Nike takes social media in-house

Sebastian Joseph

Sports brand takes social media marketing in-house in a bid to gain a deeper understanding of its fans.

Nike has taken management of its social media marketing in-house and away from its digital advertising agencies in an effort to get closer to its fans.

The company’s internal social media teams will now manage all online communities from its Portland, Oregon headquarters after previously outsourcing the responsibility to agencies such as AKQA, Wieden & Kennedy, Mindshare and R/GA.

It follows a review by Nike’s senior director for social media and community Musa Tariq who pushed for the brand to assume full control of its social media offering following his arrival from Burberry last October.

The move, which is thought to taken place in November, is part of a broader effort from the business to gain a deeper understanding as to how its consumers interact with the brand on its owned social networks such as Nike Plus as well as on third party platforms.

Rival sports brands are also looking at effective ways to gain a more detailed understanding of their social media fanbase. Puma is working with an agency to reach young football fans on Twitter and Facebook, while Reebok has opted to conduct its own audit of all its social media profiles after declining offers from agencies.

Digital marketing experts observe that the role of agencies in managing social media is changing as marketers become more comfortable with developing their own strategies.

Roger Warner, director at social media agency Beyond, says: “Three years ago most brands didn’t really have a clear understanding of the impact social media would have on internal resources or their marketing strategies. Fast-forward and there are now roles in marketing departments focused solely on sharing and publishing content all the time. The smarter agencies have figured out that their value in the mix is on the idea rather than the day-to-day community management.”

Nike is putting more marketing muscle behind its digital initiatives, claiming that online channels are more valuable to its business strategy than traditional advertising. In the US alone, Nike has reduced spend on television and print advertisements by 40 per cent over the last three years, while its global marketing budget has steadily risen over the same period as the brand invests more in digital initiatives.

Nike declined to comment on the move. A spokesman for the business adds: “We never comment on speculation about our future plans so we won’t be able to confirm or deny.”

If you have a great social media case study that can demonstrate innovation and ROI then make sure you enter the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2013. The deadline is 15 January and you can find more here.

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