Ending a six-year deal with Nike, Simone Biles announced that she has chosen to partner with Gap Inc’s Athleta brand.
The four-time Olympic gymnastics champion posted on Instagram that her move to Athleta from Nike is partly due to their strong diversity and inclusion values.
“They are committed to diversity and inclusion, which was really important for me to see in a partner,” Biles said.
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The 24-year-old female record holder for most World Championship gold medals in gymnastics said in a Press Release on Friday:
“Using my voice has been very empowering for me, and I am grateful to embark on this new journey with Athleta to inspire young girls and women to do the same. The opportunity to encourage young girls to reach their full potential and be a force for change is incredibly powerful.
I admire Athleta for their commitment to recognize and support women’s individual and collective strength, and, together, I believe we can help girls to confidently and passionately take on the world in their athletic endeavors and beyond.”
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Leaving Nike for Athleta
Who would have ever imagined that a common-day brand like Gap’s Athleta could take snatch a top well-known presenter from Nike?
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This is not to say that Nike doesn’t commit to social responsibility, diversity, and the black community. Nike also promotes empowerment, and it has powerful icons like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick as brand presenters.
But Athleta is not only a brand dedicated to female athletes – its passion for inspiring conversations and supporting women across the globe to rise and embrace their limitless power – must have won Biles over.
“We are excited to welcome Simone to the Athleta family and work together to further our mission of empowering women and girls,” said Mary Beth Laughton, president and chief executive officer of Athleta.
“Simone believes in championing the next generation of female athletes as much as we do, and we are confident this partnership will continue to build community with our customers and enrich our brand.”
Nike confirmed in a statement that their contract with Biles has ended, stating that “We will continue to champion and celebrate all athletes,” wishing her “the very best.”
CRM Case in Point
Athleta’s positioning of brand values not only helps with customer relatoinships – now we see it can also help get household-name influencers and superstar partners as endorsers. In this case, one of the greatest gymnasts of all time.
By taking her voice to Gap’s Athleta, Biles promotes core values to a new and different audience than Nike’s – gaining wider exposure and further inspiring the next generation of girls.
This passion project couldn’t have happened if Gap Inc. and Athleta weren’t aligned with Biles’ values in the first place. To teach us another lesson about the power of associating your brand with bigger-than-business values.