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There are probably a million ways for brands to connect with consumers, but one is certainly by supporting social issues, and those affected by them. With Pride Month underway, let’s look at two athletic-wear companies that released special edition Pride kicks – and see which one is grabbing the hearts of LGBTQ consumers.

Opinion Vs. Popular Opinion

Our search is centered around Nike and Adidas, the two top brands mentioned in a quick NetBase Pro search on sneakers, as both have released new Pride-inspired sneakers for 2018.

Gear Patrol’s Will Price lists several reasons he believes Nike’s BETRUE 2018 sneakers are the better of the two, but does his logic hold up across the social realm? Let’s see.

Searching on terms “pride” and “pride month,” and filtering for the term “sneakers” we see more conversation about Adidas in the Popular Items:

Of course, we don’t know anything until we look at social sentiment and other information for context. What if the bulk of those Adidas posts are negative, and the bulk of the Nike posts are positive? That would put Nike ahead, though it doesn’t look that way at first glance.

Sentiment Attributes shows “2018 Pride Pack Sneaker” as the most prominent positive term, so that’s a feather in Adidas’ cap for sure.

“Footwear” and “brand’s latest running innovation” both refer to Under Armour, another brand competing in the Pride sneaker game. But where’s Nike in all this?

As it turns out, the most passionate negative term “corporatization” is a criticism of Nike’s use of the pink triangle in their new BETRUE campaign. Once a symbol of gay persecution, the triangle was reclaimed by AIDS activist group ACT UP New York, who tweeted this:

ACT UP feels people shouldn’t get to profit off gay people’s lives without sharing the profits. A valid point, but Nike does donate part of their BETRUE proceeds to LGBTQ organizations.

As the thread reveals, Nike responded quickly that a member of their BETRUE team would be in touch with ACT UP New York, so it will be interesting to see if more about this is revealed down the road.

Does a Dedicated Hashtag Make a Difference?

So is that it? Is Nike under fire, leaving Adidas to claim all the love?

Not exactly. Though Adidas has generated plenty of buzz, and love, for their 2018 Pride Pack –

– Nike’s BETRUE campaign seems to be more hashtag-worthy than Adidas’ Pride Pack campaign.

Here’s a look at engagements for #AdidasPridePack:

The most influential post has a little over 1000 views:

Here are engagements for #BETRUE:

Quite a bit more – though of course, that hashtag could include conversations that having nothing to do with Nike. That’s definitely the case with the top influential post:

However, the second most influential post references #Nike as well as #BETRUE:

Not that there are any sneakers involved. But it’s clearly beating Adidas.

Looking at Terms under Popular Items we see “Nike BETRUE 2018,” which points to the brand’s own posts:

Tweaking our search to “Nike #BETRUE” gives us this influencer:

Not beating Adidas with that post.

The lesson here is to look from all sides to be sure you’re getting the full story. Also, be sure your fans know which hashtag to use when shouting out your brand. And make it something that won’t be co-opted for generic use.

Final Results?

Our view of the data shows Nike is in the lead for the moment – but we don’t have access to the rest of the data Nike and Adidas should consider as they assess the success of their campaigns. It takes complete social and VoC data to really know where you stand.

And, of course, we’re only halfway through Pride Month.

By the way, just because Pride is limited to a month-long celebration – doesn’t mean brands have to limit their efforts to a single month.  LGBTQ consumers are consumers 365 days a year. Giving them attention year-round might alleviate that feeling of being used for profits.

They might even love you for it.

Want to know how to look beyond social for a complete picture of brand data? Reach out and we’ll show you how our customer experience analytics tools work!

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