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. It allows adidas to address multiple consumer needs, exploit market opportunities from various angles as well as be less affected by one-dimensional market risks. adidas’ commitment to product innovation and its rich heritage differentiates the brand from competitors and provides a solid platform for future growth.
adidas Sport Performance: divisional overview
No other brand has a more distinguished history or stronger connection with sport than adidas; not only where the best meet the very best, like at the FIFA World Cup™ or the NBA All-Star Weekend, but everywhere around the globe where sports are played, watched, enjoyed and celebrated. Everything at adidas reflects the spirit of its founder Adi Dassler. That means adidas intends to inspire, support and equip all athletes in the best possible way to help them achieve their optimal performance.
A perfect example of adidas’ commitment to innovation and getting closer to the consumer is adidas’ miCoach, which combines state-of-the-art training knowledge with a personalised web service and real-time audio coaching via a media player, helping consumers achieve their “impossible” by encouragement and tailoring the training to their personal goals.
Although the adidas Sport Performance division offers products in almost every sports category, the key priorities are:
Football: expanding market leadership
Being the most popular sport worldwide, football is clearly one of adidas’ key strategic priorities. For over 50 years, adidas has led all major developments in football boot and ball technologies. Building on its success around major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup™ and the European Football Championship, the brand strives to increase its leadership position by continuously creating the industry’s top products and fully leveraging its outstanding portfolio of sports marketing partners.
Partners include leading football associations (e.g. FIFA, UEFA), national federations (e.g. Germany, Spain, Russia, South Africa, Greece, Argentina, Mexico, Japan), leagues (e.g. Major League Soccer in the USA), clubs (e.g. Real Madrid, AC Milan, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich, River Plate Buenos Aires) and individual players (e.g. Lionel Messi, Kaká, David Beckham, Michael Ballack).
In 2010, Football will concentrate on leveraging its strong product pipeline with the goal of achieving new record sales of above € 1.3 billion in the category. The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will serve as a focal point for showcasing the brand’s key initiatives. These includes major updates to all three primary football footwear product lines (PREDATOR®, F50, adiPURETM), the introduction of new federation jerseys now ranging in two different forms (classical jersey and body-fitting jersey featuring TECHFIT™), and the official match ball JABULANI. From a marketing perspective, the brand will continue to build on the “EVERY TEAM NEEDS …” campaign established in 2009.
Running: building credibility with high-performance athletes
Running continues to be one of adidas’ highest category priorities and is critical to the brand’s success moving forward.
The brand’s philosophy is to inspire and enable runners on all levels, with the aim to be the most trusted and desired runners’ brand in the world. First and foremost, adidas focuses on building credibility with the high-performance athlete and high-frequency health and fitness runners. This credibility provides a strong foundation to leverage the broader opportunity in the Running category, the casual runner and the young everyday runner where adidas has significant market share opportunities.
To achieve growth and market share increases in this category, in 2010 Running will put in place a three-year product and campaign plan revolving around how adidas can “Make Me Better”. This means helping runners to be faster and stronger by creating innovative solutions that offer individualised motion, climate management and interactivity.
adiSTAR® and Supernova™ offerings will be the lead franchises for core runners with an increased emphasis on building share at specialty and sporting goods stores. In addition, adidas Running will continue its drive to be a key player in the personalised running market with further advances to its miCoach platform which will be included in the key marketing campaign for 2010, “Run Yourself Better”.
Training: creating new consumer experiences
At adidas, Training is the biggest category for both men and women. Training supports the preparation needs of serious athletes across all sports disciplines and is the industry’s largest apparel category. Its positioning is driven by adidas’ desire to support athletes to be “fit to win”. To achieve this goal, Training develops proprietary technologies and commercialises innovations for sport-specific categories to meet the needs of the everyday athlete. For example, in 2009, Training continued to expand athlete usage of its industry-leading TECHFIT™ PowerWEB™ concept, expanding the offering into new sports categories (e.g. basketball), and widening its commercially expanding executions at lower price points.
A key strategic priority for future growth in the Training category is adidas’ dedication to complement its best-in-class product offering with revolutionary new consumer experiences that bring to life the adidas vision to be the leading personalised brand in the world. Throughout 2009, Training intensified its activity with athletes and the world’s leading authorities on athlete performance, to bring the benefits of innovation into its concepts and products.
As a result, in 2010, Training will launch its first true 360° concept – adidas Core Performance. This is a total training range designed to help athletes make the most of their workouts. It includes both tips for training and special training collections. Through a digital training website, adidas Core Performance interacts with consumers, providing exercise guidelines and advice on four key training pillars: mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery.
