adversity

What We Can All Learn From Nike

Just Do It.

A slogan familiar to us all over the years has repositioned itself in the hearts of many Americans as of late. Earlier this week, Nike released a new ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of its famous three words in what some are considering the most controversial way possible. NFL player Colin Kaepernick is up close and personal with the masses in the new photo for the ad campaign, featuring a black and white headshot of Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” A powerful statement from a public figure, and a bold move from a sports retail giant. Many small, up and coming, and personal brands may shy away from mirroring the footsteps of Nike, but perhaps, after the smoke has cleared, there is a lesson available to us all.

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When you’re one of the most popular athletic brands in the world, losing an audience member or a few thousand is not the end of the world.

The Nike ad campaign is a perfect example of how controversy can be used to help your brand stand out amongst the crowd. Sure, Nike has been a household name for decades, but now Nike is being admired for taking a stance on a sensitive topic. By taking into consideration the political climate of our country today, Nike has been able to use it to propel itself to new heights. The retail giant has always been an all-inclusive brand, and all things considered, this step to choose a side required a severe risk-reward assessment. Clearly, Nike made the right move as their stocks have risen to $83.47, an all-time high for the company. What does this teach us? Don’t break a sweat searching for the next hot political topic to get people and their emotions involved in your brand, but instead, take note of the fact that emotions sell, people like to feel, and if you can connect with their feelings, you win their hearts and continued support.

There are times when it is appropriate to share your values on an issue.

As a brand owner, often times there is the underlying notion of keeping your political views private. It is no secret that Colin Kaepernick has taken a stance in the face of what he and many other Americans have experienced to be social injustice. The question then becomes, when is it acceptable to share your semi-unpopular opinion? In Nike’s case, the company approaching the 30-year anniversary of their famous slogan was the perfect opportunity to hone in on the fact that 91 percent of millennials will switch brands because they support a specific cause. Nike, in a sense, has given its stamp of approval to Kaepernick and single-handedly polarized what seems to be an entire nation concerning who will #StandWithKap or who will #BurnNike. Using morality in marketing is far from a new technique, but understanding the importance of researching market trends is what will allow you the time to assess the risks of voicing your opinion and prepare your brand for the initial backlash you may endure. Not every company or brand is in a position to take such a stand, or just may not be interested in doing so; what is most important is that before you choose to act, be sure it is for something you believe in wholeheartedly.

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Going forward, what are some ways that your brand can take advantage of the social climate our nation is in today? What are some issues that drive you, and are perhaps the pillars of what your brand stands on? Would you rather have a large audience that is seemingly disconnected or do you prefer to have an audience that shares your values and ultimately will band together to ensure your longevity? And the ultimate question, when was the last time you and your colleagues discussed a Nike ad until today? It looks like they may be on to something!

As for us at EMB, we’ll choose to hold onto our Nikes and Converse while we dream crazy.

Why I'm Thankful for Adversity

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2017 has been a challenging and eventful year for me punctuated by my recent bold or “crazy” (according to my closest friends) decision to resign from my job of 18 months despite a major promotion, raise, and stock bonus looming so I could recommit all of my time and resources toward doing what I love—working for myself; specifically, building my own business, Enrich My Brand. While that’s how my story of 2017 seems to be ending, it is a far cry from how it began or where I imagined I’d be by this time.

Last Thanksgiving, I was thankful I so much as had a job; yes, after a brutal eight-month stretch of unemployment that saw me broke and crashing on my parents’ couch even after having secured a global MBA across three continents the previous year, that easily topped the list of things I was thankful for. Fast forward to this Thanksgiving and, although I remain grateful to my former employer for having provided me with gainful employment that yielded many new skills, much-needed professional experience, and several connections, I am especially thankful for listening to my own inner voice and taking the leap of faith I just did. 

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During this season of self-reflection, of appreciating the people who’ve been there for us, who've helped us make progress, who’ve added value to our lives in some way big or small, I want to remind you to, in addition to these deserving individuals, also give yourself some credit for hanging in there through your fair share of trials and tribulations. Sometimes, people are either not brave enough or humble enough to ask for help when they’re in need. Also, in my view, it’s not only worth your while to have an attitude of gratitude toward the trusted people in your inner circle who helped you get through your most difficult challenges, it would also behoove you to be grateful you experienced those challenges in the first place and to yourself for showing the necessary resolve to triumph in spite of them. 

The inconvenient truth is, nothing builds character quite like adversity and overcoming it. So, be thankful for your lows as much as you are your highs, and be thankful for your life as much as you are the lives of the loved ones who make up your support system. Just as we’ve often heard that in whatever we do, enjoying the journey is as important as enjoying the destination, so, too is it important to appreciate the obstacles as you do having successfully navigated them. Besides, without our times in need, we wouldn’t even have the opportunity to know our friends indeed. 

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As for me, having put all my chips in Enrich My Brand so I can pursue my passion of helping others bring their business visions and ideas to life through elegant brand identity design and compelling storytelling, I very much look forward to seeing how this year ends and what milestones my team and I would've have reached by next Thanksgiving. In all we do, we are driven by passion and I’m truly grateful for each of the clients we have gained in such a short time since we launched November 1st. Moreover, as the founder of Enrich My Brand, I personally pledge that no matter whether we have one client or 100 clients, we will treat each with a personal, VIP-esque attention befitting of a small but professional agency like ours. We look forward to helping you put your brand’s best face forward, one carefully crafted design and/or excellently drafted story at a time.

From our small but growing family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! May you and your loved ones remain blessed through the remainder of 2017 and may you prosper throughout 2018.

With love,

Kenny, Chief Wordsmith