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adidas: with speed into the future


Everything what adidas touches turns to gold. A risky business decision turned out to be groundbreaking, the newest is extremely likely to do the same. But what’s the reason behind this company’s incredible success? Analyzing adidas’ decisions, activities and future visions especially in its marketing and branding indicates what is standing behind it.

It is impossible to not know adidas. The sporting goods manufacturer is omnipresent in nearly every part of the world and society. Even in regular Chinese supermarkets in the small section for shoes there are sports shoes with admittedly not really parallel stripes on the site on which in German letters the slogan “die marke mit den 3 stripes” (“the brand with the 3 stripes”) is printed. Foreseeing the potential of his creation, on the very same day in 1949 the company was founded in Herzogenaurach, Germany, adidas’ mastermind Adolf Dassler patented a shoe model and three parallel stripes as a trademark. These iconic stripes are the origin of the company’s incomparable rise to a global brand.

The invisible fourth stripe

While adidas’ products permeate all social classes and the company is listed in many actual rankings as one of the most innovative companies worldwide, it’s especially adidas’ innovative strength in the field of marketing, branding and production what guarantees their stand as the market leader. The development from being present with stores in the retail sector to being present in digital commerce had a huge impact on businesses. Relating to this development adidas acted at an early stage, being able to show their own website as their today`s dominating channel. Using the latest technologies, a crucial component of adidas’ marketing and branding is the investing in the products of Salesforce, founded by the former Apple and Oracle manager Marc Benioff and said to be a pioneer in cloud computing, primary in the Service and Commerce Cloud.

This step in facing the digital transformation brought adidas tremendous benefits, allowing it its 1100 service employees to react faster and smarter to customer inquiries in the customer’s preferred way, no matter via phone, email or social media, using the Service Cloud with its comprehensive case-tracking as the only application. Thereby, not only adidas’ internal customer service is getting more efficient, but also the customers experience is on a whole new level when customers are facing communication partners regarding them as individuals known by the company and accurately responding to their individual needs.

The knowledge about the single customers and their preferences obtained by the Commerce Cloud is subsequently applied to adapt what is, when it is and how it is being presented to go beyond a simply presentation of information or content, aiming to be in accordance with the customer’s ideas as good as possible and to create better products.

Creating future brands

At adidas it’s all about the customers, by even providing them a possibility to arrange individualized products, being manufactured and send out to them remarkably fast. In its new Speedfactory, cross-linked production and the underlying algorithms are adapted to the design, cut and fit of each individual shoe. In addition, innovative processes and sustainable materials such as Digital Light Synthesis are used.

But not only in marketing, also in branding adidas achieves amazing results. In 2015, two years after the release of his album “Yeezus”, adidas started a collaboration with the American rapper and producer Kanye West. While being mocked for the ugly design at the beginning, over the years West’s creation of his Yeezy Boost’s turned the whole industry upside down, leaving behind many competitors desperately copying these shoes unique style. While today the Yeezy Boost sneaker line has been considered as one of the most influential sneaker brands in the world, adidas’ courage in working with West and letting him realize his creative visions totally pays off.

Moreover, adidas’ newest partnership with the environmental organization Parley for the Oceans is already in the starting hole a guaranteed winner of the next innovation race. In this collaboration, focused on taking waste responsibility with positive use of waste, plastic is taken from the ocean and turned into recycled sportswear. While manufacturing over 400 million pairs of shoes every year, adidas is aware of the problems that manufacturing in such a scale requires a lot of resources and constantly creating new materials is damaging the environment. That’s why adidas is breaking new grounds with turning recycled ocean plastic into sportswear. And also, this newest of adidas’ strategies is successful. This year, the company expects to manufacture 11 million pairs of shoes with recycled ocean plastic, doubling the amount of 2018 and preventing 2810 tons of plastic from reaching the oceans.

With recently announcing the FutureCraft.Loop, a 100% recyclable performance shoe which can be returned and broken down to create a new pair, adidas follows its ambitious aim of creating a running shoe that will be never thrown away, marking an end of waste and the beginning of a sustainable future. Not only in this area, where others are claiming to just do it, adidas is really doing it.