A Report on Internet-based Marketing Efforts by Adidas Brand

Internet-based marketing efforts of the Adidas brand compared to two leading competitors in its market segments of athletic wear and fashion. Creative interactive enhancements will be proposed to increase Adidas customer engagement awareness against its competitors

Introduction:

The value of social media and networks really boils down to what we do with the resources we have available within the social media networks as well as the engagement levels between the marketing communication or product campaigns and the targeted audience. In this paper, we will be looking at the internet-based marketing efforts of the Adidas brand compared to two leading competitors in its market segments of athletic wear and fashion; Nike and Puma. Creative interactive enhancements will be proposed to increase Adidas’ customer engagement awareness against its competitors.

 

Company Background:

Adidas was founded in 1954 and is based in Germany. It became Adidas-Salomon AG in 1997. In 2006, Adidas-AG acquired Reebok and continued forging its position as one of the top athletic brands in the world. The company has three main brands which are Adidas, TaylorMade and Reebok. Each of these brands have signature campaigns and merchandise but the focus of this paper will be on the Adidas brands and campaigns. The Adidas Group’s mission is to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry while providing their users brands that are built on a passion for sports and a sporting lifestyle. As clearly stipulated on the Adidas website, “…adidas’ mission is to be the leading sports brand in the world. One major lever to achieve this is the brand’s broad and unique product portfolio spanning from apparel and footwear for professional athletes to premium fashion”. The two main groups in the Adidas Sport Style are the Originals Group (Adidas Original label) and the Fashion Group (Adidas Y-3, Adidas Porsche Design Sport, Adidas SLVR and Adidas NEO labels).

Top Competitors:

The two top competitors for Adidas are Nike and Puma. According to BusinessWeek (2006), Adidas, based in Germany, was ranked 71 in the top 100 global brands and valued at $4.2 Billion. Its biggest rival in the sporting goods industry is Nike that competes with Adidas every four years to be the number 1 sponsor of the Soccer World Cup with the world’s largest audience.

Nike on the other hand according to the same source (Businessweek, 2006) was ranked 31 in the top 100 global brands and valued at $10.8 Billion. Its archrival and highest competitor is Adidas as well and is based in the USA.

The second competitor of Adidas is Puma based in Germany. It was created when brothers Rudi and Adi Dassler split their family business into Adidas and Puma. In December, 2010, the company brought in sales of $3,586.5 Million experiencing a growth rate of 1.7% in sales. In that same year, Puma was worth $1.8 Billion behind Adidas that was worth $4.6 Billion. Nike was worth more than the Puma and Adidas combined with a value of $9.7 Billion.

Adidas Promotional Efforts:

In order to show its fan base and targeted audience that Adidas is setting the pace when it comes to sports, Adidas launched the All in Campaign in March of 2011; besides numerous social network pages, sites and channels. This campaign meant Adidas is all in in every sport. The campaign was meant to decrease the distance between itself and Nike which is Adidas’ arch rival. The campaign was also launched to target high school students. In order to bring in an interactive component between the campaign, the brand and the target audience, activity on the Adidas Facebook was increased and fans were asked to upload their best game faces for a chance to be on a special TV commercial with other Adidas stars such as Snoop Dogg, Leonel Messi, Dwight Howard, David Beckham, etc. In a March 22 2011 article on Adidas News Stream, the brand surprised kids in Franklin High School with a surprised performance by hip-hop group, Far East Movement, to capture local kids’ game faces for the chance to be in an Adidas commercial. As a fundamental goal, the All in Campaign was designed to increase sales from 45% to 50% by 2015. Will this goal be met? The only way to gauge this will be through some of the activities and actions the brand is taking towards increasing its customer base and making its brand more appealing to its customers.

Customer engagement offerings can be noticed all over the internet. Adidas brands always have promotional deals as well as coupons that are offered on store websites and social media sites. Discount codes and coupons are also shared to brand users on Google+ where 3842 people have Adidas Originals in their circles. The Adidas website is very interactive and well laid out for shopping. The shopping experience is easy and gives you the opportunity to share your purchase on Facebook. With the miadidas style, you get to customize your shoe according to your preference which increases customer engagement making each shopping experience unique.

