In the weeks that have passed since Nike unveiled their politically-relevant campaign featuring NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, figures everywhere have fought over each other to voice their opinions. But one thing that they – and the world – can agree on is that the campaign has earned Nike a tremendous amount of free publicity.
Erich Joachimsthaler considers Nike’s move to be just one noteworthy instance in a greater shift, wherein brand-building increasingly relies upon meaningful interactions. Nike’s move is borne of necessity more than anything; the traditional branding model, which emphasizes image, just isn’t paying the dividends it used to.
For 45 years, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy have perfected a model of advertising focused on identifying deep consumer truths, connecting them to their brand, and translating them to messaging. But as Erich writes, we are in an era that demands more from brands. All brands must build direct relationships with consumers in order to accurately personalize communication, gain real-time feedback, and drive sales. And Nike found that their direct business was growing at a much faster rate than their traditional wholesale.
Nike’s Kaepernick campaign is the product of a new approach, which employs data, analytics, and technology to strike a national conversation and stage the brand firmly within it.
This new approach rewrites how brands connect and interact with consumers, and the Nike case illustrates four key imperatives. Brands must:
- Have a direct connection with consumers;
- Make consumers proactive contributors to value creation;
- Build interaction fields around the consumer; and
- Create powerful a composition to deliver connected commerce.
Erich believes the old model of branding is far from dead – brands must always know what they stand for. But as Nike shows, the level of value, connection, and importance to consumers will continue to grow tremendously.
This article was originally published on Advertising Week here.