Simon Atkins, Brand Director of Adidas North America, has taken the brand on a journey from having fallen behind its customers, to once again being a leader. Realising that consumers are now empowered by their access to digital and mobile, Adidas embarked on a, “mini cultural revolution” in the way they approached their increasingly mobile consumers.
Atkins describes the three realisations that they came upon. Firstly that the consumer is in command, secondly, that the consumer needs to hear a single voice, and thirdly, that the cultural shift that putting the first two points in place would be huge.
The Consumers is in Command
The consumer is in command in the current retail climate, because they now dictate the trends. Rather than having the buyers and merchandisers dictate the trends and timing of product launches, blogs and influencers create a demand for products worldwide.
Adidas realised that they would have to shift from local launches to global launches, which has meant making changes to supply-chain coordination, marketing and publishing.
Showing up on searches such as ‘limited edition sneakers’ and ‘basketball shoes’ has become a priority for Adidas, as has becoming mobile optimised, with frictionless, seamless checkout online and on mobile.
Single Voice Across Multi-Channels
The customer needs to hear a single voice is changing the way in which Adidas teams are working together.
In the past, eCommerce teams would work on conversion, whilst brand divisions focused on awareness and interest completely separately. The new Adidas is combining these efforts, becoming more aware of how they work in tandem to engage their consumers.
The launch of their Ultraboost sneaker was a test to see how this strategy would work. First Adidas sent out a brand message (an inspiring video about running and fitness), which was followed up with an eCommerce message that drove customers to the site to make a purchase. This experiment saw great results, with a 75x increase in effectiveness in conversion rates.
Another way that Adidas is creating a unified brand and message, is by giving all of their teams the same KPIs, which focus how each section of the brand can play their part in increasing traffic, conversion, acquisition and retention.
An Intense Cultural Shift
The cultural shift that this requires is intense because both of the above points require a total reimagining of what marketing, branding and retail is all about. Atkins notes that,
“I’ve been involved in marketing since 1994, and the way our world has changed in the last two to three years is more dramatic than I’ve ever seen. The systematic cultural and organisational shift needed to keep up with these changes goes right to the heart of how you function.”
Shifting from spending money on TV ads to digital felt like a drastic move, but the numbers prove that it was the right thing to do as it resulted in a 31% growth in sales.
Atkins concludes by saying that,
“The entire craft is changing, and marketers have an opportunity to serve and advise consumers in the moments when they allow a brand into their lives. If we can do that, we’ll have no trouble keeping up with our consumers—today and in 2020.”