settings and switching Nike plus on.
The lesson from all this is when a digital brand has been carefully nurtured and is based upon user interaction and feedback it’s imperative to listen and respond swiftly.
To make matters worse, Adidas have capitalised on this situation by releasing their own running app called miCoach. I’m going to give this new app a try and I’m sure I won’t be the only Nike plus user.
Update: Part 2 of my post can be found here