We all have our favorite brands, but I found out that brand loyalty can rise to a different level when consumers have a direct connection or experience with a brand. I discovered this last spring, when I participated in a Nike grassroots campaign. To promote brand loyalty among its young female consumers, Nike hosted events at multiple college campuses across the country. Nike trainers came on campus and invited different groups to attend a college-wide workout. To encourage a large attendance, Nike offered free pairs of FreeRun shoes to the group with the most participation. When they came to the University of Texas, my sorority was invited and we jumped at the opportunity! Hundreds of people came to do, or should I say endure, the same intense workout together. Nike created a high-energy, fun atmosphere with a DJ playing music, and stations set up throughout the gym allowed girls to try out products, take pictures and even trade in their shoes for a loaner pair of FreeRuns to wear while working out. Brand slogans such as, “Make Yourself Strong,” were splashed everywhere including shirts for every girl to wear during the workout. The result was a gym packed wall to wall with young women who were completely immersed in the Nike campaign from their shirts to their shoes. And everyone left feeling a deeper connection and recognition of the brand and what it means to them. It’s one thing to see the ads and the products, but a personal experience takes the connection to the deeper level.
This series of events allowed Nike to interact with their consumers in a direct and personal way. Nike personnel were on hand to talk to college women about all the products they are introducing and receive immediate feedback. Their message to women to “be the best version of yourself” and to stay healthy and active hit the mark with these young college women. Loyalty that is established early, especially among the valuable Gen Y consumer group, can pay off for years to come.
To see the NikeFit workout at the University of Texas: http://vimeo.com/22726124