What happens when brands take a stand?

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Marketing trends follow the steps that society takes. Gender equality along with women’s empowerment have been a huge buzz in recent years. It is clear that brands are using the influence of these issues to reach out to their audience. But is this a good strategy?

“Any brand making an authentic commitment to a purpose should absolutely expect to hear from detractors” states Brett Zucker (2019, MarketingTech)[1]. It is inevitable for something that goes viral not to have some so-called “haters”, especially when it relates to value judgements. Nevertheless, appealing to emotions and associating brands to a social purpose have been proving to be rewarding techniques.

One of the latest ads that seems to have invaded social media is a perfect example of this phenomenon and it was released by a company which is already famous for its powerful commercials: Nike.

The video[2] exposes some of the blasphemies women were and still are subject to, not only in the sports’ world, but also in their everyday lives. Ninety seconds full of emotion that touches the soul of each viewer connect the customer to the brand.

The number of views on YouTube escalated expeditiously, reaching the 3.5 million views overnight, after it aired during the 2019 Academy Awards, more known as the Oscars.

The previous aspects meet some of the suggested trends of Digital Marketing in 2019. Proposed by Sandra Turch, brand humanization and video content are two of the most relevant tendencies for this year, both quite evident in Nike’s marketing strategy (2019, Marekteer)[3].

Nike tries to sell something that goes beyond physical products and going down to memory lane it is almost impossible to remember a single ad where the company is actually promoting them directly. This happens because their main focus is selling a lifestyle and transmitting inspiration to the public. Rosemary St. Clair, Vice-President and General Manager at Nike Women, refers to having everyone practicing sports as a dream and explains that “to support the dream we have to lead a conversation regarding a variety of desires and needs” (2019, Nike News) [4].

According to WARC, Nike is actually already part of the top 5 for both Top Brands[5] and Top Advertisers[6] in 2019. Hopefully, the company will continue to succeed, while encouraging and raising awareness amongst crowds.

So, it is safe to say that making a stand usually works in favour of the brand, as Nike has been continuously exhibiting. However, one crucial element to take into consideration when deciding to go for social purpose as a strategy is the importance of being consistent. In order to engage with consumers, brands need to show commitment to the cause so that the message delivered is regarded as authentic. [1]

Beatriz Silva

Communications Department & Project Member at NMC

2 March 2019







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