Four-time Olympic champions refuse to back down from their fight for equal pay. After being denied in court, the U.S. Women’s National team has rebranded their fight and is looking to the public for support.
“We’ve had enough. We’ve been forced,” said Megan Rapinoe, starting midfielder, in a press conference.
The U.S. Women’s National Team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in March for an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission violation in wage discrimination. After multiple negotiations, the court ruling sided in favor of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Is this fight ambitious? Maybe. Unrealistic? Definitely not.
In an attempt to rebrand their #Equal Play Equal Pay campaign, the women will be wearing branded shirts and temporary tattoos in all media opportunities that they can, including official game day events.
Not only will this campaign be rebranded, but it will also be positioned toward a new target market: a global audience.
The women received overwhelming support from the U.S. Senate in May, but it is unclear if the new target audience will be as supportive of the fight for equal pay. Supporters of the #Equal Play Equal Pay campaign will use social media and press conferences to increase awareness of this movement.
With the Olympic Games rapidly approaching, supporters of this movement are hoping that this new campaign launch will grow rapidly over the coming weeks.
Informational interviews, “informationals,” informational networking – whatever you call it, it’s a must! No matter where you’re looking for a job – it could be within your current industry, in a new field, or even within your current organization – networking is where it’s at. Informational interviews are an easy, low pressure networking opportunity to turn the tables on an interview. It’s your chance to flip the script and interview the company, while getting your name and face in front of folks who will be hiring.
How many times have you heard, “it’s all about who you know,” to land a job? Well, it’s true. You’re much more likely to land your next job because you know someone at the company than you are by being just another piece of paper on the stack of resumes. Getting to know people, networking, takes some time and work, but the payoff can mean landing your dream job. So I encourage you to start pounding the pavement and setting up some informational interviews. Here’s how:
Step 1 – The Set Up.
No one likes to cold call (or “cold email”), so if you know someone at a company you’re interested in, start with that person. Either set up an information interview with them or ask them to connect you with someone else. It’s human nature to help others, so all you have to do is ask and I practically guarantee you’ll get a “yes” for an informational interview. Also, people love to tell others what they know, so take advantage of this common human idiosyncrasy to get your foot in the door!
Other tips for setting up your first informational interview –
Be a student. If you’re in school, in a certificate program, or just taking a class here and there, play up the “student card.” Or, if you recently graduated, say that. If it’s been a while and you can’t claim to be a student anymore, then I recommend coming at it from a “learning” standpoint. As in, “I’d love to learn more about Company X or the field of Y.” Again, people like to give other people advice and share what they know, so let them know you’re a student and/or looking to learn more, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how gracious people are with their time.
Don’t say you’re looking for a job. It’s obviously implied. Information interviews are most effective when they are casual, low pressure, and about learning. This is your chance to find out about the company in a relaxed environment. I’ve found it can make people uncomfortable if you come right out and ask for a job, especially when the proposition was for “learning.” So save the “ask” for another time or take a different tactic (see questions below).
Keep it cool. Suggest some times that work for you or ask when they are available in the next week or so. Meet for coffee or even at the office. I don’t recommend meeting over drinks for various reasons. If you do meet someone at their office, make sure to ask for a quick tour. Generally, 30-45 minutes is a good amount of time to expect for an informational interview. It’s quick, engaging, and you should be able to glean a lot of information if you ask the right questions.
Example information interview email:
I received your contact information from Sarah at ABC Corp. She recommended I speak with you because I’m studying biology at STU and would like to learn more about a career in marine science. Do you have some time next week to meet for coffee? I’d really like to hear about your career path and what it takes to succeed in the field of sea horse genetics.
Step 2 – Come prepared.
Whether you’re familiar or not with the company where the informational interviewee works, at the very least, review the company website to get the gist of what they do. Think about how that industry fits with your interests. Why are you interested in this company? What seems appealing about it? Know yourself and what your strengths and skills are. An informational interview is mostly an opportunity to learn, but it’s also a chance to talk up your skills and career goals and how they align with the company.
Tips for keeping the conversation humming –
Bring a list of 6-10 questions to ask.
Please describe your role at [name of company].
Can you describe the career path that brought you where you are?
How would you describe the culture at [company]?
What is your favorite part of working here?
How is employee development and growth fostered?
How do decisions get made at [name of company]?
As [company] grows, are there opportunities you can think of for someone with my skill set?