The four pillars are the centrepoint of Core Performance training principles and help encourage the everyday performer to prepare, fuel, train and rest for success regardless of their training goals. adidas Core Performance will be brought to life at retail through in-store support, print media and activated at grass roots level.
In addition, the site showcases a full range of adidas products which have been created to follow the body in all 360° movements while keeping athletes dry and comfortable.
In addition to this, in 2010 Training will continue to put focus on its performance essentials range through fully integrated business models such as Never-out-of-stock and other managed space initiatives see Global Sales Strategy.
Further focus will also be put on improving quality, increasing colour offerings and strengthening in-store marketing support for the range with well-known athletes such as David Beckham and Maria Kirilenko.
Also Women’s Training, spearheaded by the “adidas by Stella McCartney” concept, which fuses performance and style for the active women’s market, remains a strategic priority.
In 2010, new adidas by Stella McCartney collections redefining traditional sports silhouettes such as triathlon and cycling will be launched. In addition, Women’s Training will continue to build on the success of the “Me, Myself“ campaign, which features real women alongside adidas athletes, such as tennis player Ana Ivanovic or basketball star Candace Parker. This will be used to support product lines such as adilibria, Clima and Yatra.
Basketball: increasing global footprint
adidas is committed to strengthening its position in basketball by expanding its footprint in the critical North American market and capitalising on the growing popularity of the sport in the emerging markets. To achieve this, adidas strives to build brand equity by leveraging its status as the official NBA outfitter, capitalising on relationships with some of the most promising future stars of the NBA, as well as reinforcing its position as a performance brand.
In 2009, adidas Basketball took further steps in these areas. For example, the brand strengthened its highly valued NBA partnership by becoming the official compression brand of the NBA. This exclusivity will serve to garner further global exposure for adidas in the very competitive compression apparel market. In addition, adidas also expanded its on-court NBA partnership rights to new territories that now include Europe, Africa and the Middle East. With the league’s increasing visibility and growing popularity outside of North America, this is a critical vehicle to drive the adidas business forward in emerging basketball markets.
To leverage these partnerships to their full potential, adidas continues to refine and expand its brand marketing initiatives. Celebrating basketball as a brotherhood remains the key theme in its communication for the sport.
In addition, Basketball is also exploiting the latest in digital media technologies, which is taking product messaging and consumer experience to new levels. For example during the adidas Double-Double Tour to China, a market where basketball has overtaken football as the most popular sport, star player Dwight Howard posted personally shot videos, delivered SMS text messages and photos all from his own mobile phone, and the content was aggregated live at www.adidas.com/cn and syndicated out to the most popular social spaces across China. This allowed his millions of fans the chance to experience this event at a level never seen before.
Through expanded global rights from the brand’s NBA partnership, the star power of players such as Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, adidas is well positioned to grow its share of the basketball market worldwide.
Outdoor: the athletic brand in the outdoors
adidas has a long history in outdoor, going back as far as 1978, when adidas and Reinhold Messner developed a new generation of boots which he used to reach the basecamp on his way to become the first man to climb Mount Everest without the help of oxygen equipment. With this heritage and the growth in the outdoor sports sector, adidas has invested in building an authentic and performance-orientated outdoor market position, through such products collections as TERREX and SUPER TREKKING. Given the progress made and the attractive future growth potential, adidas now recognises outdoor as one of its key categories.
A key strategic priority for the category is creating a technology platform with unique features that make the brand stand out from the competition. adidas Outdoor’s key concept is the TERREX product range, which targets athletic-minded outdoor consumers who want to challenge themselves mentally and physically. TERREX stands for lightweight, highly functional outdoor products which allow the consumer to move fast and comfortably through the outdoors. As well as footwear, adidas also offers a holistic product range from head to toe comprising apparel, backpacks and eyewear including latest adidas technologies and renowned partner technologies such as GORE-TEX®, WINDSTOPPER® and Nano-Tex®.
As in other categories, creating mind share, credibility and visibility through partnerships and icons is an important tool to drive market share growth. adidas Outdoor ambassadors and athletes include Thomas and Alexander Huber (also known as the Huber Brothers) – two of the world’s best climbers, Beat Kammerlander (climbing), Bernd Zangerl (bouldering) and other top athletes from various outdoor sports such as kayaking, slack lining, hang gliding and speed flying.
