No one does brand building better than Nike Inc. The company is universally looked up to as being one of the best marketers in the world. Its “Just Do It” tagline is iconic and its logo is one of the most recognizable globally. More recently, Nike put out a short video highlighting its stand on the George Floyd issue. The video, titled “Don’t Do It”, plays on Nike’s original tagline and voices support for bringing about change in matters related to racial justice.
Many companies and institutions have been under pressure during the last few days to speak out and take a stand. Well-known brands like Amazon, Google, and Facebook have all joined the chorus and condemned the recent incidents. However, an interesting development has been a rise in the Nike stock price following the release of the video on Nike’s social media accounts. Nike closed at $99.54 on 1st June 2020, up 1% for the day.
According to Americus Reed, marketing professor at Wharton, “The younger consumer is already thinking about ‘What do you stand for?” He believed that Nike’s stock price may have risen because people interpreted Nike’s actions as a decision to not simply stand on the sidelines of the racism issue and a demonstration of its beliefs.
Other observers felt that many of the looting videos show Nike shoes and other Nike products being stolen. That was a sign of the demand for the company’s products and the strength of its brand. In a way, it was free publicity.
This isn’t the first time when Nike has turned controversy into an opportunity. Back in 2018, the company signed up Colin Kaepernick who received plenty of bad press for kneeling down during the US national anthem as a mark of protest against police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Nike stock price had risen even then as fears over a consumer boycott were dispelled.