If you meet at the office, be sure to ask for a quick tour and if there’s anyone there you can talk to.
Other industry specific questions.
Keep things casual, so go ahead an ask questions as the conversation evolves organically.
Bring something to write on and write with. You never know when you’ll hear something you need to jot down or remind yourself of later.
Keep it positive. This is a general rule whether it’s a formal interview or an informal informational interview. Even if you’re looking to leave your current company because things are terrible, find the silver lining and highlight what you have to offer or how you would like to grow. It can suck the life out of the room quickly if it seems like you’re complaining or bashing. So find the positive spin on things and keep the conversation light!
Keep them talking. Psychology tells, the more people talk about themselves, the more they like you! So all the more reason to come prepared with questions.
Step 3 – Ask for more.
As you’re wrapping things up, some good closing questions to ask are:
Are there professional associations you recommend I join?
I’m fine-tuning my resume, would you mind taking a quick look at it? (Definitely bring your resume!)
It’s been great talking to you and I’d love to learn more, is there anyone else here [at Company X] you recommend I speak with?
Do you know anyone at [another company] that I should speak with?
Step 4 – Say “Thank you.”
In the digital age, I don’t think it’s necessary to send a thank you card. It may even come across as a bit too much. So, just like you would for a “real” interview, send the person you met with a short email, preferably within 24-48 hours, to let them know how much you appreciated their time and mention something memorable you spoke about or learned.
You’re now on your way to finding the company that’s the right fit for you. Good luck and happy informational interviewing!
Now that you’re an informational interview-ing expert, be sure to brush up on your Influencing Skills so you can get the most out of people, from your boss to bestie.
We’ve all been there. You hate your job, you give notice, but in the spirit of not burning all of your bridges you stay on a week or two before you are actually done. What can you do to survive the few last days??? Here are a few tips:
Surf the Internet! Now is not the time to focus on why exactly you are leaving your job (though you certainly have your reasons), and the whole point of staying for a week or two was to maintain your positive image with the company. So stay distracted and surf the Internet a lot! Catch up on current events like presidential elections and the Olympics. Do all that on-line shopping you were meaning to. Find funny articles to tell your co-workers about, which leads us to….
Network with soon-to-be former colleagues. This can range from lunches cementing ties, to taking one last stab at building connections, to stopping by people’s desks to chat. Who knows when you will need to reach out to people for information, a job a their new company, or just to say hello. Sure management might see it as wasting the time of employees who are not leaving, but you are just reinforcing your impression of a wonderful person who just happens to be leaving the company.
Re-brand your image on social media. Howcast made a great tutorial on how clean up your Facebook profile for potential employers:
Now is the perfect time to take all of those pictures of you drinking in collage off your Facebook page! Or at least lock that down, and beef up your LinkedIn profile. Potential employers are going to be Googling your name and taking notes on how you present yourself to the world. So take some time to think through how you want to be seen. For more tips on re-branding yourself see this article on the Huffington Post. All of your deep thoughts about re-branding your image will naturally lead to…
Plan your career. Most people are reactive to their careers, accepting the first job offer that comes along. Not you! Now is the time to create a long-term plan career plan and execute it. Maybe you have wanted to get further education, like an MBA degree, to help your career. Or you know where you want to be in 10 years, and it is miles away from where you are now. These last couple of weeks are the perfect time to dream big, and start thinking how you can accomplish your goals.
Do some actual work. I know, it sucks. But you still have to do your job to maintain the positive perceptions of those around you. Your intent was to be professional, so make sure you are passing along information, training other employees on tasks only you know, and (generally) being a good employee. It may be like pulling teeth in the last days at your job. But a good reference from former employers who have worked with you is worth its weight in gold. So do the smart thing and get some work done!
Currently, one of the biggest sports news stories is Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors, coming off a record setting 73-win season, just added one of the best 5 players in the NBA to already stacked roster.
Durant just signed a maximum contract with the warriors worth $54.3 million for two years. Durant also makes an amazing amount of money off the court: $36 million a year in endorsements. In 2014 he signed a 10-year deal with Nike to create a signature shoe worth about $300 million. Nike pitched to Steph Curry in 2013, but funny enough, they forgot to change the name of the presentation from Kevin Durant. Curry’s father Dell was quoted by ESPN talking about that Nike pitch meeting:
“I stopped paying attention after that… They have certain tiers of athletes. They have Kobe, LeBron and Durant, who were their three main guys. If he signed back with them, we’re on that second tier.” (Strauss, 2015)
Nike offered Curry less than $4 million a year. Curry signed with Under Armour (UA) and his signature shoe became the bestselling signature shoe other than Michael Jordan (Strauss, 2015). Curry has also signed many endorsement deals Including JBL, Brita, and Degree. His off the court earnings topped $12 million for the last season (Badenhausen, 2016).
