For the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, the sneaker brand made a risky move by taking a stance on a fraught cultural topic. Since then, Nike has faced some backlash by fans boycotting brand products, but these reactions represent only a fraction of Nike’s customer base.
More than 15 million Instagram posts currently carry the #JustDoIt hashtag and much of this User-Generated Content (UGC) can help Nike spur social media followers and comments, additional inquiries into the brand, store visits, and sales. Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook similarly feature positive #JustDoIt posts.
Nike is already a pioneer in the UGC space, having created a way for customers to submit brand photos through its PHOTOiD campaign in 2017, so the brand likely anticipated an increase in UGC for its latest campaign and fans have been primed to engage accordingly.
Through the PHOTOiD campaign, Nike curated and monetized images that included easily recognizable products that could be tagged for photo galleries.
The “Just Do It” campaign’s seismic cultural impact, combined with the brand’s huge marketing expenditures, means that there’s more potential for UGC this time around.
Brands looking for takeaways may get the most value from studying how UGC is leveraged in the weeks and months ahead. Although early media headlines have focused on upset customers taking to social media to air grievances, scores of fans have created positive, campaign-reinforcing social media posts that can be repurposed by the brand in productive ways.
The popularity of the campaign is clear from the fact that brand sales have risen risen 31% since billboards and television commercials featuring Colin Kaepernick and other athletes were released over Labor Day weekend, Nike’s stock has since reached an all-time high, and marketers have called the campaign a “stroke of genius.”
Many Nike customers have shown off new purchases to demonstrate brand loyalty and express approval for the company’s political stance. Others are channeling the campaign’s spirit of “Just Do It” dedication by posting photos of themselves working out in Nike gear and yet others are parodying the ad in ways that increase its cultural relevance and staying power.
There are a few steps that Nike can take to get the most out of this campaign’s UGC that other brands can emulate in future efforts.
Similar to its PHOTOiD campaign, Nike can browse through relevant UGC and then feature top photos on product pages associated with the campaign. Companies like Pixlee can improve the efficiency and outcome of such efforts.
The sports apparel brand can also leverage these photos directly on social media platforms. On Instagram, for instance, repurposed UGC can include links to product pages, and Facebook photo galleries can lead potential customers to dedicated website pages.
Recent research has shown that a customer who engages with UGC is more than twice as likely to make a purchase than their peers.
After Nike finds the right mix of techniques and platforms for displaying UGC, it can begin to analyze the results, make improvements, and extend the campaign’s longevity in a cost-effective manner.
Nike’s campaign is unique in the scale of its impact, but its lessons can be applied to brands of all sizes. Whenever a campaign is launched, the potential for customer engagement is increased and the ensuing opportunities can be successfully managed with the right approach.
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