Issue #195

Sent to members on September 13, 2018

Nike and that ad

So, last week, you probably saw people venting about the Nike ad. Yes, I’m talking about the ad with Colin Kaepernick.

Some people are praising Nike for their bravery and them taking a stand… while others are burning their shoes and making jokes.

Personally, I don’t really care. I’m out traveling the country and livin’ life. So, when I saw all the hub-bub about the ad, I was literally sitting there looking at the beautiful California mountains having a drink and, honestly, the whole uproar seemed colossally stupid to me. But, people gotta argue about something on social media. It’s the “in” thing, I guess. 😉

But, let’s look at it from a marketing standpoint. From a branding standpoint.

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Nike’s brand is about image. It is about a FEELING. It is why every ad they do doesn’t talk about shoes. Instead, it is about that mental image picture. It is about imagery and how it makes you FEEL. You then associate that with their brand.

Nike is brilliant with branding. And they’re brilliant when it comes to how they invest ad dollars.

For the people who are proponents of Kaepernick and the movement he triggered, they just became automatic fans of Nike. For the people who were angry about it, guess what they were doing? Talking about Nike!

I don’t care if they burn their shoes and post it on Facebook… it is still marketing for Nike.

The whole thing is just a brilliant viral marketing campaign by Nike by latching onto a hot button issue and taking a stand. Yes, it is virtue signaling. No, it has nothing to do with their products. But it is massive positioning and got people talking like crazy. Even freakin joke memes with “Just do it” all out there… all just promoting Nike’s brand.

Us vs them is a powerful form of marketing… used by politicians, religions, militaries, sports teams, companies, you name it. It mobilizes people into a group and it gives them an opponent.

It is one thing to stand for something. It is another (and often equally important) to stand against something. Make it clear what you’re not and what you don’t stand for. Unite your community and your branding around that message.

That’s what Nike did.

And whether you were praising Nike or complaining about Nike, what you said on social media about it was part of their plan. You became part of their marketing team. 🙂

What can you learn and apply from this in your own business?


What do you and your business stand for?

What do you stand against?

Maybe trying to steer clear of taking a stand about anything is a bad idea. Maybe avoiding it all out of a fear of alienating anybody is an old and outmoded idea.

It doesn’t mean you have to wade into politics with your business. But, within your field or your industry, surely there are ideas you stand for and those you do not. Let your people know.

– David

Tech Talk

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