5 Marketing Lessons to Learn From Adidas India
When you set out to celebrate something that your customers enjoy, the world joins in. Adidas embodies this philosophy with its eons-old marketing prowess that has helped it emerge as a globally loved brand. Adidas India marketing also falls in with the strategic vision of the brand, tailored for its local demographic.
Exceptional marketing kept Adidas India relevant even amidst the turbulence brought by the pandemic. At a time when most product companies were suffering, Adidas booked consistent profits. The company saw an operating profit of 66 million euros in 2021, expected to double in 2022. The company has also seen a 16% hike in currency-neutral revenue.
Behind this unwavering position in the industry, Adidas’s marketing strategy has a huge role. So, let’s uncover some important marketing lessons from the Indian wing of the sportswear giant.
What Is the Digital Marketing Strategy of Adidas?
Adidas has always strived to connect with its customers beyond the points of purchase. It is a brand that started when there was no trace of the digital revolution in 1924. Despite a world war and several deadly economic crises, the brand managed to sustain and grow its business. The credit goes to their ability to adapt.
Adidas hopped on the digital wagon at the right time and ingrained its key marketing principles in digital media. The brand uses several weapons in its marketing arsenal that help it track multi-faceted across its digital channels.
From brilliant influencer marketing to collaborations with other brands such as Sony PlayStation, Adidas has an all-rounder approach to digital marketing. No wonder it is one of the most followed athletics brands online, with a presence on almost all social platforms.
Here are some insights into the digital marketing strategy of Adidas.
● Adidas has diversified its online presence for its different products and campaigns. This is done to create a close-knit community of loyal users around the products. A sub-page of the brand, Adidas Originals, has, in fact, more followers than the main Adidas account.
● Adidas actively takes a stand on social causes and advocates for issues its customers care about. Most of their campaigns revolve around this narrative.
● They run targeted Google Display and Search ads for their bestselling products. Paid local advertising is an important feature of its digital strategy.
● The brand relies heavily on influencer marketing to connect with Gen Z and Millennial customers. From sportspeople to movie stars, they pick the most recognized faces in the digital space to advocate for their products.
5 Lessons from Adidas India Marketing
Here are some important lessons every marketer can take away from the Adidas’s marketing plan:
1. Be where your audience Is
Adidas India marks its presence in places where its customers are most active. Whether prime-time television or online communities, the brand has captured spaces to stay relevant among its target demographic.
Sean Van Wyk, Senior Marketing Director of Adidas India, says that the brand actively studies how and where the customers consume content. It happens in two spaces – offline and online experiences. Adidas’s marketing strategy involves a human experience in its physical stores, with a highly service-driven staff.
When it comes to online marketing, Adidas takes it a step further. The brand doesn’t believe in the spray and pray strategy. They identify every online platform’s unique features and deliverables to leverage them for its marketing initiatives.
For example, the brand uses platforms like Facebook to gain useful intelligence about consumer behavior. YouTube and Instagram, on the other hand, serve as paid channels with very high ROI.
Adidas’s marketing plan uses Twitter as a microblogging platform that helps amplify information about company events or stir conversations around the brand. Their digital presence isn’t just limited to these conventional channels. Adidas was also one of India’s first brands to use Snapchat ads.
2. Partner with influencers that represent brand personality
Adidas India has one of the best influencer marketing strategies among consumer goods companies. The brand’s inclination towards influencer marketing dates back to its initial years of inception.
Jesse Owens went on to win four gold medals at the Summer Olympics, 1936, wearing Adidas shoes. In the second half of the 20th century, Adidas started one of the most famous campaigns of all times – ‘Impossible is Nothing.’ The brand featured globally renowned boxer Muhammad Ali and his daughter Laila Ali.
Apart from global faces, Adidas India actively seeks representation through Indian names in sports and media. They ran a social media campaign, ‘Yoga With Adidas,’ featuring Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone. They also collaborated with Ranveer Singh for its special lines of merch.
The Indian iteration of the ‘Impossible is Nothing’ campaign spotlights Indian athletes and sportspeople. Influencers like Sandesh Jhingan, Nikhat Zareen, and Rohit Sharma have advocated the brand. The main motive behind engaging with influencers is utilizing their brand value and what they represent.
Adidas’s marketing strategy caters to Gen Z and Millennials as their target demographics. These generations spend most of their time online and look up to the lifestyle of their favorite influencers. The brand tries to channel this loyalty into a strong customer base for its products in India.
3. Take a stand for causes that matter
Adidas practices what we call responsible marketing. They understand their platforms’ reach and potential and actively use their resources to take a stand for causes that matter to their customers.
Let’s recount some of the most impactful social campaigns Adidas’s marketing plan supported:
- When Nike launched its ‘Don’t do it’ campaign video to speak against racial discrimination and police brutality, Adidas hopped on the wagon. The brand took a brave step and shared the campaign video of its greatest competitor. It won the hearts of Adidas customers and reestablished the values the brand stands by.
- Adidas advocates for sustainable business practices across its entire supply chain. The company has backed high-impact initiatives around water conservation, energy usage, and workers’ rights. Their marketing communication is quite transparent about the environmental impact (positive or negative) that they leave.
- The company doesn’t shy away from taking bold stances against the status quo. At the launch of a new sports bra, Adidas celebrated body positivity by posting a collage of breasts of different shapes and sizes. Although the ad sparked much criticism, it started a conversation around an issue that affects every six women out of 10.
Many marketers tiptoe around social issues to avoid upsetting certain sections of their audience. According to a study by MNI, more than half of Gen Z respondents expected brands to take a firm stand on social causes. So, strive to be the voice of change for your customers to help them identify with you better.