In 2010, adidas will continue to build on its growing momentum in particular with the TERREX product range, which will include highlight products such as the TERREX Lite Softshell jacket as well as the TERREX Fast X FM outdoor boots. These products, as well as the brand’s authenticity, will be promoted by a fully integrated marketing campaign featuring expedition images of the Huber Brothers showcasing the authenticity of the brand and its products, as well as cooperation activities with key retailers in the sporting goods and specialty outdoor channels.
adidas Sport Style: divisional overview
The market for streetwear and lifestyle fashion represents a unique opportunity for sporting goods companies as it is more fragmented and larger in size than the market for products used in sports activity. In addition, profitability in the sports lifestyle market is typically higher as a result of lower product complexity. adidas was the first brand to credibly leverage its sports assets in the lifestyle arena and as a result is regarded as a legitimate sports lifestyle brand. What started as a niche business has developed into a significant contributor to the Group’s top-line development. To best tap the potential of the sports lifestyle market, adidas created a dedicated Sport Style division primarily focused on its Originals and Fashion businesses (e.g. Y-3, Porsche Design Sport).
adidas Originals: from niche to fashion mainstream
The cornerstone of the Sport Style division is adidas Originals: the original lifestyle brand, born in sport heritage but living in contemporary lifestyles. adidas Originals with its Trefoil logo has become a relevant part of many people’s lives, whether they be skaters, rockers, artists, musicians, sneakerheads, sports fans, etc.
With a holistic offering in products and communications, adidas Originals speaks to and engages the youth audience in authentic, creative and new ways with the “Celebrate Originality” philosophy.
To address the needs of its diverse consumer groups and maximise business opportunities, adidas Originals takes a two-tier strategy to brand and product marketing: Statement and Core. Statement product concepts aim to generate buzz and to keep the brand fresh and relevant. Core product concepts aim to generate sales volumes by presenting a constant collection that is uniquely adidas.
In 2009 and looking ahead to 2010, the brand marketing efforts continue to be aimed at winning over that Core consumer. The message of “Celebrate Originality” remains consistent, but as a backdrop the campaign for 2010 takes a close look at the “Street Where Originality Lives”. Once again including musicians, skaters, athletes and even STAR WARS™ characters, this campaign is a clear evolution of the 2008/2009 House Party with a strong focus on not only recognisable celebrities in the crowd, but also on highlighting current Originals products.
In addition, adidas Originals will continue to build a connection with teenage consumers and is now using a constant stream of digital content to keep them interested 365 days per year (for example on Facebook, adidas Originals already has over 2 million fans). This is an exciting area for the brand’s consumers and an area where adidas Originals is currently a leader.
The Fashion Group: adidas is fashion
In 2002, adidas entered high-end fashion, collaborating for the first time with one of the most innovative and highly regarded global designers: Yohji Yamamoto. Creating the Y-3 brand, adidas combined the worlds of fashion and sports, making adidas a true pioneer in the field of sport-inspired, high-end, premium fashion.
adidas is now actively looking to leverage its fashion credibility to grow its sports lifestyle business in new price points and distribution channels. With collaborations such as Y-3 and Porsche Design Sport already at the top of the fashion pyramid, in 2009 adidas introduced adidas SLVR to expand its presence among mid-price-point consumers, while at the same time further expanding adidas Style Essentials to capture a younger, more price-conscious consumer.
adidas identified that there is a market need for sophisticated, classic, yet fresh and confident sportswear that lasts longer than one season. adidas SLVR will fulfil this need. Since launching adidas SLVR in February 2009, adidas has opened stand-alone retail locations in New York, Paris and Bangkok. adidas SLVR is also carried in all major adidas brand centres in Berlin, Beijing, Paris as well as in adidas online stores in the USA and Europe. In 2009, adidas SLVR was also introduced to wholesale partners in Japan. In 2010, adidas SLVR’s distribution base will be widened, including its introduction to wholesale partners in the United States.
Incorporating footwear, apparel and accessories, adidas Style E ssentials focuses on young, style-adopting consumers that shop at volume distribution channels and at more accessible price points. It capitalises on existing trends and brings them to market more rapidly than traditional sporting goods timelines.
adidas Style Essentials is primarily distributed through mono-branded stores in Asia and through key account partners in North America, most European countries and Japan.
All these labels have allowed adidas to address all consumer and distribution options in the sportswear arena. Y-3, adidas SLVR and adidas Style Essentials all bear the same logo, making it easier for the consumer to recognise that this is the brand’s fashion offering from adidas.