The month of June has filled our streets and Instagram feed with vibrant rainbows and bold expressions of identity. As Pride Month draws to an end, we decided to explore how four brands in four different industries took unique approaches to this month’s festivities. What impact did the strategic efforts of Nike, the NBA, T-Mobile, and Levi’s have on their brand? To explore the effects of pride month marketing strategies, we used our social listening platform as a tool for brand monitoring.
Among the four brands that we analyzed, Nike made up the lion’s share of the online conversation.
How did Nike manage to generate so much buzz?
First and foremost, Nike launched a specialty line of clothing and footwear called BETRUE. The launch included both footwear and apparel, all with a subtle (or not so subtle) nod to the vibrant rainbow flag. Social media users took to the Internet to show off their new gear. Sneakers came in a colorful rainbow box, which some fans proudly included in their photos.
In addition to its special line of clothing, Nike also produced a promotional film starring LGBTQ+ athletes. The video advocated for equality among all athletes, using a catchy yet concise tagline of “Until we all win.” Naturally, this generated further buzz online.
Notably, Nike’s partnership with the WNBA did not go unnoticed. For starters, several WNBA players were featured in the promotional video. An Instagram post featuring WNBA player Gabby Williams in one of Nike’s pride shoes received over 4,000 likes.
Buzz is generated when Nike, Pride Month, and the WNBA are mentioned together. Based on this year’s findings, future partnerships between Nike and the WNBA might be beneficial to the brand. By paying attention to which partnerships encourage engagement, brands can discover prospective partners and influencers.
In the world of men’s professional basketball, several NBA teams happily joined the festivities. For starters, the Brooklyn Nets changed their Twitter avatar to a rainbow version of its regular logo.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had its own float in the Oklahoma City Pride Parade and posted a video on both Twitter and Instagram. The mayor of the city, David Holt, walked with the team and tweeted about the experience.
Another NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, participated in Philly’s pride parade.
OKC Thunder’s Twitter post received over 2,000 likes while their Instagram post received over 30,000 likes. Similarly, the 76er’s Twitter post received over 2,000 likes while its Instagram post received over 60,000 likes. Based on these numbers alone, NBA teams should continue using Instagram as a platform to reach fans around the world while trying to boost visibility on Twitter.
Our sentiment analysis word cloud revealed the topics that generated the most positive sentiment in green below.
The NBA also launched limited edition pride apparel for each of its 30 teams. Shirts and caps featured a rainbow version of each team’s logo. All proceeds benefitted the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), whose mission is to ensure a safe school environment for all students.
What Can Brand Monitoring Tell Us?
After such marketing efforts, it’s necessary to gauge campaign success through brand monitoring. Our platform does so by computing a Social Reputation Score (SRS). The algorithm takes into account three things: the volume of social media mentions, the sentiment behind these mentions, and their reach. After tracking the NBA’s SRS throughout May and June 2019, we found an 8.17% increase.
The following graph shows the change in the NBA’s SRS over the past two months. The trend line shows a noticeable increase from May to June. While the causes behind such trends are typically multi-faceted, it is highly likely that the NBA’s recognition of Pride Month was a relevant contributor.
Parades, parades, parades. In 2019, T-Mobile went above and beyond by sponsoring over 60 events across the country. Unsurprisingly, these parades produced major buzz on social media platforms like Twitter. Participants snapped happy pictures of themselves at these events and shared their experiences on the Internet.
During those parade weekends, we saw sharp increases in positive sentiment. In the month of June, positive sentiment related to T-Mobile and pride was noticeably higher.
In addition to sponsoring parades, T-Mobile also partnered with pop sensation Ariana Grande. An art installation for her song “7 Rings” was turned into a rainbow-colored “Pride Walk” outside of her concert in New York City.
Megastars like Ariana Grande effortlessly draw the attention of millions across the globe. Partnering with famous artists and performers help brands to boost their image, reach, and visibility.
For Pride Month, T-Mobile also created its own hashtag: #UnlimitedPride. This hashtag frequently appeared in posts related to Pride Month parades. During weekends when parades took place, online conversations and interactions with mentions of T-Mobile and #UnlimitedPride spiked significantly.
For brands, creating a unique and easy-to-remember hashtag can not only help the company track online conversations but also boost engagement.
During Pride Month, Levi’s launched an innovative campaign via Snapchat. Using various filters on the app, Snapchat users were able to virtually “try on” pieces from Levi’s pride collection. Users could choose from 6 Pride Month pins to customize their jacket. Finally, they could order the finished look directly on the app.
According to Levi’s, this is the “first multi-product commerce experience on Snapchat.” This marketing strategy targeted Gen Z and millennials, who frequently use social media for brand discovery and shopping. Identifying platforms that your target audience frequents tell consumers that you understand them. Furthermore, this Snapchat filter is simply fun.
Levi’s also hosted pride-related events, often in collaboration with brands like Nordstrom or Urban Decay, as well as non-profits organizations like the Stonewall Community Foundation. The presence of influencers and artists encouraged physical attendance and online engagement from fans and followers.
In June, Levi’s experienced greater online visibility and high positive sentiment, which imply the success of an innovative Pride Month campaign.
How Can Brand Monitoring Be Optimized?
When brands participate in community-wide events, positive benefits are felt by society, the consumer, and the brand itself. We’ve seen the success of four different brands that showed their support for Pride Month. Accurately monitoring changes to your brand’s image can help you develop better and more targeted strategies. Using a social listening platform can help you see what worked, what didn’t, and where to go next. See how brand monitoring can work for you.