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Here’s why Nike’s Colin Kaepernick gamble wouldn’t work for Under Armour

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Two weeks after Nike’s campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick debuted, the company’s online sales had risen a whopping 31 percent and its stock had climbed more than 6 percent to an all-time high. With Kaepernick, Nike clearly tapped into something powerful—but it didn’t come without risk.

Immediately after the ad debuted, it was widely reported that Nike’s brand favorability was down, its stock price dipped, videos of people burning their Nike shoes went viral, and critics called for a wholesale boycott of the brand. So how did a gamble that violates the norms of branding and brand safety while creating a chorus of ardent critics ultimately lead to a wildly successful campaign?

In short, Nike found a way to connect with its customers on a visceral level. Its Kaepernick campaign went beyond shoes or clothing and instead tapped into the personal values that drive its customers in every aspect of their lives. That’s also why this gamble would have utterly failed for a brand like Under Armour, according to a recent Resonate analysis of personal customer values.

Given that Nike’s sales spike was reported in online sales, we focused our analysis on the values and drivers of the people who have shopped online with Nike in recent months. Our analysis applied the Theory of Basic Human Values, developed by Shalom H. Schwartz. The so-called Schwartz personal values represent the latest understanding of core human values and have been found to be not only cross-culturally stable but also highly predictive of purchasing behavior.

Take a look at the top four Schwartz values associated with Nike’s online customers, and consider the brilliance of the Nike campaign messaging that tapped into these values.

Influence: This value revolves around acquiring wealth and influence. These individuals are more like to desire the accumulation of wealth, and the status and power that comes from money and material possessions. For them, life is about money and social status.

  • “Don’t become the best basketball player on the planet. Be bigger than basketball.”

Creativity: This value focuses on the freedom to think up new ideas, be creative and develop new skills. These individuals strive to be more individualistic, adaptive and imaginative. For them, life is an exploration and learning about new ideas and being imaginative is important.

  • “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if you’re crazy enough.”

Achievement: This value revolves around the opportunity to show one’s abilities and to be admired for what one does. These individuals seek success and the admiration of others for being successful. For them, life is about getting ahead, “winning” and impressing others.

  • “Don’t try to be the fastest runner in your school or the fastest runner in the world. Be the fastest ever.”

Independence: This value is all about the freedom to determine one’s own actions. These individuals strive to be more self-directed, more self-reliant and more likely to seek solutions to problems themselves rather than depend on others. For them, life is a sequence of events that is primarily under their own control.

  • “Don’t believe you have to be like anybody…to be somebody.”

When comparing the description of each personal value to the messaging in Nike’s commercials, it’s easy to see how these four values displayed by Nike’s online shoppers line up with the values core to the Nike campaign. Nearly 94 million Americans have shopped for Nike products across all channels in the last six months, and about 150.5 million Americans identify with one or more of the four values listed above. That means that not only was Nike appealing to its base, but it was also deeply resonating with millions of other potential customers that share its brand’s values.

Here’s why the same campaign would have failed for Under Armour

The same personal values analysis of online Under Armour customers paints a completely different picture than Nike customers. Under Armour customers are much more likely to be driven by the personal value of reputation and social respect, suggesting these consumers would respond better to messages around being a good citizen and avoiding dishonor. Meanwhile, Under Armour’s offline customers care about tradition and doing things the way they’ve always been done. In fact, the only value shared by both Under Armour and Nike customers is that of achievement.

Without a doubt, Nike chose an incredibly polarizing figure in Colin Kaepernick, who has sparked both outrage and praise with his protests during the National Anthem. Even though the ad doesn’t endorse or even make mention of his protests or cause (as they are not the subject of the ad), Kaepernick — and thus his politics — are front and center. Given that Under Armour’s customers care deeply about preserving traditions and social respect, there is a clear clash between their values and what Kaepernick represents, which is further highlighted by his line, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

A lot has been written about how today’s consumers want brands to stand for more than a product. Nike knew it was creating an ad that would elicit strong emotional reactions by both supporters and detractors, but it clearly made the right bet. Nike forged a strong emotional bond both with existing customers and with Americans who share its brand values of influence, creativity, achievement and independence.

As shown in this analysis, brands that sell the same kinds of products often have customers who are driven by dramatically different values. That’s why it’s so important to have a deep understanding of what your customers care about before you make a bold move, as Nike did with Kaepernick. If Under Armour had made the same bet, the results would have been very different.

The post Here’s why Nike’s Colin Kaepernick gamble wouldn’t work for Under Armour appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Brand Positioning

WPP rebrands to reflect Read reinvention

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Holding company WPP has issued an all-encompassing rebrand to reflect the restructuring of the business which boasts more than 140,000 staff globally.

The rebrand was handled by Jim Prior, who leads the branding agency Superunion which was formed following a merger of five of WPP's top agencies this year, and Landor chief Jane Geraghty.

