Kaepernick And Nike: Search And Social Risks Outlined In Data

Content marketing has become key to search engine optimization and attracting site visitors to websites.

No matter what position a brand takes on a specific political view and controversial issues, there are always benefits and challenges. Authenticity is one benefit that aimClear founder Marty Weintraub points to in his post, titled "Kaepernick & Nike Beyond the Bickering: Social Data Unlocks the Risk of Taking Heady Positions." The challenge is that the opinion might damage the brand’s reputation.

"Yes, there is risk that keyword searches rise related to joining the protest against Nike," he wrote in an email to Search Insider. "There is risk that search interest could trail off for Nike, but in fact it's spiked high and then came down higher than it started."

Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, knelt before games as the United States national anthem played to publicize racial injustice and police brutality against African Americans. He was released from the NFL after a political firestorm spread through the country. And it may have ended his career in the NFL, but he still has a place with Nike. 



Kaepernick has been working to promote Nike products for years. But the brand is getting pushback from both sides of the fence. While some consumers support Nike's decision, others do not. The debate has extended into city council rulings. In fact, the president of the North Smithfield Town Council has submitted a resolution asking all town departments to not purchase Nike products, not even for school athletic programs.

The campaign sent a strong message to Nike's core millennial customers. And while media outlets like CNN Money report positively that Nike gained 170,000 Instagram followers, not all who “like” the post view Nike’s decision as positive. Several millennials told Search Insider that they are using the images of Kaepernick to discredit and “joke around” about the brand’s decision.

Weintraub's social analysis offers a research technique to predict the outcome of voicing an opinion. AimClear analyzed Facebook Ads and overhyped psychographic targeting to study site users with strong Nike brand affinities. The datasets in the post reflects Americans between the ages of 16 and 64 who use Facebook.

The data shows Nike did not take a big risk, but it did create major buzz. You can follow the numbers here.

In my opinion -- and Search Insider is an opinion column -- Kaepernick and other players who are making a statement about injustice should step away from the NFL and the millions of dollars they get paid to play, and find a brand like Nike willing to allow them to protest and voice their opinion, rather than kneel during the national anthem and take the hard-earned money from fans who may not agree with their actions.  

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