Digital marketing is changing and adidas is working to make it integral in connecting with their customers and to really change their lives in a positive way. Joseph Godsey, Head of Digital Brand Commerce at addidas, says that “The beauty is with digital is we can create relationships at scale.”
The company is reaching out and connecting with customers in a personalized way via their app that they launched last year and have recently announced major new features.
Digital Brings the addidas Core Principals to Life
We spend a lot of time really listening to consumers in focus groups and through lots of studies in order to really understand what their needs are and how we can serve them better, particularly using our digital channel. It started really with our core belief as a company that through sport we have the power to change lives.
Then we asked ourselves the question if digital is a focus and clear priority for us how does digital actually bring that core to belief to life? The beauty is with digital we can create relationships at scale. We can really connect with the consumer and match their needs using digital in a way that we could never do before.
Creating a Digital Experience That’s Premium, Connected, and Personalized
When we talk about interacting with the consumer we look at how we can make a difference in their game, in their life, and in their world. We look at how we can hit home on all of those fears and then ultimately in digital create an experience that’s premium, connected, and personalized.
Premium is about inspiring love for the brand and desire for the products. Connected is about taking all the touch points that they can interact with us in a physical or in an online environment, and there are a lot, that we’re actually seamless and really interacting with them in a consistent way. Personalized, because in our brand there are so many sports to talk about, but I need to talk with you about what’s relevant for you, not what’s relevant for someone else.
I can’t just blast out a communication anymore and hope that it’s interesting for you. I need to respect the interactions we’ve had together across any touch point and make sure I bring what’s relevant to you in that particular context but also what’s interesting in terms of your profile. We really want to create that relationship that creates value and meaning that hits home on what’s most interesting for the consumer.
Announcing the Launch of a New addidas Membership Program
We have some exciting news that we’ll talk about during Dreamforce this week which is about a new membership program that we’re launching in the US and then later will expand that in other countries. It gives us the ability to really engage and hit home on what’s most interesting for a consumer. They might be looking for value, they might be looking for experiences, or they might look to actually give back and be part of broader causes. Depending on what’s most interesting to them we can expose that in our ecosystem and reward them for those interactions but also give them the chance to interact as well.
I think to be relevant in today’s world with the proliferation of brands and experiences that are out there we have to have something that’s really meaningful that consumers will come back to again and again. They have to also see how we are represented as a brand and have a way to interact and connect with that as well. We’re looking across all the experience to have something that’s sticky and makes it seamless and easy to use. If you want to buy something you can do it quickly and easily but we also make the experience a positive one.
The App Changed the Paradigm
We launched the app last year and we’ve now rolled it out in 18 countries which is a very small space of time for a massive global rollout but also expanding the features and the capabilities in the app. It’s a great example where we really tried to change the paradigm and how we develop things because when we initially launched the app we put out there a starting point, we had a very clear strategy how the app would enable us to create a connection with the consumer to be even more personalized. For instance, with the newsfeed, they can really surface what’s personally relevant for that consumer where we can talk with them about new releases and new things that are coming.
At the same time, we only launched it as a starting point, so almost like we put out the very first version of a car. We wanted consumers to give us feedback in mass. We did consumer testing to build the app extensively but when you really get it out there and people start using it they tell you what’s really interesting and what they want more of. Through that experience we realized some of the things that we might prioritize in our backlog, actually, we need to elevate some other topics that are more important to the consumer.
The adidas Digital Strategy for the Future
I think for us ultimately with our digital strategy the first part is how do we create that ever-tightening relationship that has meaning and value from a consumer perspective and really hits home on those three pillars of premium, connected, and personalized. How do you really surface that in a meaningful way?
Take something like a product description. How do we really have the product descriptions and offerings so that if you’re interested in sports we will help you find exactly the product that you need for the sport that you’re interested in? We will also educate you and bring you back at different points in time to help you find out what you need when you need it, or with an engagement program. Ultimately, like the membership program, that it has something that’s sticky, that you can give back to something, even more, you can participate in events and experiences.
For us, a lot of it’s really deepening those experiences but also exploring new technologies and new areas. Omnichannel was kind of the original wave which happened and I said it was the freight train that came past us a couple of years ago. Now we’re also looking at what those next freight trains are, whether it’s technologies like blockchain or experiencing picking up a new channel. For example, we’re working extensively with Salesforce on automation, how we can automate consumer experiences. Take something as simple as a consumer service interaction. How do I make it so easy for you, no matter if you talk with us via Messenger, WhatsApp, online, or in the app itself, that we can respond to those questions fast and easy but not have to have thousands of agents all the time on the call?
I would say the interesting complexity but also the opportunity comes from that connected sphere. How do you connect all of those different things that are relevant? If you participate in one of our communities how do we also reward that interaction through a membership program? How do we build that seamlessly into a sales or commercial experience as well? That’s really part of that opportunity and that multi-year journey that we’re on and really expanding.