Philip Hampson Knight, is an American billionaire businessman. He is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., and was previously chairman and CEO of the company.
This is a quote, can not be applied in my opinion, to businesses in general. I personally do not agree with this quote, because it may have some value for big brands like Nike, but not for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Play by the rules, but be ferocious.– Phil Knight
Play by the rules, but be ferocious, is a clear insinuation that you should take down competition but in a legal way.
Apple had video ads Mac VS. PC, they were funny, legal, but the took aim at competing product. A big company like Apple or Nike can afford to be ferocious, small-businesses and entrepreneurs can’t. Why? Because the competition might hit back, and your effort might backfire.
Imagine: You launch an ad campaign interviewing dissatisfied customers of a competing restaurant – Genius idea right? Wrong! your competition can spread rumors about rats in your kitchen … Game Over!
Avoid being ferocious or aggressive towards competition, unless you are a big brand!