Nike’s decision to bring its social media output in-house is a sign of things to come but it does not signal the end of agency relationships around the marketing discipline.
It reflects a wider shift in the confidence marketers now have when managing social media campaigns as their understanding of it grows and their agencies increasingly act as consultants on strategy rather than campaign management. Both Tesco and Reebok are thought to be pursuing similar strategies in the hope of boosting brand loyalty through online chatter.
None of this is lost on Nike and the company hopes that by bringing its social media in-house it can forge a tighter relationship with fans than ever before. The brand’s bet is that having greater control of its social data will lead to more innovative digital services.
The appointment of former Burberry global director of social media marketing Musa Tariq in October to kick start the brand’s social media strategy is a big investment to make, but for brands the size of Nike it may be the more cost-effective solution in the long-term.
Tariq played a key role in the fashion brand’s rise to prominence as a digital innovator over the last four years and Nike, a pioneer of digital marketing in its own right, will be hoping he can it more self reliant on its own social media offering.
To that end, Tariq led the brand’s review of its relationships with its social media agencies after adopting a similar strategy at Burberry, which handles the majority of its digital marketing internally.
This does not mean Nike will stop working with its agencies on social media campaigns outright. The brand’s strong relationship with the likes of AKQA suggest that it could continue to work with the digital shop on things it has no real expertise on such as social media analytics.
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