The development of a strong competitive advantage has been AdidasÂ’ major concern, and this is further emphasized by the existence of a large number of heavyweight competitors operating in the athletic clothing market, in the names of Nike, Puma, New Balance and others.
Taking into consideration the fact that a companyÂ’s competitive advantage is established on the concept of added value, Adidas should direct its marketing efforts towards producing quality products for its customers.
The market of sports clothing is characterized by a set of specific attributes. One of them is the extreme rivalry going on between leading manufacturing firms, such as Adidas, Nike, Puma, Timberland and New Balance. It should be noted, however, that most of these companies have chosen to outsource their production and they have re-defined themselves as marketing companies, rather than manufacturers, in the traditional meaning of the term.
Despite the fact that it currently ranks well below Nike in the sports shoes, apparel and accessories market, Adidas has been a hugely successful business enterprise right from the moment of its establishment. The encouragement and application of a spirit of constant and updated technological innovation and excellence has resulted in generating such a powerful competitive advantage for Adidas that its market opponents find it hard to beat. The high degree of orientation to technological development has created the expected added valued for customers, especially through the company’s policy to provide them with the necessary technological applications, for example high performance sports shoes, in order for specific customer needs to be met.
Ultimately, this translates to tailor-made performance products for individual customers. Not many clothing companies can claim this laurel and in fact this is something that resembles to what Haute Couture designers do for their exquisite clientele.
While technological superiority of its products is the primary factor of market penetration for Adidas, intense and targeted marketing promotion is the second most important ingredient of its recipe for success. So, how has dynamic branding produced a form of competitive advantage for Adidas?
One of the giant sports clothing company’s most effective promotional methods for its products has been to associate them with popular celebrities and sports idols. This marketing strategy has generated a steady source of sales and income for the company, and consumers seem to appreciate the quality of the products once they know that there is a certain degree of association with influential people. Therefore, the purchase of recognizable brand products safeguards their quality and this creates some extra motivation for their purchase.
Another form of competitive advantage for Adidas should be the creation of a high level of customer involvement and loyalty. Getting regular customer feedback is probably the best strategy to stay ahead of competitors and develop and maintain long-term profitable customer relations at the least cost possible.
By listening to customers carefully and closely, conducting market research in regular intervals, handing out consumer satisfaction questionnaires in stores, online and on market streets, Adidas as well as its customers will enjoy extra added value: the company itself, as it has been mentioned above, will generate bigger profits, and customers will get exactly the products they want.
Besides, the close cooperation with celebrities and top athletes who work together with Adidas to produce better, high performance apparel, shoes and other sports products is a major factor towards the successful coordination of the research and development and the marketing departments, resulting in innovative products, generating higher sales and company growth.
2017 Adidas NFL Combine Marketing
In February 2017, Adidas announced a very interesting marketing idea. They would buy a private island, valued at $1 million, if any player broke the all time 40-yard dash record at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, if that player was wearing Adidas shoes and cleats.
Even if a player did not break the record, they would get a $10,000 bonus. Running back Chris Johnson held the record of a time of 4.24 40-yard dash in 2008.
At the 2017 NFL combine, this record was broken by Washington wide receiver, John Ross, by running the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds. Unfortunately, John Ross was wearing Nike shoes.
Ross commented later that, that was okay, he cannot swim that well and doesn’t own a boat. All in all, it was a great marketing idea by Adidas that got a lot of attention on all social media, Sports Illustrated and many other sports outlets on cable.
Nike probably holds the edge with marketing considering you can see their famous logo on all NFL uniforms and they also have different uniforms for each team. Not only the team uniforms, but everyone watching the NFL and college football, can see all the coaches wearing gear with the Nike swoosh on them.
Adidas Official Webpage
Nike, Competitive Advantages