Basically immediately after the news of Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors, speculation on how it would affect their shoe endorsement’s started flying. For example, Yahoo NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted:
For Nike, this is a coup: It wanted to slow UnderArmour's momentum with Steph Curry and Warriors. Now, KD promises to impact Curry's star.
I’m going to argue this isn’t true. The KDs and SCs operate in separate spheres, appealing to different segments, and are going to work together to sell a lot of sneakers and make a lot of money. The signature market can be broken into four segments by how they use basketball shoes.
Care about the function use of the shoes to play basketball
Want a shoe that they can wear all the time
Fashion forward, wear the shoes for mainly for looks and brand
Buy lots of shoes, first releases are important, not concerned with functionality
To analyze the difference in marketing strategy from Nike and UA, let’s look at the most recent release of each player’s signature shoes: KD 9s, and Curry 2s.
Looking at Nike’s strategy for the KD 9s, they are targeting primarily functional adult users. Watch the ad Nike released July 1st 2016:
The ad shows Durant driving to the basket making defenders turn to smoke. The purpose of the ad is to try and convey how the KD 9s will help you on the court. How the shoes will make you better as a player. Wearing the KD 9s isn’t necessarily about the “KD” on the back. Nike is creating shoes that are designed by Durant to be great basketball shoes. The other video released on Nike Basketball’s YouTube page to promote the KD 9s was just a discussion between Durant and the shoe’s designer, Leo Chang. Their conversation is mainly about the functionality of the shoe and its features
In contrast UA’s approach is not about the shoe’s functionality. They market the Curry 2s only based on the brand associated with Curry’s popularity and skill. The message is more: “if you like Curry, you’ll like these shoes.”
While the first KD 9 ad had no talking, the first Curry 2 ad starred Jamie Foxx narrating as Curry shoots jumpers. He talks about how Curry changed the game of basketball. There is no mention of what makes the shoes better. No features, no claims of basketball success attributed to the shoes. Just Curry being Curry. Curry’s other breakout ad was titled “Rule Yourself.”
It depicts 1000s of Steph Curry clones practicing dribbling and ends with the tag line “You are the sum of all your training.” Again, this is a very person-centric, not a shoe-centric ad. It is about work ethic and how you as an individual have control over your destiny. UA is primarily targeting Everyday Wearers. They are trying to convince people to buy Curry 2s to look and be like Curry.
This is also apparent in how they price the shoes. KD 9s start at $150, Curry 2s are $130. UA has consistently kept Curry’s signature shoe at a lower price than many of the other signature shoes. They are targeting an audience that is buying shoes for everyday use. These consumers are budget conscious. Nike is trying to sell people on the KD 9’s functional ability. These users, if they think the shoe will be the best for them to play basketball in, will pay extra for this advantage.
Because Nike and UA are targeting very different consumers with their shoes, I wouldn’t expect a lot of cannibalization between the two. Durant moving from OKC, a small market team, to Golden State, a big market team, will probably help him increase sales. When Carmello Anthony moved from Denver to New York City he saw a jump in sales (Powell, 2016). Basketball success also helps drive revenue, and the Warriors this year have a very good chance of being good. The top 5 bestselling jerseys in the NBA last year, 4 where in the finals this year: Curry, James, Bryant, Irving, Thompson. Although Curry’s Under Armour shoes are selling like crazy, remember Nike still rules the NBA. Until Under Armour can get a few more marquee signers, it is unlikely that his success will dampen the Nike who has 75% of all NBA players under contract.
Badenhausen, K. (2016, February 2). NBA Endorsement All-Stars. Forbes.
Powell, M. (2016). Sneakernomics: What Kevin Durant to the Warriors Really Means for the Sneaker Business. Maine: NPD. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/blog/2016/sneakernomics-what-kevin-durant-to-the-warriors-really-means-for-the-sneaker-business/
Strauss, E. S. (2015, October 7). You won’t believe how Nike lost Steph to Under Armour. ESPN.