For Nike, Outsourcing “The Conversation” Is No Longer The Answer

Who is best equipped to manage the 24-7 needs of social media marketing for global consumer brands? A string of disconnected agencies, or an internal team at the client? It’s a question a lot of brand managers may be asking right now.

One consumer marketing powerhouse has an answer. Nike’s internal social media teams will now manage all online communities from its Beaverton, Oregon headquarters after previously outsourcing the responsibility to agencies such as AKQA, Wieden & Kennedy, Mindshare and R/GA, according to a report in Marketing Week.

The U.K.-based industry trade mag asserts that the changes are a result of 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.

One thing we can be sure of, scaling one-to-one, is not easy to execute. Time will tell if client-side communicators can effectively act as a voice for the brand. Brands, like everyone else on Tweetbook, generate a lot of crap in social channels. Personally, I’d prefer to see one great thought a day from a favored brand, rather then the desperate attempts of community managers to gain and hold our attention. But one thought a day is not conversational, is it? And therein lies the mystery and challenge. Does social media marketing actually foster real conversations? If it does, one great thought a day is all wrong for the platform.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.