The new augmented look is designed to play in varying environments and colour palettes to show how the agency network can adapt to clients and industry challenges.

Prior said: “Our ambition was to present WPP with the same energy and creativity that we offer to our clients right across the company. There’s a lot of pride and ambition in WPP that is now united under a strong and dynamic brand identity.”

Geraghty added: “WPP has always been transformative – bringing together the best people and ideas to meet the needs of our clients. We now have an evolved brand and expression of purpose that better reflects who we are as a company, our collective capabilities, and what we offer.”

Accompanying the creative is a new website that looks to showcase the group’s digital expertise and offer up a hint of what it can provide for clients. It is describing itself as a "creative transformation" company.

On Tuesday 11 December, the company outlined its new strategy day at an investors event in London.

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Brand Positioning

Putting a price on reputation

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Consumers are willing to pay more for products that not only have the features they want but also are delivered by businesses with a good reputation, new research has found.

The study, by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), puts a price on reputation and explores the trade-off between a good reputation and extra product features.

It reveals that a company evaluated by consumers as better than its competitors in terms of corporate reputation commands around a 9% premium for its products, and an even higher premium when there are desirable extra features.

“The impact of corporate reputation on consumer choices is substantial compared to the competitive advantage offered by varying product features,” says study co-author, Associate Professor of Marketing Paul Burke, from UTS Business School.

“Marketing managers need to be concerned about corporate reputation not only because it builds loyalty and trust but also because product features appear more valuable, so consumers are willing to pay more,” he says.

The research, with co-authors Professor Grahame Dowling and Dr Edward Wei, published in the Journal of Marketing Management, focused on consumers in the market for televisions. The televisions were made by Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba.

Corporate reputation encompasses a range of dimensions including how people feel about the company, the quality and innovativeness of its products, its workplace environment and workforce, its vision and leadership, financial performance and social and environmental responsibility.

Conversely, brand damage occurs when companies become embroiled in scandals and crises such as financial corruption, leadership failure or environmental destruction.

In the study, participants were first asked to give an evaluation of the corporate reputation of each of the TV makers.

Separately, the were asked to choose between televisions based on fairly standard features such as warranty, price or size, and in addition by novel features such as backlight control or dynamic range control.

The research showed consumers were willing to pay extra for a product with important features and a good brand reputation, but less willing to pay a premium for products with novel features regardless of reputation.

For example, in the case of screen size, consumers were willing to pay $121 more for a television that was 55” over one that was 50”. This amount increased by a further 22% to $147 for a company that was one standard deviation higher on the corporate reputation measure.

“Corporate reputation is not something that can be readily controlled by marketing managers, but it is definitely something that should command their attention,” says Associate Professor Burke.

“Companies need to work hard to communicate that they are environmentally and socially responsible, support good causes, have a positive work environment, and excellent leadership and financial performance, and do their best to mitigate brand damage,” he says.

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Brand Positioning

State Street mulls siblings for Fearless Girl as it removes its brand from NYC statue

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State Street Global Advisors, the investment management firm behind the Cannes Lion-winning Fearless Girl, has hinted at plans to commission siblings for the original bronze statue for financial hubs outside New York City.

Lori Heinel, deputy global chief investment officer at the firm, told The Drum the company has “talked about whether to have replicas … of Fearless Girl” as it looks to expand its campaign, and is placing more women onto company boards globally.

“We've certainly been asked by many outside the US for their own Fearless Girl, and that's certainly a conversation we continue to have,” she said.

However, she added that State Street is focused on celebrating the original’s new, permanent location for now.

Today (10 December) State Street moved the bronze statue, originally at Bowling Green, to face the pedestrianized New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. The company worked with the City of New York and the NYSE to broker the statue's first permanent site; originally, it was only meant to be in situ for one week.

The move means the sculpture will no longer face the Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull – a stance the Italian artist vocally criticized – and will help alleviate traffic issues caused by heavy tourist footfall at the previous Lower Manhattan spot.

Ta-dah! pic.twitter.com/EvF53t6Bnb

— Katie Deighton (@DollyDeighton) December 10, 2018

Additionally, Kristen Visbal’s artwork is no longer accompanied by the plaque connecting her with State Street at the new location. A bronze sign previously declared: ‘Know the power of women in leadership/SHE makes a difference,’ followed by the State Street logo.

The copy was written by McCann New York creative Tali Gumbiner, who admitted she “never spent more time writing anything" in her life.

Heinel explained the decision not to move the plaque is symbolic of State Street gifting the conversation sparked by Fearless Girl to the wider world.

“The world moved the conversation [surrounding female leadership] away from just us a long time ago … it is way beyond State Street at this juncture,” she said.

“We wanted her to really symbolize the potential for all women everywhere and not be associated with just State Street. Clearly, we're very proud of the fact that we commissioned her and were the first to install her, but this is really about the girl now.”

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