3 Things Every Brand Can Learn From Nike's Latest Campaign

Admit it, you felt something. 

As marketers, storytellers, and social media gurus alike, we’ve probably all formed an opinion on Nike’s latest advertising campaign. Hats off to Nike for providing some of the top 10 watercooler chat for 2018. 

The campaign features Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who two years ago took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. He’s been out of work ever since. 

But, Nike kept him on the payroll in the background - until now. Some people are praising the move, while others are saying it’s a fumble given some of the controversy Nike has had in the past.  

Whatever side of the fence you’re on, there’s some invaluable storytelling lessons every single brand can learn from Nike’s latest move - every single one. Regardless of size, age or category. Here’s our take on the top 3 storytelling outtakes:

1. Make people feel something.

There’s an all-time zinger of a quote from Maya Angelo that rings true here: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Our main job as storytellers is to make people feel something - and Nike did this in droves. We’re living in the most crowded marketplace that’s ever been, and the only way you’re going to resonate is to cut through with something honest. Be real, take a risk, and create stories that are going to make people feel something. Those are the ones that’ll get remembered. 


2. You’re never going to be universally popular. 

There’s no brand or human on earth that has universal popularity - and, you’d exhaust time and resource trying to gain favor with every single human everywhere.
Especially when it comes to storytelling. Because stories require a point of view. 
So, take a stance. Have a point of view. We live in one of the most exciting times in marketing, where consumers don’t only like you having a point of view - they demand it. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it - Simon Sinek has said it again and again. Sure, you’ll alienate some people. But the ones that are with you, will be absolute brand loyalists for a long time yet. Be brave, but use your audience data to know what the right risks are. 


3. With every Story, make sure it says something about what your brand stands for. 

This doesn’t have to be as highly produced and political as Nike’s example. It just means that you have to know why your brand or company exists, what it stands for, and tell stories that embody that. Red Bull doesn’t exist to sell energy drinks. They exist to energize the world. So why not tell a story about a human skydiving from outer space? 
If your university believes that the most growth comes from experiences outside the classroom, how do your stories reflect that? How are they reflecting those honest experiences, that growth? How does that make people feel? 

Every micro interaction with your brand makes up the tapestry of its story. So create content, brand stories, interactions that tell people who you are and what you stand for. Better yet, get your audience to help you tell those stories with you.