As Nicholas Ind, Oriol Iglesias, and Majken Schultz wrote in strategy + business, Adi Dassler, a cobbler by training and a keen sportsman observed athletes, talked to them about their needs and then experimented with novel ways of solving their problems. Dassler engaged an iterative process that relied on prototyping and testing and evolving production innovations.
Dassler acquired his first patent on a pair of running shoes in 1925, and three years later, a runner wearing his shoes won an Olympic gold. In 1936, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in Dassler’s shoes.
During Adi Dassler’s lifetime, his company, adidas continued to expand and develop new markets and sports. But the company always united by Adi’s belief in “only the best for the athlete” and his philosophy of industrialized craftsmanship created a stream of innovative products.
Today, the value of authenticity and a deep understanding of the brand also extend into innovative partnerships. adidas selects partners largely by their potential for alignment with the values and philosophy of the company.
Radical designs have opened new audiences and sales channels while encouraging adidas’s designers to be more adventurous.
Credit: Zak Noyle/A-Frame/Parley for the Oceans
As Steve Vincent, Senior Vice President of adidas future, says, “That’s the challenge—to do completely disruptive things that no one ‘s ever seen or expected but still feel like they should come from this brand.”
Along comes PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS, an organization dedicated to reducing plastic waste in oceans. Parley’s collaboration with adidas designers led to a 3D-printed concept shoe made out of recycled ocean plastic.
“The new shoe design rethinks the environmental impact of materials to help stop ocean plastic pollution,” according to adidas.
Among others, this collaboration will accelerate the integration of materials made of ocean plastic waste into adidas products as of 2016.
The true impact of a sustainable future for the adidas brand comes from a long-held mindset of product innovation, a strong embrace of innovative partnerships, and today, helping marine life and showing the world how to shed its throwaway mentality.
Adi Dassler would be pleased that the adidas brand is leading the reduction of plastic pollution in the ocean with a genuine partnership while serving the most competitive athletes in the world.
However a compelling story, adidas misses an opportunity to effect greater brand distinction and engagement.
Jim Signorelli, president at Story-Lab U.S. observes, “adidas is making great strides towards becoming a StoryBrand. However, they need to link together the chapters of their story so that a single-minded truth becomes more evident.”
He adds, “Their latest commercial, featuring James Harden, makes a strong and compelling case for the notion that “Creators Never Follow.” However, a story’s theme is proven through its plot. We need to see that adidas is walking its talk. Every brand in the sportswear category innovates. But innovating in ways that support the sustainability of marine life? That’s the kind of stand-out proof that tells the adidas story convincingly.”
Jim Signorelli and I hope our message resonates with adidas. We want to help adidas enter a higher sphere of storybranding and brand advocacy. We think more athletes would engage the adidas/PARLEY solution if they knew what we know.
References: Strategy + Business writers, Nicholas Ind, Oslo School of Management, Oriol Inglesas, associate professor at ESADE, Business School in Barcelona and director of the ESADE Brand Institute, and Majken Schultz, professor at Copenhagen Business School. adidas Partners to Help End Ocean Destruction, Releases Sustainability Progress Report, by Sustainable Brands. adidas and Parley Oceans Partnership Aims end Plastic Pollution Oceans. NYC NEWS.
Note:The adidas brand name in lower case was used correctly throughout the blog.
My interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2015 includes experts in technology, the arts, marketing, and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
I recently had a chance to speak with Liz Nightingale, the ultimate expert in relationship marketing.
You can trace Liz’s marketing mindset to every touch-point of a brand experience. I mean, personally and emotionally direct to people.
It doesn’t matter if the market segment is B2C or trade. In the end, it’s people who respond to her remarkable marketing touch. A quick look into her magical toolkit reveals strategic planning, PR, advertising, brand marketing, emotional branding and brand experience.
Philosophies, processes and creativity are the driving elements of Liz Nightingale’s world of marketing. Although she has been the ultimate leader in luxury marketing from legendary brands to global influences, everything is about building and valuing relationships.
I asked Liz recently, “You are at the top of your game. Every brand you touch increases by double digits. What’s next?” She replied, “I envision opportunities to collaborate at the C-suite level with business visionaries who understand the value of relationships. Marketing has never been as competitive as it is today. But it is not just about appreciating how to simplify complexity or creating and managing data, but about understanding and creating a relationship with your market on a personal basis.”
Liz is the ultimate example of a professional who integrates a love of relationships with digital technologies.
A deep look into Nightingale’s world and you find a master strategist who loves creating world-class brands and building lasting relationships with customers—With digital data.
I mentioned the widely held belief in the marketing world that what you knew two years ago is no longer true today. Nightingale dispelled that notion with a twist when I asked, “What do you think about the impact of technology on C-suite marketing careerists?”
She said, “It is likely that the CMO role shortly will transition to the Chief Marketing Technologist. But, remember, CMT’s need interpersonal skills and a deep and authentic respect for people. Process-wise, relating to people won’t change.”
Businesses succeed or fail on the connection between branding, customer engagement and financial performance. Here is the formula that I have been discussing with clients recently:
Follow this guideline by understanding the business thoroughly and prioritizing branding as the key component to your business growth. Branding is the foundation of marketing. Marketing fulfills the mission statement and creates the customer experience. The customer experience creates the brand engagement, thus building brand equity. Brand equity contributes to P&L metrics like profitability and stakeholder value.
During the September 29 opening event, guests are also invited to witness the bronze-pouring process in the Keating Foundry at MANA, see contemporary dancers rehearse, and visit more than 70 artists studios. Free shuttle buses will run to and from MANA CONTEMPORARY throughout the event from Milk Studios, 450 W. 15th St., New York, NY. For more information, please visit artmanafest.com.
ABOUT MANA CONTEMPORARY
MANA CONTEMPORARY is a groundbreaking cultural institution with locations in Jersey City and Chicago. Based on an integrated philosophy, its facilities provide services, spaces, and programming for artists, collectors, curators, performers, students, and the greater community within single locations. For more information about MANA CONTEMPORARY, please visit www.manacontemporary.com.