#BrandTalkWithLamide: What I Would Do Differently If I Was Nike’s Marketing Manager
I have never in my over 25 years, owned a Nike piece but I have closely followed the brand form as far as I can remember, particularly for the brilliance they always bring to fore with their ads and campaigns.
My fascination with the company stems from how it has managed to evolve from being a sports line to one dictating lifestyle and fashion trends, even better than some mainstream fashion lines. Needless to say, Nike has made sports, an otherwise stressful and boring activity, look uber cool.
Unfortunately, this article really is not about how amazing they have been (I may write about that sometime soon) but the current brouhaha the brand is currently embroiled in and what could have been done to avoid it.
Just as a background, Nike in celebration of the 30th anniversary of its ‘Just Do It’ slogan signed up a number of popular sports stars including Serena Williams, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin and former American football quarterback, Colin Kaepernick whose inclusion has since sparked off debate across different quarters and far more devastating effects than I guess was expected, especially the fall of their shares on the stock market, according to CNBC.
Americans who were yet to forgive Kaepernick’s ‘disrespect’ for the national anthem two years ago blatantly refused Nike’s justification of his inclusion and started #BoycottNike and #NikeProtest campaigns across different social media platforms, a movement which in no time degenerated into people burning some of their Nike trainers and clothing.
Their grouse was with Nike for endorsing the 30-year-old who they believe shouldn’t be accorded such honour having ‘disrespected’ the US flag and the military. The US President, Donald Trump, unfortunately, shares same opinion and has strongly voiced it which has further strengthened the anti-Nike campaign.
As rightly pointed out by one of the commenters, Benjamin Allbright via his Twitter handle @AllbrightNFL, a multi-billion dollar company like Nike must have weighed the pros and cons before embarking on such benefit. While this may be true, I strongly feel Nike could have done a better job with this and should I have been Nike’s Brand Manager or a part of the marketing team, I would have done it differently.
The choice of Brand Ambassadors isn’t one to be made on the whiff. It requires intense scrutiny and must not be based on any form of emotional connection especially when the individual being considered has a well-publicised controversy.
Hence, I would have recommended that the brand looks past how Capaernick’s 2016 ‘stunt’ sells their narrative and gone ahead to conduct a very intense sentiment analysis to gauge what people think of him; of course this must be done independent of the brand in order to achieve the objective.
The result of this exercise would have done three key things which would have prevented this big mess they are right now in. The result would have informed them on whether or not Kapaernick is a good fit especially for a role as Brand Ambassadorship. The result would have helped them anticipate the reactions of the consumers and general public.
Lastly and more importantly, the result would have guided Nike on what strategy to employ to announce him.
The next few weeks promises to be the most eventful not only for the Nike brand but for the Marketing and Advertising industry globally and for the life of me, I can’t wait to see how things will turn out.