Adidas Social Media Activities:

Social media activities for the Adidas brands are spread across multiple social networking sites. The Adidas Company Facebook page alone has 6,218,374 likes and 453,458 fans talking about the brand. The Adidas Originals group alone has more presence with 13,194,992 likes and 318,200 fans talking about that particular brand of Adidas. The newly introduced youthful NEO Label that is still to hit stores in the USA has a presence of 193,620 likes with 7,516 fans talking about the brand. On Facebook, Adidas definitely has its audience engaged due to the remarkable activities but there is still room for desired engagement from audience. Notably, there is no integration with their Twitter and/or blogs to provide consistent communication to their audiences across the Twitter and Facebook platforms.

The YouTube pages for both Adidas and its NEO Label brand have 13,032,681 and 198,597 video views respectively. They also have 16,412 and 169 subscribers respectively. With all this video subscription and viewership, there was no sign of integration of communication between the YouTube and Facebook pages. Facebook and Twitter functionalities were not utilized on the YouTube pages to link up their audience on the other platforms.

On the Twitter platform, Adidas has 11,410 followers while the NEO Label has 1,214 followers. Twitter being the biggest mobile platform gives Adidas an opportunity to reach its audience on the go as well as a means for the customers to share their Adidas styles.

Adidas also has a presence on LinkedIn with 43,913 followers. Having such a presence on a professional network gives the brand an opportunity to reach influential market and style changers such as bloggers and executives in high rankings of fashion magazines and clothing companies. This is also a platform for the brand to integrate its brand and campaign communications. The absence of such Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) could cause a significant disconnect between these two levels of customers.

On their Google+ platform, 3842 people have Adidas Originals in their circles. This is another presence which should be leveraged in terms of integrating marketing communication. Sharing one and the same messages and communication from this platform to the others where Adidas has a presence will help the brand message to be consistent and the brand story to stay alive. Adidas has several blogs with very little customer interaction. There is a lot corporate communication on blogs with little feedback from the audience which can either mean the audience is disconnected from brand communication or the audience just doesn’t care enough what the blog topics are to leave comments.

Contrast with Competitors:

Social Networking Sites

In contrast to Adidas with 13,194,992 likes and 318,200 for its Originals Group, Nike has only 7.6 Million likes on Facebook with 593,561 people talking about the brand. Puma on the other hand has a presence with 6,835,002 likes and 127,940 fans talking about the brand. Facebook, Adidas has more presence.

On YouTube, compared to Adidas with 13,032,681 video views and 16,412 subscribers, Nike tops the presence with 95,623,306 video views and 118,915 subscribers. Puma on the other hand has a the second highest video views of 14,067,953 and the lowest subscribers of 7,633. Worth noting is the fact that Nike and Puma have their Twitter and Facebook pages, respectively, linked to their YouTube channels providing cross platform communication which could be a reason for the high video views. Adidas is not utilizing any of these two functionalities which could be hurting their campaign communication.

On twitter, Nike has the highest number of followers, 283,777 followed by Puma with 40,775 and Adidas with 11,410 followers. The reason for this low following could result from a number of things one of which could be the lack of integrated marketing communication. Linking their Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blog pages will result in transfer of communication across all these platforms at the same time for a more consistent information sharing.

On the Google+ platform, Adidas has more presence with 3,842 people with Adidas in their circles. Puma comes second in 1,183. Nike does not have any page on Google+ but has the highest following on LinkedIn with 96,922 followers followed by Adidas with 43,913 followers and Puma with 13,150 followers. None of the three brands is actively using the Twitter functionality available on this platform to streamline their campaign communications to their professional audience.

Website Design

All three websites are well designed and very interactive. The Nike site especially is well segmented narrowing the visitor to their appropriate location from the first click. Adidas and Puma sites also offer store location based services but you will have to look for the button. Product information is very easy to locate. The sites are complemented by high quality videos and photos of stars and campaign icons. The sites really engage the visitor to spend more time and discover other aspects of the brands. It was very interesting that when I searched all three sites, the first link that showed up was the shopping sight which tells me a great deal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been done by all three brands.

 

E-commerce Activities

The shopping activities on all three websites are well supported by well-designed sites. All three sites are very interactive. The three websites offer unique shopping experiences where the shopper can customize their own product which makes the shopping experience very unique.

Suggested Interactive Enhancements:

There is no doubt that Adidas as a company has a lot to offer its customer base but the style of communication between the marketing team and the customers is not consistent. In my research, I realized the company has so many websites with company and brand information. However, there was no unique platform for fans and customers to engage on all Adidas brands at the same time. The campaign messages need to be integrated, concise, coherent and complementary across all the social media sites and networks. Creative interactive enhancements used will have to complement the campaign messages. Some suggestions are made below on how Adidas can make sure it’s messages are consistent across the main social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress Blog. The big focus here is Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). As a case study, Show Your Stripes Campaign has been created that has as main goal the engagement of customers and the launch of a new brand in US stores.

Adidas Show Your Stripes Blog:

The first enhancement component that was created was a blog where customers can freely talk about their favorite brands and for the brand itself to update the customers on their product. This is a one stop shop for information and for brand users to show how the brand affects their daily lifestyles. Just because a customer is interested in Adidas Originals does not mean they cannot get interested in NEO products being launched in Germany. A simple but well-designed platform providing product information on the various brands at the same time is an added enhancement for engagement. For an integrated feel across the social networking sites, Twitter and LinkedIn functionalities were utilized to post blog campaign posts on both platforms at the same time.

New Show Your Stripes Campaign:

Show Your Stripes Campaign seeks to integrate the communication between the Adidas brand campaigns. It seeks to promote the brand in the USA in a more integrated fashion across social media sites. The campaign will be daily themed with a tentative launch date in Los Angeles. A possible location could be the Adidas store on 1231 Third St. Promenade, Santa Monica, CA, 90401 where Brand Ambassadors will be selected from each Adidas brands. Out of the selected ambassadors, one of them will be chosen by public participation on the Show Your Stripes Blog. 7 webisodes will them be filmed titled “A week in Stripes” featuring the winning ambassador in which the ambassador will document how Adidas affects their life style on a daily basis. These webisodes will be shared on the social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the Adidas Show Your Stripes blog.

The campaign also seeks to promote the new youthful Adidas brand called the Adidas NEO. A tentative launch date in four months will give the company an idea of how much interest US customers have to experience the brand. If successful, the company will be able to know where exactly a store can be opened in the US in addition to the 12 that were newly launched in Germany this year. Claire Midwood, Vice President Adidas Neo Label, says the brand’s strategy is “new definitions, a new concept and new spirit. Everything we do is based on this theme and we are very happy being able to offer products and in-store experiences which reflect this very idea“. Having a platform such as the blog will give the NEO label a diverse platform for them to talk about their in store shopping experience where shoppers can take a picture of the product with in store cameras and share directly with friends on sites like Facebook for feedback. Such experience and information will definitely interest other Adidas customers of other brands on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Integrated Social Networking Sites:

Even though Adidas already has social networking sites, they were not integrated for uniform information sharing. Information across existing platforms could be viewed as standalone messages for specific brands and product styles. The YouTube, Twitter, WordPress and LinkedIn pages that were created for the Adidas Share Your Stripes Campaign are linked to the blog using existing functionalities. Any message posted on the blog for any of the Adidas product groups is automatically shared on Twitter and LinkedIn. It also has the capability of posting directly on Facebook. This integrated marketing communication strategy is missing in current Adidas campaigns on social networking sites.

Online Polls on blog:

Another enhancement feature to increase brand engagement on the newly created blog are polls for the Adidas brands. These polls are created to ask customers simple and interesting questions on their favorable brand styles. The two polls that have been created on the blog will keep the customers and blog visitors engaged on the brand. Visitors and participants will be able to view poll results and even leave comments on the polls.

Embedded video in blog:

The blog also offers visitors informative and entertaining video capabilities on existing, current and future brand campaigns. On some Adidas blogs of, the company talks about its future designs on Adidas footwear. Such information and videos of the concept will keep the interest growing that specific brand. If the Show Your Stripes Campaign has videos to share with its audience, the blog will be a good platform besides YouTube. Any new video posts will be shared immediately on Twitter and LinkedIn connecting and informing audiences on both platforms at the same time.

Adidas Show Your Stripes Campaign Webisode:

The campaign is designed to end with the selected ambassador doing webisodes. As mentioned above, 7 webisodes will them be filmed titled “A week in Stripes” featuring the winning ambassador in which the ambassador will document how Adidas affects their life style on a daily basis. These webisodes will be shared on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the Adidas Show Your Stripes blog. This way, brand campaign information and communication can be fully integrated across social networking platforms for the maximum impact and engagement.

By Gerard Ngwang

for CMGT 555

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