Making Adidas number one is 'not a sprint, it's a marathon', says CEO

Adidas is on track to turn around its brand in key markets in North America and Europe, helped by major campaigns such as Reebok's 'Be More Human'.

Adidas: Gareth Bale in 'There will be haters'
Adidas: Gareth Bale in 'There will be haters'

CEO Herbert Hainer said of the turnaround: "Elevating brand desirability is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

"Therefore we will of course continue to inspire young athletes with cutting edge innovation and focus marketing campaigns to tell our brand stories."

Adidas stepped up its marketing spend in the third quarter last year, in an attempt to eke more market share from the global sportswear leader, Nike. Adidas currently sits at number three in the US, behind Under Armour. CEO Hainer is set to leave Adidas in 2017.

Releasing its first quarter results this week, Adidas saw operating expenses up 15% year on year to €1.7bn £1.25bn, largely due to a "significant increase" in marketing spend.

Creating the new

This increase is part of Adidas’ major strategy shift, called 'Creating the new', to‘speed, cities and open source’. In practice, speed means bringing products faster to market, helped by investment in online channels, in response to consumer demand rather than the company’s own production cycles.

Cities refers to Adidas intention to "over-proportionally" invest in six key, growing cities across the globe -  Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo.

And an open source strategy refers to building brand advocacy in partnership with consumers, exemplified by Adidas’ recent partnership with Spotify. The pair have produced an app called Adidas Go, which makes use of an iPhone’s accelerometer to match a runner’s music to their pace.

Hainer said: "We are moving away from a static and reactive planning process to one that is Iterative, agile, proactive. This puts us in a position where we can and will constantly evolve as we listen to our consumers." 

Adidas reported a 17% year on year rise in sales to €4.1bn (£3 billion), beating analyst forecasts. 


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