Is Adidas Branding in Participation Better than the Rest?

By Kristen Scott and Jose Gonzales

In order for consumers to decide whether Adidas brand positioning in participation is superior to its competitors, consumers must first understand what “participation” actually is and who and why it matters to.

Originally, marketers focused on identifying and satisfying their customers’ needs and expectations by defining the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. However, with social media changing the way consumers interact on different platforms, it became clear that another term needed to define this newly founded behavior. As a result, participation came to life bridging the gap between the consumer and business to create a platform where a more personal level of engagement could take place. This interaction is imperative as brands seek to increase sales and satisfy consumers in an overly saturated market where an increasingly number of brands seek the attention of consumers through social outlets. Therefore, the quest for the post-purchase stage of building and maintaining brand loyalty has never been more dynamic.

For example, the majority of Adidas’ revitalization can be attributed to their successful adoption of influencer marketing. Consumers have shown that traditional branding strategies are outdated and that they desire to participate more in company’s narrative. This advantage of influencer marketing not only increases brand awareness and drives social growth but has left 84% of companies behind as they work towards implementing their influencer marketing campaigns in the next 12 months (Mediakix, 2016).

Adidas usage of theme/ hashtag and creative influencer campaigns are the primary reasons to why consumers perceive Adidas as fresh, modern, inclusive, and even personable. Two years ago, Adidas Originals’ re-release of the Stan Smith, the American tennis player in the 60’s to 80s, as a sneaker “with the importance in global subcultures, streetwear, and fashion” allowing Adidas to open its archives to a wider audience for the very first time (Sandison, 2016). Specifically, Adidas launched a campaign on Twitter that allowed consumers “to have their own likeness made up in the green and white of the Stan Smith tongue artwork,” making consumers feel as though they were part of the story and the campaign.

From there, consumers were able to network with celebrities and Adidas collaborators in order to rejuvenate Adidas’ brand. Partnerships have included Pharrell Williams and his take on Superstar and Stan Smith, creations of Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto, Stella McCartney, and the most recent campaign: Kate Moss-endorsed by Gazelle. Push T created two solid limited EQT release while Paul Pogba settled a long-drawn out commercial dispute by signing with Adidas and by obtaining the soccer world’s attention (Sandison, 2016). NBA player, James Harden, received the opportunity to tease social media of his shoe game after signing a $200M deal which was said to let the stars do the legwork, provide the numbers, and essentially convert the unconverted idea that Adidas Originals were making a comeback (Sandison, 2016).

Another fairly recent partnership that has invigorated the Adidas brand has been with Kanye West’s Yeezy’s and Adidas Originals. Kanye’s branding package is a force to be reckoned with as he capitalizes on his entrepreneurial style, self-promotion, no-nonsense attitude towards detractors and rivals. As an extra bonus Kanye is able to reach additional followers from utilizing his wife, Kim Kardashian social networking platform (Sandison, 2016).

Finally, the Adidas’ 2015 Neo marketing campaign was able to further differentiate itself from its competitors by successfully executing a trendy and youthful initiative that demonstrated the brands strength in establishing their “it” factor. Adidas used hashtag #MyNeoShoot, which used social media in two specific ways: 1. “To boost brand awareness and increase Adidas’ social media following and 2. To cultivate and engage with Adidas Neo brand ambassadors by inviting Instagram users to participate in the creative campaign.” This direct participation allowed Adidas to raise awareness by appealing to the millennial generation by having Selena Gomez endorse the brand through her Instagram page. The campaign #MyNeoShoot generated “12,000 entries, accrued more than 71,000 mentions and gained 41,000 new followers” (MediaKix. 2016).

With these high profile celebrity collaborations, one must ask themselves, “What is the best method in participation that would result in creating loyal, long-lasting targeted consumers?”

This post was created as part of the Global Textile Brand Management and Marketing course in the College of Textiles at the North Carolina State University. #NCStateTextiles.

Mediakix. (2016). The 5 Different Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns.
Mediakix. (n.d.). Case Study: How Adidas’ Instagram Campaign Generated Massive User Engagement. Mediakix:
Sandison. (2016, July 25). Adidas Is Trying to Take Over the Sneaker World Through Social Media. Complex: (2014, November 13). Social media marketing-the 5th “P” of marketing mix. Socialtransforms: Social media marketing how to and knowhow: