Sunday, January 22, 2017

Adidas: Most Relevant Brand of 2016?

A recent article Adidas posted on LinkedIn from Highsnobiety cites them as the most influential  brand of 2016 as well as snagging bronze and gold in the best sneakers category. So what does the Adidas brand stand for?

Well to kick off 2015, the adidas Group announced it's new strategic business plan, "creating the new." This plan outlined the key strategies for numerical market growth plan as well as an update on Adidas's brand identity. By honing in on key cities, speed, and open source, Adidas has built its brand around the active consumer, interested in living a busy and successful lifestyle shown through its continued use of collaboration projects and fitness influencers.

Executive board member responsible for global brands, Eric Liedtke, was cited saying "We are closest to every consumer with our unique brand portfolio. In the future, we will not only talk to and talk with our consumers. We will be the first sports company that invites athletes, consumers, and partners to be part of its brands. We will open up so that they can co-create the future together with us."

Meaning, Adidas is not interested in being considered "one of many" in the sports apparel market; they are looking to create an identity built on collaboration, team work, innovation, and, most importantly, its consumers. 

How is this different from its competition? Nike? Under Armour?

Nike is taking a more traditional approach to their 2015 strategic plan. They have outlined the numbers and market segments clearly to show where they hope to be after five years of business. But they lack the how. Their marketing, segmentation, and consumer engagement plan has not shifted with the arrival of a new numerical plan. Consumers do not play an active role in being a part of the Nike brand or experience. However, Nike is definitely doing a few things right (football market share and brand extensions like Converse) that have helped bloaster the company's reputation and retain their grasp on the highest percentage of the market share for sportswear. 

Under Armour, on the other hand, is focusing on having a wider variety of athlete brand ambassadors. They are also focusing their brand identity to be more centralized around performance and skill. The 2016 ad campaign series called 'Rule Yourself' with the slogan 'It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light' featuring star athletes such as Michael Phelps, USA Women's Gymnastics Team, and Stephen Curry. It takes the ole 'practice makes perfect' to a new level and shows that it takes commitment, strength, sacrifices, and constant effort to reach one's goals. This new brand strategy has worked wonders for Under Armour and has helped them find their identity in the sportswear market.

So is Adidas really the most relevant brand in 2016? I think so. In my eyes, they have created their brand to be about the user, bringing them in to participate, using key influencers that are not just the star of the show but inspire create and unique thought. While Nike is continuing to be Nike, and Under Armour is discovering how to stand out. Adidas has found a way to make their marketing about the user. 

Their campaigns are about the spinning class instructor inspiring her members, the retired Navy seal staying fit, the entrepreneur relaxing through sport, and bringing together communities over a game. This mentality is the way our world works now, more intertwined and global than ever. Adidas has found a way to project a global mindset that connects all users through their brand. So good job, team. Keep up the hard work.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Being an adidas Brand Ambassador

When I think of being a sports brand ambassador, I think of buff men and women, showing their agility and strength on camera for 30 seconds to give an image of working hard and how xyz brand is best. Well, adidas's brand marketing is changing that expectation and image.

You'll still be able to find star athletes like Messi in big promotional campaigns, but sports companies are finding new ways to reach their consumer by tapping into key influencers in sports and fitness. For example, adidas has recognized that their male market is the "Do it all high schooler." This consumer is influenced by all-stars in all sports, he is usually involved in his high school beyond his team, he cares about his community, and wants to be look and feel sporty at all times. James Harden has been a create resource to adidas as he exhibits hard work, success in sport, and stepping away from the crowd and challenging yourself.

On the other hand, adidas's female market wants to describe herself as fit and active. She likely attends various fitness classes throughout the week to keep her exercise routine interesting and fun. She wears her athletic clothes for exercising, errands, and around the house. This consumer is influenced by bloggers, models, and exercise innovators that will help keep routines interesting and effective.

Recently, adidas brought on Karlie Kloss to their branding team. Karlie is a supermodel, coder, philanthropist, best friend of Taylor Swift, and obsessed with harnessing and expressing creativity. This perfectly aligns with adidas campaign to "Do it Different." By bringing Karlie on their team, adidas created a new market and utilized an influencer to reach people otherwise ignoring their advertising efforts.

In this video, you see how Karlie does more than show off her activity and athleticism, instead she is showing that women are more than their bodies. She supports the "fit and active" woman who values fitness as much as her passions and work.

These campaigns are changing the marketing strategy for all sports companies as well as altering culture's perspective of beauty. adidas is doing their marketing differently and its giving this consumer the opportunity to be more than an athlete; she can be a mom, scientist, dancer, nerd, poet, coffee enthusiast, skate boarder, anything!

I think this type of campaign is genius as it does more than offer a product, it creates a lifestyle change for consumers. Consumers see themselves in this supermodel creative and want to be like her. Not only under a superficial beauty lens but also in her active and hardworking lifestyle.

I hope adidas continues to utilize influencers in new ways to help mold their customers and culture to reflect activity and fitness more than superficial beauty standards.