My Facebook feed has been overrun with the latest business to take a stand on their beliefs and the cries for a boycott have begun.

If you haven’t been paying attention, then let me give you the lowdown.

Nike has decided to feature Colin Kaepernick in their 30th anniversary ad campaign. The main image causing much of this stir is the one below. It is also quite notable that they did this only four days before the start of the 2018/2019 NFL season.

Kaepernick tweet

Image from Colin’s Twitter Feed

If you are unfamiliar with Nike – or only know them as that shoe brand with the swoosh, then this would seem rather surprising to you. And the comments I have heard (or seen rather) go right to the Trump propaganda machine that kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful.

(**If you are unfamiliar with the purpose of the NFL players peaceful protest then please see this video from current Texas Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke who explains what they are protesting and his thoughts. I happen to agree with him, but that’s another blog for another time.)

There is a point to this rambling…stay with me here.

There is a book by the founder of Nike called Shoe Dog. If you have never read it, then I suggest if you are upset or confused by their move, that you do so. I have read it, so let me say this – this is NOT surprising in the least. Nike has been built on their athletes and they have a devout loyalty to them because in the beginning their athletes were the reason their brand blew up the way it did. Without their athletes they would be nothing. So standing behind them? Not shocking.

There is an old rule of thumb in marketing – no publicity is bad publicity.

The rules haven’t really changed much with attraction marketing. If anything, it has actually proven that ALL publicity is excellent for brand awareness. Nike is seen everywhere, on every NFL jersey, in basketball, on the feet of everyday people walking the streets, but when was the last time you really had a discussion about them?

My guess is today…or maybe yesterday.

In social media this can easily be converted into some social listening, finding your most loyal supporters – those that think the way your brand does. If your brand is struggling to find a foothold on social media, I will always suggest bucking the norms and posting something a little bit more controversial.

Yes. You will get some flack for it, but on the flip side, you will get noticed, your VW-082018-01engagement will increase and you can be more real with your brand.

Almost all of my brands tell me to stay away from religion and politics on their social media and so we respectfully do so. But I have a challenge for those that are trying to find their voice – your beliefs are your beliefs, whether everyone believes the same or not, and your customer is not everyone’s customer, a bit of authenticity and real truth is a refreshing thing today.

(Caveat – PLEASE be respectful of everyone and be kind. Anonymity does not give us a blank check to be cruel human beings.)

Now don’t go posting something controversial just because…actually, go for it. It’s a great test if you want to see how far you can get in the fire.

Happy marketing my friends and please leave a comment below or get in the discussion by requesting to join my new Facebook group – Embracing the Power of Social Media Marketing.