Nike’s Emotional Connection

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Nike’s Emotional Connection

A 7 minute read.

It is debatable as to whether or not Nike actually knew what they were doing when they did it. The ‘Just Do It’ campaign took the company from a USA sport shoe market share of 18% to just under 50% over a 10-year period. A 3% market gain every year for 10 straight years.

Here is a good quote from the Harvard Business Review which did a study on the subject of business development (in 2016, some 36 years after Nike began to make it work in 1980) ref :

Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level – tapping into their fundamental motivations and fulfilling their deep, often unspoken emotional needs

Apparently, as humans, we’re slow to get our mind around this subject. Harvard’s study documents how most companies still do not employ this incredibly successful marketing strategy with a proven and well-documented history. “Ouch!” Don’t feel bad if it seems a bit hazy to you.

Applying ‘Just Do It’ To Social Media

How ‘Just Do It’ works is easier to understand if you start with something less obscure. Let’s say you need a plumber for your home. Here’s the ‘linear’ progression of your ’emotional’ decision making process:

  1. Your family plumber gets the nod – so long as they are close enough and not a total loser.
  2. Next, your relative – with the same conditions.
  3. After family, you might choose a neighbor. Why? Because you share the same neighborhood so there’s a feeling of commonality and that breeds trust.
  4. Maybe before the neighbor you might have chosen a member of your church or other community group – for the same reasons.
  5. Now we begin to get more ethereal in our reasoning. Ever wonder why so many ‘home services’ companies have pictures of babies on their marketing images? Babies conjure up the trust emotion that’s embedded into parents – and parents are usually homeowners and homeowners are the ones who need plumbers.

‘Just Do It’ appeals to many people who want to stay or get into some kind of physical health through exercise – and those people buy sport shoes. It may not seem like much of a connection, but when a person is looking at a wall of sport shoes in the shoe store – it’s just enough. You don’t have to take my word for it, Nike proved it. 5 years into their ‘Just Do It’ campaign they had enough momentum to sign Michael Jordan.

Take a plumber example. They have a wall of competition too. Google and Bing maps list all the local plumbers in a row. How does a plumber make an ’emotional connection’ that will beat the image of a baby?

An ’emotional connection’ does not have to be about plumbing, water or even shoes. It is a feeling of commonality. A shared interest. A shared belief. ‘Just Do It’ is a generic statement that resonates with a certain (targeted) group of people. Nike made a pretty modest leap when they assumed that people into exercise would connect with their marketing phrase – and buy their exercise shoes.

New Opportunity That Requires No Faith

Social Media has opened the floodgates of ’emotional understanding’ as to what lies behind closed doors. Business owners of all types can now have an ’emotionally rich’ target environment for their products and services. You can now ‘connect’ with people over a shared passion and that ’emotional connection’ will be enough to tip the decision making process in your direction. How do you know there is a connection to be made? Watch how fast you get banned from a Facebook group if you break the topic thread by posting a business promotion! The more passionate the group the faster the ban time.

You may not have a plumber in your family or on your (offline) community block, but what if you have one in your (online) community that you love? Some could argue that the emotional connection established online could exceed that of a family member – it would depend on the level of passion in the (online) group. Due to historical success (Nike) and present day studies (Harvard Business Review [HBR]), it requires no faith to believe that an (online) connection via Social Media could be a positive catalyst to bring a decision making process towards you and your business.

The Online Roadblock

As the world’s largest social networking site, you can only imagine the abuse that Facebook must be trying to contain. In order to protect its members Facebook has instituted some measures like these:

  • Facebook makes it very tough to establish a second ‘business’ profile, they want your business to be a page ‘under’ your profile. This is designed to circumvent abuse through anonymity.
  • You cannot respond within Facebook groups as a business. Again, trying to stop random, fictitious identities which enables people to commit abusive conduct.

Unfortunately, these steps limit the ability of local business owners to connect socially within FB groups while subtly letting the members come to know your business.

Resistance to this type of connection also comes naturally, with no motivation by Facebook at all. Group admins and users alike do not like business postings on their group topic and are quick to ban people who make this infringement. Typically, acceptance of a ‘no business promotion’ code of conduct is a requirement in order to join the group.

To open the door for social networking to include a natural, graceful discovery of a person’s business in a manner similar to how it exists in the real world, these hurdles need to be overcome. Not just on Facebook. These hurdles exist on every social networking site.

The Less-Expensive Advertising Budget

First, it is important to say that one legitimate avenue of business promotion is to implement an effective advertising campaign targeted to your prospective customers. Facebook provides excellent tools in order to advertise your business, probably the best we have ever seen. It generates unsolicited posts – outside of groups – on FB profile news feeds based on your advertising criteria. Perfect. The high volume of impressions that can be aimed at your specific target audience will have the impact of raising an emotional connection through pure, repetitive exposure of your brand. This is how traditional advertising works in the real world too. The better you are at creating a feeling of emotional connectivity in your ad campaign the better your results will be – based on the same proven results mentioned earlier.

There is also a less-expensive and even more ’emotional’ method of making your business known to your target audience. Using the web tool built into all of our domains – like <a href=””></a> – you can share videos and images into your topical post and keep to the topic thread – just like normal. Even better than normal because you do not have to upload any content or share a link to someone else’s domain. Best of all, you can let our web tool do your business promotion for you. Your company name and phone are listed in the actual timeline where you made your socially poignant post. So the group will know about your feelings and passions – AND, they will know about your business even before they click on the link to your video or image.

If they click on your post, they will come to your landing page with us where every page header as well as the ‘Contact Us’ page itself will be all about your company. If anyone shares your post they will see the same. And even better than better but not quite best of all is that you can customize our site’s display of your company per social post that you create. You can even place special notices and offers ‘under-the-hood’ of each of your social posts where it can be found in the page header. All mobile friendly. Even text message friendly.

All your posts are saved for reuse, because some posts are pertinent to more than one group or hashtag. Just target a group or hashtag where you are comfortable to contribute and make the natural, authentic connection that lives inside you – and leave the business promotion details to us. And if a family member / employee / friend is willing to help then let them use your sub-account and let their interests ‘connect’ for your business as well.

With all that, the only real question left is probably ‘how easy is it to do’? Extremely. We know that to win a business mind over you have to address the time spent – because you are calculating the cost per second (aren’t you?).

These features are implemented on all social networking sites. You can even get benefits on the social micro blog of Twitter, because nobody wants to see a business promo on a hashtag either – some of those are critical in nature (fire, storms) and that’s no place to be sending a selfie.

It’s all good. See these links below for more information, in both blog and video format.

More Info

Solving Facebook and Twitters Biggest Problem : A 6-minute read.

Marketing an ‘Emotional Connection’ On Social Media : 1:30 minute video

How To Create Social Messages and Offers : 18 minute video

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