Just Do It-Take the Risk, Create a Firestorm & Count the Money

In case you’ve been under a rock, Nike released its new campaign and has created an uproar.  Here’s the summary:

  • Nike has created a firestorm of controversy by placing former NFL quarterback (and now activist) Colin Kaepernick at the front of its “Just Do It” advertising campaign.
  • The move will generate immense discussion, but don’t be fooled by social media protests. Nike did this foreseeing positive a cost/benefit ratio. It is always about the money.
  • The stock is down on the headlines, but shares are still prohibitively expensive, about 25% overvalued.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, you have to admire Nike for staying true to their own motto of “Just Do It.”

My most regrettable mistakes in my career were made by not taking a risk out of fear of pissing people off.  Although I tend to have a “prickly” exterior, I am just like everyone else and want to be accepted by my peers but Nike’s latest campaign has challenged me to go for gold!


If you think about Nike’s strategy in releasing a campaign with a controversial figure at the helm, it’s incredibly ballsy and calculated.  The brand had to know it would create more fans and potentially lose others but nonetheless, Nike went for it.  It has become a trending topic on social media and the company is enjoying the benefits of grabbing the nation’s attention.  While some factions are taking to the streets to burn Nike apparel, stores have seen unprecedented lines of customers waiting to support the brand’s decision on this controversial topic.

So what can you learn from Nike’s decision?

 #1 If you believe in something, stand up for it and go all in.

In today’s politically charged society, the idea of taking a risk, especially a career risk, to stand for something you believe in can be dreadful.  The challenge for anyone is to balance their center and go all in.  Sure, you’ll tick off some people but you may gain the attention of others who never gave you a second glance.

#2 Although counterintuitive, any attention is good attention.

Sure, Nike has received a huge backlash regarding its choice but neither its stock price has not suffered nor has its profits seen a significant hit.  The same applies can apply to you.  If you decide to take a bold step and are fearful of the backlash, just understand that in the end, you will receive attention for what you do.  Just be prepared to keep the negative feedback in check and don’t let the haters get you depressed.

#3 Be willing to go for what you believe and sacrifice everything.

The most profitable risks are the ones no one else is willing to sacrifice for.  This is fertile ground for you to grow your career, your brand or your next venture.  Be willing to go where no one has gone before or in the current environment: Go where No One is WILLING to go.



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