Adidas to create ‘influencer network’ as it aims to become top football brand

Adidas is looking to establish an ‘influencer network’ to engage with its football consumers, one of a number of moves announced today as part of its new business plan which it hopes will see Adidas Football and Originals become top brands globally.

At an investor event today (24 June) Adidas announced an aim for its Football and Originals categories to lead in every market by 2020, the next step in the ‘Creating the new’ business strategy it introduced earlier this year.

The company says it will focus on footwear to grow its football business at a mid single-digit rate each year in an effort to make the brand the “number one in the world”.

This will involve creating “football destinations” in key cities and setting up grassroots programmes, according to the brand.

It will also involve the creation of an “influencer network”, which the brand says “will allow closer interaction with the consumer, who will be an integral part of the product and content creation going forward”.

In March the brand said it would focus marketing spend on six global cities and ramp up co-creation efforts in a bid to increase “brand desirability”.

More recently, it overhauled its football business by retiring its entire football range in May and introducing a new line of products, the X and ACE, a move that it said was part of its efforts to adapt to the changing game of football which has a “new set of rules”.

Speaking on today’s announcement, Markus Baumann, General Manager of Adidas Football, said: “Since the beginning of this year, we have reinvented our football business by discontinuing our former football boot silos, and brought two completely new footwear models to market to better serve the needs of today’s players: X and ACE. We are convinced that this new approach will strengthen our position in football footwear.”

The company also said it expects sales in its Running category to double by 2020 as it centers on “energy running” and focusing on “key cities” that represent the largest running communities.

Meanwhile, sales for Adidas Originals are expected to increase by 50% by 2020 according to the brand, which it hopes will make it “the most influential and connected sportswear brand in street culture in every market by 2020”.

The company said it will “significantly expand its business” with new sneakers, collaborations such as its tie up with rapper Kanye West, limited editions as well as its own direct-to-consumer channel.

It will also open over 30 new flagship stores globally.

Adidas’ first quarter results showed that currency-neutral footwear sales had increased by 18%, mainly due to double-digit sales growth in the running and football categories.

Group sales had also increased by 9% on a currency neutral basis with sales of the Adidas brand up by 11%.


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Adidas is thinking big with football overhaul, but the strategy contradicts its recent moves

Alison Millington

After launching a major football boot campaign with “Haters” in January, appointing a new global creative agency in March and announcing a new strategy earlier this month, Adidas appears to be aware of the challenges it faces from competitors. However, its announcement this week that it will retire its entire existing line of football boots appears somewhat contradictory to its more recent moves.


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