You have probably worn a Nike shoe before or known someone who would die just to get a Nike branded apparel(I would). The brand has done a pretty good job at marketing it’s merchandise in every country in the world be it Kenya or South America, the brand is widely known for its durable shoes. This popularity can be attributed to some of the agencies which have been managing Nike’s global marketing efforts. Wieden+Kennedy is the Agency which currently handles their marketing campaigns, W+K is an agency which has been developing, throughout its 36 years, world-class strong and inspiring communication for brands with Nike being one of their founding brands. With this kind of brand recognition and popularity, Nike’s revenue has continued to soar year on year as clearly shown in this graph:-
Nike’s Online presence
The brand takes digital media seriously since it gets a good chunk of it’s revenue from various e-commerce platforms and social media as well.As of 2017 earnings, Nike Inc. continued its big growth curve on the web. The footwear giant says it reached $2 billion in annual online sales in its most recent fiscal year, or 30% more than the year prior and double the amount of two years ago. According to Digitalcommerce, Nike executives also provided more detail on a program it recently launched quietly to sell its products via Amazon.com Inc.’s marketplace, although the retailer did not provide specifics in terms of results.
To reach its goal of $7 billion in online sales by 2020, Nike is working on several companywide initiatives in Nike stores, via its mobile apps and through other channels to reach consumers with its products in a more direct and personalized way. The brand is focused, for example, on building customer retention through personalized features of its mobile apps, increasing membership to its Nike+ loyalty program (most of whom interact with Nike via its mobile apps), and providing those members with perks that keep them coming back to purchase Nike products from Nike directly.
Nike also is working with Instagram to allow users to purchase Nike products directly through the Instagram app.
Nike executives say the brand is focused on digital initiatives because when it serves its customers directly, as opposed to the wholesale model in which it sells products to a reseller like Macy’s Inc. (No. 6 in the Top 500) or Foot Locker Inc. (No. 53), these sales are more profitable.
(I think it’s time Africa brands seriously explored the potential of using digital platforms to drive their future revenues)
Past Backlash from Social Media
Big conglomerates like Nike that have amassed massive revenues are obviously subject to criticism especially from those folks whom capitalism is not their cup of tea.Nike has had some serious backlash about it’s products in the past from the online community.Withthe most recent being the one the brand got last year following the ad it did with Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 decided not to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice, becoming the face of Nike marketing sparked some backlash from consumers on social media. #NikeBoycott trended on Twitter, with some people saying they were going to burn their Nike sneakers. This subsequently led to the share price drop for Nike.
As if that’s not enough, the Internet was at it again in 2019 when people went online to protest one of Nike’s designs which wasoffensive to the Muslim community because it resembles the word “Allah” in Arabic. The petition, which has more than 22,000 signatures, was created by Saiqa Noreen who referred to a similar instance in 1997 when Nike recalled a shoe which also was said to resemble the word “Allah”.
The basketball game
According to an article written onForbes by Lee Igel, Fans and industry competitors on social media took to knocking the global athletic footwear and apparel company during a primetime NCAA men’s basketball matchup between Duke University and the University of North Carolina earlier this week. The barbs started less than one minute into the game, when Duke freshman Zion Williamson—the probable top pick in this year’s NBA draft—went down with an injury after the left side of a pair of Nike high-tops he was wearing suddenly split open in the middle of play. The heckling aimed Nike and its products continued as Williamson sat out the remainder of the game with what Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski later described as a “mild knee sprain.”
Former president Barrack Obama was also in the game(This guy loves basketball to death⛹🏾♂️), as Williamson’s shoe burst open, he caused the 44th president of the United States to promptly exclaim“his shoe broke!”which was picked up perfectly by cameras.
The former president took on
Nike’s (NKE) stock was down more than 1% on Thursday, Analysts attributed the stock move to Williamson ordeal with the Nike shoe at the basketball court. Still, analysts don’t predict the Williamson incident to damage Nike’s reputation in the long run.
Crisis Control with Social Media
Incidences like this are what has caused most big brands to take social media in-house with consultancy from ad-hoc agencies. This enables the internal team to quickly respond to comments without waiting for an agency to do it for them. As Marketingweek reported , Nike took management of its social media marketing in-house and away from its digital advertising agencies in an effort to get closer to its fans and gain a deeper understanding of what drives their purchase motives. The company’s internal social media teams will now manage all online communities from its Portland, Oregon headquarters after previously outsourcing the responsibility to agencies such as AKQA, Wieden & Kennedy, Mindshare and R/GA. s.
Digital marketing experts observe that the role of agencies in managing social media is changing as marketers become more comfortable with developing their own strategies. Nike is putting more marketing muscle behind its digital initiatives to handle issues such as crisis control, claiming that online channels are more valuable to its business strategy than traditional advertising.
Whether your brand uses social media to do “torn-shoe” crisis control or build a loyal audience base for your products/services, it is and will remain to be a force to reckon with for the next decade as brands shift their dollars to more of these platforms.
Featured image courtesy: Getty Images / Streeter Lecka (L); Getty Images / Johnny Louis (R)
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