Is this ‘True’ Corporate Responsibility, Nike?

FacebookLinkedInTwitter

BeTrueNike1Nike’s (NYSE: NKE) 2008 “Be True” campaign, showcasing local designers with an urban aesthetic is a new take on the brand’s “Dunk” campaign – part of Nike’s effort to lure and retain an audience that demands increasing authenticity from the brands with which it chooses to truck. The Be True campaign’s informal design grid and individualized graphic narratives create a pastiche that feels original and spot-on for the capricious millennial crowd. The campaign website provides a broad, all-encompassing look at product and design, while a four-part series of magazines dropped on street corners surrounding college campuses makes up a guerilla street marketing approach. While we were initially moved by of Nike’s “Be True” magazine campaign, upon reflection, we’re not sure it’s quite so true at all. While the brilliant design execution demonstrates that Nike’s firmly in touch with the Dunk’s roots (whether real or imagined), some of the implementation seems a little too old-school.

How many trees does it take to create all these copies of the 11×17 “Be True” magazine? Who’s left to deal with the leave-behinds? And does “Be True” belie Nike’s recurring challenges and criticism across its global manufacturing reach? Recently, Hannah Jones, Nike’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, defended breaches of Nike’s Code of Conduct at the Malaysian Hytex factory only after “…an investigation revealed workers living in substandard housing and wages being garnished.” Does “Be True” really reflect Nike’s roots, or is another flex of the brand’s marketing muscle? Our belief is that while customers may embrace this campaign, they’ll do it while demanding more accountability – and more truth – from the corporation.

Now It’s Your Turn
FacebookLinkedInTwitter
Show all responses
  • Dan Harris
    Dec 1, 2008

    You asked for my thoughts on your post to-be-true. So here you go. Nike has a brand culture that has millions of stories circulating in market. This “Be True” campaign screams “Loyalty”. They want current, and former customers to come home to the brand. They are trying to appeal to prospects and current customers with a campaign that tells a story. That’s what brand is all about. The tactics they are using based on what you’ve presented are a bit outdated. Print and websites fine, but Nike needs to reach out to influencers in the market, tell thier story via blogs, video, voice, and get the word out via shortcode campaigns and promotions that take what they have printed and send them globally via viral methods. Instead of sending out magazines that go to waste and are expensive to print and waste paper, send out a dozen of the newest shoes to the influencers on campus and have them talk about them, write about them, show them off. Word of mouth is very powerful. As far as the crisis managment overseas with labor laws, I believe Nike has been proactive, continues to communicate it’s efforts and based on my limited research has not neglected thier corporate responsibility. They seem to have embraced the idea that Nike can be an agent of change in helping those employed by overseas manufactuers. The only thing they could do is bring those jobs back to the U.S. and help our people in our hour of need.

    I appreciate the forum.

    Dan Harris
    http://www.danonit.com

  • BrandCultureTalk Blog
    Dec 11, 2008

    Thanks for the comment Dan. Good food for thought. Welcome to BrandCultureTalk!

2 Trackbacks

Corporate Culture
Remote Working as a Cultural Phenomenon

Remote working is now an established cultural phenomenon. From a societal and organizational point of view, a successful remote working policy must be a cultural imperative at an organization, with an intentionality behind it that strives to mitigate factors that weaken remote-worker success, such as poor communication, a sense of detachment from the organization, inadequate […]

Learn More
Culture, Trends
Strategic Thinking at the Forefront of Smart Cities Dialogue in Atlanta

On May 7th and 8th, BrandCulture enjoyed joining the Georgia Technology Institute Smart Cities Dialogue held in Atlanta, GA. Hosts Debra Lam, Joseph Bankoff and Claire Angelle convened an exceptional and diverse group of government, industry and academic leaders for a series of insightful discussions centered on developing smarter communities that think critically about urban […]

Learn More
Corporate Culture
For Employee Onboarding There’s No Second Chance for Day One

Like it or not, humans are hardwired to draw conclusions from first impressions. How fast? Try 100 milliseconds—a tenth of one second. In personal and professional settings throughout the day, every day, people you meet for the first time are drawing conclusions about you—fairly or unfairly—in the blink of an eye. No wonder some rank […]

Learn More
Brand Strategy
Hannover Messe – Branding at the World’s Largest Industrial Conference

The  Hannover Messe conference in Germany is the world’s premier event dedicated to industrial products and services. Think Siemens and its transportation systems, larger-than-life robots, machines that make machines and industrial internet platforms. Some quick facts: the annual 5-day event is held in Hannover, Germany, with over 215,000 visitors and 6,000 exhibitors. Filling nearly 30 […]

Learn More

Ready to talk about how your brand and culture can do more for your business?

Let's talk
Let's talk