Stop selling, start connecting

How does a brand simultaneously enrage some American consumers while driving an increase in sales among others? The answer isn’t a question of politics; it’s a matter of leveraging storytelling to drive authentic two-way conversations with your audience.

Nike excels at this. Featuring Colin Kaepernick in its recent ad campaign is arguably one of the most controversial marketing moves of the century. Social media users burned Nike gear. The President fired off angry Tweets. Nike’s stock fell, and then reached an all-time high. The campaign helped Nike achieve a 31 percent increase in online sales.

Know your brand, know your audience

Cynics argue that Nike looked at a politically divided world and sided with the largest market segment. But that overlooks the fundamental importance of knowing your brand’s values. If you can’t articulate what your brand stands for, how can you expect an audience to listen to your story? Nike has always been about the power of the individual and the power of will — Just do it! Nike distilled its brand essence and brought it to a different realm because it 1) understood itself and 2) understood its audience — not just demographics, but attitudes.

Find out how knowing and understanding your audience can help build authentic connections between brands and consumers, on The Drum.