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Why Americans still love Nike, even after its workplace scandals

Why Americans still love Nike, even after its workplace scandals
[Photo: Ben Weber/Unsplash]

According to new research by YouGov BrandIndex, a consumer research firm, people still love Nike, despite a flurry of recent reports over sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the company. The press–including Fast Company–has written extensively about the toxic workplace culture at Nike. But even after the New York Times‘s in-depth exposé about Nike over the weekend, the perception of Nike has remained at normal levels, according to BrandIndex’s daily surveys of 4,800 people who are representative of the U.S. population.

Interestingly, women have had a more consistently favorable view of Nike than men during this time, according to BrandIndex. It’s unclear why, exactly, the company’s image hasn’t suffered more. BrandIndex suggests that it might be because CEO Mark Parker acted quickly to address the crisis, speaking about his efforts to change the culture at Nike. It also describes Nike as a “Teflon” brand, meaning consumers have such sustained affection for the brand that it is less sensitive to scandal.

An alternative explanation is that there has been such a steady drip of negative press about the brand that people have stopped caring about each new story.

Consumer sentiment shifted at only one point during the last few weeks: Around April 19, three Nike executives–Vikrant Singh, Danial Tawiah, and Antoine Andrews–left the company. (This was after the sudden departure of Trevor Edwards, the president of the Nike brand, and Jayme Martin, who ran Nike’s global business.) That news resulted in a sudden tumble in brand perception, but it quickly rebounded.

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