Sometimes Twitter marketing involves turning to tweets to find out how your followers feel about your brand. And other times, your followers are just going to tell you how they feel — even if you didn’t ask. This week, Nike unveiled the new uniforms for the Cleveland Browns and Twitter’s football fans had plenty to say. (Hint: Most of it wasn’t very nice.)
NFL fans on Twitter have a reputation for being some of the Internet’s most vocal and, at times, unwanted focus groups. From player trades to new venues, football aficionados tweet their feelings and rarely do they hold back. So Nike probably expected a barrage of reactions when it released the new uniforms for the Cleveland Browns. Nike swiped the uniform gig from Reebok last year, and many expected the company would shake up the stale brown uniforms with something more modern for a team and a brand desperately in need of a makeover. The Browns were 4-12 in the 2011 season and have become somewhat of a punchline to many a joke in the NFL.
But, according to Twitter, the new uniforms aren’t helping their cause. The new, much-publicized look is suspiciously like the uniforms of yesteryear, a fact many Tweets picked up on. Twitter took Nike to task for simply “adding a swoosh” and keeping the rest the same. One unhappy Browns fans tweeted, “Surprise! The same! Except fat players will look fatter.” By Tuesday afternoon, Twitter-based polls and discussions about the lackluster uniforms were in full swing.
While we fail to see the crime committed by simple brown uniforms (after all, they’re named the Browns, right?), we can’t deny the power of Twitter marketing and how followers can instantly react to brand’s decisions. The rule of thumb these days is if you want to know how your customers really feel about you, check Twitter. For Nike and the Cleveland Browns, however, it might be better to avoid the Internet for a few days.