Everything that Nike does is their strategy coming to life. Nike’s strategy lives amongst humans everyday. It is actionable at every opportunity. Great strategies never run out of ideas.
Nike’s strategy in my own words
“To inspire great athleticism in all of us and to inject the philosophy of starting and never giving up”
Nike is rebellious with intent. What many may perceive as being rebellious, Nike perceives to be normal. Going against the norm is Nike’s normal.
When Tiger Woods “lost” all the other sponsorship brands and associations, he “maintained” the only support he needed; from family and Nike. All the other brands left him for dead in the woods, but Nike stood by him.
This is nothing new to Nike. Nike has stood alongside people and athletes that were facing an avalanche of criticism or those that “deserved” to be shunned. Colin Kaeperneck and Caster Semenya are just two other examples. Nike believes not only in the power of sport, but in the human spirit. The innate spirit of defying all odds and standing firm on what you believe.
Nike is a brand and company that does brand building the way it should be done. With intent, consistency and without fear.
Does Nike Have A Healthy BEA (Brand Expectation & Anticipation)?
I wrote a piece about the concept of people being able to anticipate what a brand could and should say, before it actually does. All of this done unprompted and unsolicited. For a brand to achieve this; it would need to have developed a healthy catalogue of consistent messages that delivers a single minded impression, feeling or take out. This resulting in an expectation of similar work in the near future. The tone, delivery and packaging of communication becomes well understood by people. No confusion amongst other brands in the category or in general.
Companies like Kantar Millward Brown, Ipsos and Gfk just to name a few, measure the effectiveness of what brands have said or intent to say (Link Testing). That type of research measures if what brands have said, plan or intent to say is effective and or breaks through. Sometimes, when brands test the concepts or campaign before launch, the results come back showing a dismal performance, forcing the creative agency to go back to the drawing board. Reasons may include, the creative not breaking through or people losing interest half way through the advert, and the brand not being linked to the message nor recognized. This process becomes tedious for the creative agencies.
But… what if people could anticipate what a brand should say before it even says it? What people took it upon themselves to create advertising that they believe a brand should execute? That is what I call Brand Expectation and Anticipation (BEA).
This is built or achieved over a long period of consistent advertising and brand building efforts; as a result, anchoring distinct memory structures for that particular brand. These memory structures are the ones that create these expectations and associations.
One of the best examples of a local (South African) brand that has a healthy BEA (Brand Expectation and Anticipation) is Nando’s. Over the years, Nando’s role in the world of brand marketing has become clear, not just for the brand team, but for its target market. Nando’s is the voice of the people. It has the balls to say what everybody is thinking but afraid to say. Sometimes, it says or does something we’ve experienced, but never really thought deep about. For example, their “Right My Name” campaign
Nando’s built its brand on social commentary, making humorous ads about what’s happening both politically and socially in South Africa and sometimes the rest of the continent. There are so many user generated adverts (UGA) that were created by everyday people, because they are so inspired by the brand. That is powerful. How many brands can say that people are eager to generate their own ads on their behalf?
Mark Ritson recently released an article, vehemently stating that nobody likes ads, and he provides convincing data that proves that most people don’t like ads (Thanks to Nnaniki Malesa, a brilliant Marketer, for the tag on Mark Ritson’s article).
Whilst there’s proof that people hate ads, Nando’s is proof that if your brand is truly loved, people will creates ads on its behalf. How powerful is that?
How does a brand like Nando’s end up with a situation where people will do ads for it?
Every time something happens in South Africa, people naturally expect Nando’s to do something or comment on it. This was made even more glaring by Highgate Estate, a company promoting their accommodation. They did a satire/parody campaign for their hotels/accommodation. In South Africa, democratic elections are around the corner, and so its camapign season for political parties. The company used political parties’ posters, mimicking their designs and messaging to drive awareness for their brand and offerings. Nando’s has become synonymous with these sort of tactics that people expect them to be first at the scene.
The power of BEA is that people are able to discern which brand is expected or anticipated to do something. In people’s minds, there is no confusion. That’s a marketer’s dream.
Testing/Measuring Nike’s Brand Power and Success
After Tiger Woods was announced the winner of the Masters, I immediately shared the Facebook post, which was originally posted by SuperSport. My shared post read; “I can’t wait for the Nike ad. It’s coming”.
A few minutes after I shared the above, a friend of mine, George Seabe tagged me on an ADWEEK post, which published an article revealing the Nike + Tiger Woods Video/Film.
Does Nike have a BEA (Brand Expectation & Anticipation)?
I expected and anticipated a Nike film for Tiger Woods, because based on their recent history, Nike has consistently produced communication that communicated their brand truth. They did that for Serena, Caster Semenya, Kaeperneck just to name a few. Within a few minutes of me expression my expectation, Nike released the Tiger Woods film.
Does Nike have a healthy BEA? I’m only a sample of one, so you be the judge of that.
The difference between BEA and what Kantar Millward Brown, Ipsos, Gfk and all those guys is that, when it comes to communication effectiveness, they measure what has happened and what is already created. BEA on the other hand, is a situation in which people are not passively consuming advertising, but actively expecting and anticipating messaging from a particular brand, without being prompted. Advertising catches people by surprise because it is unexpected.
Brands that have a healthy or positive BEA inspire people to create messaging on their behalf. The user generated ads (UGA) are not only accurate in terms of messaging, their tone is so apt, it could have come from the brand itself.
‘BEA’ as an acronym does not account for the ‘Creation’ of user generated advertising (UGA), whilst it’s definition does.
Therefore, the acronym will be adjusted or amended to account for that.
BEA will now be ‘BEAC’, Brand Expectation Anticipation and Creation. Introducing the BEAC model:
The BEAC Model:
Is your brand a BEAC brand? Meaning, do people know your brand so well that at any given time, on any given occassion, they expect, anticipate and or create advertising material based on what they think or believe your brand to be or believe it should produce from an advertising point of view?
If your brand can achieve that, that means people are actively and passionately connected to your brand. In a world where people are skipping ads and are downloading ad blocking software, to have people want to create ads on behalf of a brand is the ultimate goal and achievement.
Thank you for reading my thought piece.