Remember Nike’s slogan, Just Do It? Well apparently their management team follows form in their successful adoption of social media.
Jim Cioban, writes: Recently a Gartner analyst projected that over 75% of Fortune 1000 companies will attempt some type of online social-networking initiative for marketing or customer relations, but that 50% of those programs will fail. Take a look at one that didn’t….
An article in the current issue of BusinessWeek (“This Social Network Is Up and Running”) profiles Nike’s popular Nike+ social network. With over 800,000 users, it is a brand-building phenomenon and the article does a great job telling how Nike is monetizing the audience. So, why does it work so well?
Value. Social media relies on the brand/company being authentic, consistent and approachable…but first and foremost on delivering value. The Nike+ site touches the readers at an emotional level by supplying a platform for sharing and socializing…and for feeding the competitive beast inside the athlete…even the occassional one. As it turns out that is a big deal, as shown by the following text in a training tip posted on the site now — “the stretching circleâ€™s primary function was to refocus our attention from classwork to the workout and to provide a social outlet.”
In some respects, the site is like my health club — a social venue that helps me motivate to get my workout done. Along the way, Nike+ provides a few clever tools (online logs), products that support training, and a means for Nike to organize large group events across geographies that extend the socialization concept intot he physical world.
I am not a Nike+ user, but I am a GarminConnect subscriber — a service which tries (in a much smaller way) to do similar thing for cyclists using Garmin’s portable GPS, so I can relate. Garmin has tied me more tightly to its brand by delivering a suite of tools that help me catalog my cycling adventures while turning me into a brand ambassador.
Gartner’s dire forecast is not surprising, since most companies have yet to create real dialogue with customers in order to define a true “value” for their initiatives. Instead, their social media experiments will be echo chambers for their broadcast sales messages. But, without value, social media sites are quickly relegated to the scrap heap of failures, no matter how much money may back them.
Why Can’t Other Do It?
So many firms think social media is merely an extension of traditional marketing schemes. As we watch many fail it becomes clear why they failed and there is plenty of “free advice” in the blogosphere as to what a brand shouldn’t do. The problem is one of listening to what the market wants vs. giving the market what you think they should have. Remember what women ask men all the time? Are you listening?
Sometimes doing something is worse than doing nothing, especially if the something is wrong. As more and more businesses begin to use social media they’ll need to get it before they do it. Get it?
What say you?