4. Never lose sight of your core values
At the heart of the brand, Adidas celebrates sports culture. Their core values include “performance, passion, integrity, and diversity.” Adidas’s marketing strategy also inculcates these values in the campaigns they design. Through the products and experiences they create, the brand keeps reinforcing these values in the customers’ minds.
The brand’s spokespeople, from leaders to influencers Adidas India works with, also resonate with these values. These are people who deliver performance and show passion for what they do.
The campaigns Adidas runs celebrate diverse people from all walks of life. From Paralympics to women in sports, they provide their customers with an inclusive experience.
Adidas has also built thriving communities of customers and stakeholders who live these values daily. Their customers respect the brand and stay loyal because the relationship becomes much more than exchanging tangible products. They share a human connection with the brand and consider it integral to their identity.
Adidas India marketing is an excellent example of how values tie together a community of customers spanning over decades. So, go ahead and think deeply about the values that your company identifies with. Ask yourself why and how your customers can share these values with the brand. Make these values an anchor to all your marketing efforts.
5. Take small steps to monumental goals
People often underestimate how planned, well-coordinated, and measured a good marketing strategy should be. Adidas’s marketing plan is no exception.
Their team doesn’t wake up daily and decide what campaigns they want to run. No matter how free-flowing and on-the-spur-of-the-moment any campaign seems, a lot goes on behind the curtains.
The goals that the Adidas India marketing team wants to achieve are set not weeks, not months, but years ago. The company follows a five-year plan for its marketing goals and tailors every activity around it. The last five-year plan was called ‘Create the New’ and ran until 2020. The brand’s growth strategy was focused on speed of product delivery, identifying key cities of operation, and open-sourcing its product design process.
The current five-year plan of Adidas, also called the ‘Own the Game,’ will run till 2025. Adidas’s marketing strategy for these five years will revolve around digital transformation, embracing innovation, prioritizing sustainability, enhancing customer experience, and increasing brand credibility. The company is steadily tailoring its marketing activities to be on the right path to achieving these goals.
Marketing activities result in maximum ROI when you align every campaign to the organization’s long-term strategic vision. Haywire marketing efforts not only lose money but harm the brand value irreparably. Customers will likely stick to your brand when they see consistent values, themes, and attributes reinforced in all marketing campaigns.
Paving the Way for Digital Transformation
Its five-year plan has increased its focus on promoting its D2C e-commerce sales channels. The expected revenue from e-commerce is expected to be doubled by 2025. The brand is also digitizing its physical stores to create omnichannel experiences for its customers.
To achieve its goal of rapid digital transformation, Adidas will be investing close to $1 billion. The investment will be used to digitize all processes in the brand’s supply chain eventually. From creating products using 3D tech to selling the final products, most processes will be vastly tech-enabled by 2025. A new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, S/4HANA, is also in the works.
As the new phase of the internet unfolds, we are likely to see groundbreaking innovation in the products and marketing assets of the company. New tech platforms, athlete data management tools, and efficient feedback systems are some innovations we can see by the end of 2025.
Product companies can study the digitization efforts of Adidas and get valuable insights on preparing for the new digital revolution. It will help business leaders and marketers set manageable goals and envision the growth of their marketing activities.
● The Adidas India marketing strategy is focused on a multi-channel presence in the digital space. The brand strides with emerging technologies to enhance the experience of its customers.
● Besides traditional media, Adidas actively engages with its customers on social platforms. It uses different platforms to leverage its unique features for its marketing efforts. Any business needs to understand where their customers are and how they consume content.
● Influencer marketing has brought overwhelming results for the brand over the years. Adidas’s marketing strategy includes engaging with celebrities and sportspeople who embody the brand personality.
● Companies can identify influencers who fit well with their brand values to reach more customers.
● Consumers today are aware, and people in younger generations expect brands to take a stand for important social causes. Adidas does an exceptional job of brand activism and uses its platform to amplify the voices of its customers.
● It’s harmful to brands today to be ambiguous about social causes. Clear and firm stances on important issues increase brand authenticity.
● Marketing is just a shot in the dark without long-term goals segmented into short-term outcomes. Adidas’s marketing strategy is aligned with the 5-year plans that the leadership comes up with every half a decade. All the marketing activities are just small steps that take the brand close to these goals.
Learning Phenomenal Marketing Lessons from Adidas
That’s it, there goes, the secret recipe to the success of one of our generation’s most iconic sportswear brands.
Although it seems like a cakewalk to build a trustworthy brand, it’s anything but. Adidas has also had its fair share of hits and trials. But their long-term optimistic outlook and strategic intelligence amply support their marketing efforts.
You can also build a strong brand by learning from the best. But always leave room for mistakes and innovation, eventually leading to growth.
Adidas’s marketing strategy includes the usage of both traditional and digital media. The brand is actively involved in all spheres of online marketing, including paid ads, influencer collaborations, social media marketing, search marketing, event marketing, and more.
Being a product company, Adidas’s main objectives are retention and market share growth. Their marketing activities aim to effectively communicate the brand’s value proposition to its existing and potential customers.
Adidas’s current brand tagline is “Impossible is Nothing.” It is a strong embodiment of the brand personality and captures the essence of the values it was built on. The slogan was taken from the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
Adidas is active on almost all major social media channels. Apart from the main page where the company shares updates on new products, they have also created sub-pages for individual lines of products. This helps loyal users of a certain product stay updated with the latest offers and additions to the line.
Adidas loves building experiences for its customers through all points of interaction. Their physical stores try to recreate the expectations that their online activities form in the minds of consumers. They continuously innovate and seek consumer feedback to keep bringing the best quality to the market.