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.