Exactly one year ago this week, many outraged fans were considering a brand boycott after Nike decided to support NFL star Colin Kaepernick in his pubic fight against racial injustice and police brutality. In a controversial move, Nike decided to make Kaepernick the face of its “Just Do It” campaign, which signaled the brand’s support of the athlete’s mission. Many Nike fans were not on board with Nike’s stance, and the brand saw an immediate four percent dip in stock value.
Despite initial backlash, one year later the effects of the now iconic ad campaign, which read, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” are overwhelmingly neutral, perhaps even positive. According to Bloomberg, Nike received the highest “net promoter score” in UBS’s most recent survey, which measured how likely U.S. customers are to recommend a brand to others. This year, Nike was also ranked as 8th healthiest company across the globe, based on qualities like impression, quality, and reputation.
Bloomberg also cites a Stifel report from last month, which gathered data from over 100 sneaker retailers. The survey assessed demand during back-to-school shopping season, and the results show that Nike was the most sought-after brand in 81% of the stores – 67% higher than the same survey last year. Higher demand translates to sales and investor confidence, two departments Nike certainly isn’t lacking in either. In fact, overall sales are up from last year, and investor shares have remained consistent. In addition, the four percent dip in stock following the controversy didn’t end up lasting long, as the company already has more stock buys than it did one year ago.
It is important to note that in quarter four of 2018, the U.S. made up less than half of Nike’s business, so it could be that not enough Nike customers were affected by the controversy to have a lasting impact on brand image and sales. Either way, Nike’s brand loyalty prevails.