When Nike chose Colin Kaepernick to be part of its marketing efforts, they took a risk. It was highly unpopular with a significant segment of the U.S. population, but not so much with Nike’s target consumers.
In fact, Thomson Reuters reports that Nike has sold 61% more stuff since the ad debuted. The social campaign drew a record number of likes and the company’s stock hit an all-time high in mid-September.
It turns out Nike knew its customers. More than half of all Americans say it is “never appropriate” to kneel during the national anthem, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. 63% of those over 50 agreed with the statement that it’s never appropriate. Only 38% of those under 30 agreed and those are the people buying Nike sneakers.
“Appealing to senior citizens is a good way to win an election, but it’s not a good way to sell most consumer products and services.” – Josh Barro in Business Insider
Josh Barro, writing in Business Insider, makes the case that more companies are taking a stand, and they are more likely to lean to the left politically in their attempts to woo younger consumers.
If you decide to take a stand with your product, whether it’s a popular social cause or a politically volatile one, know there’s a great deal of risk involved. A recent study done by Sprout Social showed exactly what happens if consumers agree with your stand on a social or political issue and conversely what happens when they disagree.
Some other key findings from Sprout Social’s survey show why brands are getting socially active more often:
- 66% of consumers say it is important for brands to take a public stand on social or political issues
- Brands won’t change people’s minds on an issue, but they can help affect change.
- 78% of those self-identifying as liberal want brands to take a stand. 52% of conservatives feel that way as well.
- Relevance is key. Brand are more credible when the issue directly relates to its customers.
- Risk vs Reward: 28% of customers will publicly praise a brand when the agree with the stand; only 20% will publicly criticize when they disagree.