The voice of Lance Armstrong and a brand no no for Nike Plus

Fjord Family

nikeHow the tentacles of your Brand can trip you up

Last week I was congratulated via Nike Plus for beating my personal best 5km by none other than Lance Armstrong.

I probably wouldn’t have even noticed but for the fact that I was feeling sure I’d done a good run for once and was anticipating the congratulatory message piped through my headphones.

It’s a really nice personal touch that the Nike Plus service has managed to work across even legacy tech set ups such as my own (3rd gen nano strapped to my arm with trainer sensor and receiver).

This set up works pretty well for me, even though it has been surpassed by numerous upgrades in the four years that I’ve been running.

And herein lies the problem for Nike and indeed any company providing a digital service which personally touches its customers via increasingly obsolete technical formations.

The fact that my nano is not connected means that a forced over the air software update is impossible. Which leaves Nike powerless to take proactive correctional action when an athlete with a starring role in its Nike + service turns out to be a bit of a bad ass.

On doing the usual cursory Google check, I did discover that Nike has publicly ended their relationship with Armstrong.

But it took for me to check.

The fact is that as digital services spread across an increasingly disparate set of technologies, companies have reduced control over their brand.

Some initial thoughts for how Nike might avoid tripping up like this in the future include:

  • Be aware of the many nooks and crannies that your brand occupies once you embrace digital services as part of your offering.
  • Be careful about endorsements from humans who may turn out to be the antithesis of your brand.
  • Converse as much as you possibly can with the people using your services.
  • But most of all, don’t expect them to know what a software update is, let alone perform one in time to save you when one of those endorsements turns into an embarrassment.

At Fjord we describe the atomisation of brand values across the digital universe as Brand DNA.

In a world where our clients have increasingly little hold over how their brand is experienced, having a robust set of meaningful values will enable them to let go and still maintain a strong sense of what they stand for.

Fjord Family

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