This week, Nike released their 30th anniversary 'Just Do It' campaign, featuring athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have had to face adversity in order to achieve their goals.
There is no question that Colin Kaepernick has been one of the major headlines for the NFL since he first took a knee during the national anthem back in 2016. Now, two years later, this act has sparked a conversation among Americans on what this act promotes, and what type of content athletes should use their platforms to promote. While Kaepernick has been vocal about wanting to use his platform to bring attention to social inequality in America, he may not have realized this would become his brand.
Kaepernick has not shied away from speaking about why he chooses to take a knee during the national anthem, or speaking about the issues and real-world examples which fuel this dialogue. It is clear when he speaks or posts on his social media that controversial or not, this will be a conversation he will continue to advocate for, no matter the cost. Those costs have become apparent as Kaepernick has not found himself on an NFL roster since the 2016-2017 season.
Kaepernick has unapologetically taken on social justice advocate as his brand. The tagline for the Kaepernick Nike ad, "Believe in something. Even if it means losing everything," is completely on brand for Kaepernick and only strengthens the message he has been trying to convey to Americans: become what you believe in.
Regardless of the opinions you may hold about Kaepernick, we can learn a lot about personal branding from him. Branding is all about consistency, and showing your audience who or what you are effectively and authentically. Kaepernick has embraced the brand of social justice advocate and effectively allowed his presence across all platforms reflect this.
Kaepernick has come to own his brand in all aspects of his life. On social media, through his words, through his clothing, and through his work; we all know what he stands for and who he is as a person. Whatever you may want your brand to mean, owning that brand and encompassing that meaning in everything you do is an important step in creating a memorable and lasting brand.