The athletic footwear and apparel industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Nike has controlled the North American market for many years. You may have noticed a German based company making a comeback in the United States. adidas has reevaluated their initiatives in the United States and it’s paying dividends.
adidas’ goal is to aggressively grow its business in the U.S. It’s impossible to be number the #1 brand in your industry when you control 7% of the American market. To learn more about adidas’ strategy read the article below.
Over the last 12 months I have seen the following from adidas
- Aiming to sign more influential NFL and NBA endorsers.
- Re-branding, along with creative designs on shoes and cleats (see images below).
- Unique and engaging campaigns around sporting events, such as the NFL Combine
Images Above Credited to Adidas
For all of the reasons listed above, I was super excited to connect with Samantha Hughey and ask her a few questions. Samantha is a Brand Manager at adidas. Her role includes strategic planning and execution, of both digital and grassroots initiatives, to promote the presence of adidas in the sport of volleyball. Prior to working at adidas, Samantha worked for Team USA and assisted with their social media and digital marketing.
Have you ever heard of the #3Stripelife? Well, Samantha is a great example of someone who truly embodies the adidas lifestyle. Every company hopes their employees become brand ambassadors. adidas definitely has that with Samantha.
Nick Cipkus: I just bought my first pair of adidas shoes in 15 years. How has Adidas re-branded themselves to gain market share in the footwear industry?
Samantha Hughey: I can’t really speak on this, as the company operates on a large global scale and a lot of “re-branding” was done prior to my start at the village. I also can’t really speak on this because I have always been a fan of adidas, only having worn Nike during the Olympics because the product was FREE and I HAD to (the second I got this new job, I gave away/donated a lot of my Nike apparel – except my backpack for two reasons. I love backpacks and the memories this one holds.) For me, I have actively lived the
#3StripeLife since I was four years old. This was around the age my parents bought me my first pair of adidas cleats. I think playing soccer as a kid and attending the University of Louisville attributed to my loyalty of the brand. The feeling evoked in me when I put on my sambas, solidified this loyalty. With adidas, I am not just buying a pair of shoes – I am buying an emotion, a lifestyle, a belief.
Nick Cipkus: What is one thing you learned working for TEAM USA you brought with you to adidas?
Samantha Hughey: One thing I learned from Team USA was to always build relationships. I learned this from Brandon Penny. A lot of the times you (as a brand or organization) have “assets” that amplify your end goal – whether that is to sell a product, tickets, or, on the collegiate level, a university. But those “assets” are humans. The relationships BP built, and maintained (with the athletes), were beyond genuine. He got to know each athlete/person, their story, and what made them…well them. When an ask came in (social media takeover of sorts or a story with a quick turnaround timeline) he never approached it as a “we need this now and you owe us this” – it was similar to asking your best friend for a favor. I respected the heck out of that – it’s a trait I will always admire of Brandon. Some folks never take the extra step, but after working alongside BP I saw first-hand the difference it made. Plus we got killer stories and content pieces because of it!
Nick Cipkus: What are two resources (books, podcasts, newsletter) you use on a consistent basis to stay current on Sport Business?
Samantha Hughey: I am constantly reading. I always have a book (or two) in my backpack. Expanding your mind is invaluable. (some MUST reads: Brands Win Championships, Console Wars, Hatching Twitter, Start With Why, Steal Like An Artist – I could go on! Hah). Outside of books, I like to read Front Office Sports, Ad Week, Player’s Tribute, Wired, Hellogiggles, etc – this allows me stay current in the sports industry, which is my target demographic. There are always different ways to approach things – different perspectives to see – reading outside of my industry allows me to do just that. When I work out I like listening to podcasts. It doesn’t matter the topic, as long as it helps expand my mind. Some good recommendations are: Ted Radio Hour, the Nerdist, Stuff You Should Know, the Pat McAfee Show, Barstool Radio.
Connect with Samantha on Twitter @Samanthahughey and take a look through some of her work and blog posts at the following address http://searching4pirates.com
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