NY Branding Expert Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group was recently on Fox Business discussing the Nike Betsy Ross Flag Controversy. Click here to watch the full segment.
In a hyper-politicized environment, should brands take a stance?
How is it that these sneakers could have gotten shipped to retailers without anyone internally from Nikes marketing and communication team seeing an issue with this?
If using this flag was as insensitive as Colin Kaepernick states that it is, what does it say about Nike’s C Level leadership team (and CMO!) that not a single person there noticed anything wrong with it?
Is Nike’s branding team that out of touch with their audience?
Did Nike fail to do any market research?
Did Nike’s marketing or internal com team raise any red flags?
Or are they solely relying on an outside brand ambassador to run marketing for a global brand.
Why Nike’s Marketing Strategy is not brilliant
Brands take calculated risks when it comes to politics.
Yet, in a hyper-political world, brands such as Nike seem to be doing the opposite, even if it means potentially offending half of your potential consumer base.
Nike has chosen to align with identity-driven causes that are controversial.
While this is in unity with what their target audience is looking for, what about other possible growth sectors?
Nike is legally responsible to shareholders to make profitable decisions.
So where does taking a stance on cause-marketing come into play, and what if these decisions hurt profits?
Should Nike put culture politics above market wisdom of a billion dollar corporation?
What brands can learn from Nike
If you want to align your brand with America’s Culture War and political correctness, expect backlash on social media (and beyond!).
Understand that Political Correctness can cost your corporation.
Short-term profitability or spikes in the market do not necessarily show long-term damage from brand equity or how the brand is perceived. A great example of this is when the Arizona Governor nixed tax incentives for Nike as a result of this recent marketing stunt for political correctness.