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1. SWOT Analysis:
In order to identify the main strategic issues facing Adidas in maintaining their global
competitive position, it will be quite useful to undertake a SWOT analysis of the company.
According to Rogoff and Bezos (2007:44), the best way to begin a research on the competitive
advantage and competitive position of a company is to do a SWOT analysis of the company which is
an acronym standing for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business.
SWOT analysis of Adidas will involve the evaluation of its internal as well as external
environment. In order to be the market leader and gain more and more profits, Adidas always intends
to develop new opportunities which make it highly prone to risks.


Renowned brands.
Extensive Marketing Infrastructure.
Diversity and Variety.



Growing Demand in Sport Equipment.

Emerging Markets.
Developing Technology.


Underperformance of Reebok.
Channel Conflicts.


Increased Raw Material Costs.

Economic Recession.
Counterfeit Products.

Following are the key strengths of Adidas Group:
1.1.1. Renowned Brands:
It is one of the major strengths of the company. Adidas group owns brands like
Adidas, Reebok, TaylorMade (Adidas Group Website). The strong brand image of
Adidas has increased its brand loyalty which in turn has led to increase in profits.

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It is the brand reputation which has helped Adidas to be the market leader in
almost every part of the world. Adidas brands are not only popular in Europe and
US but they have also captured most parts of Asia now. According to Shanley,
2006 (Helmsman Online), Adidas emerged as a market leader in Japan in 2005
replacing Nike for the first time. According to a report of Adidas, it is has
maintained its top position in Europe till date. Adidas also strengthens the images
of its brands by customer satisfaction (Adidas Official).
1.1.2. Extensive Marketing Infrastructure:
The company has a widespread marketing infrastructure. The policy of the
company to focus on a single distribution channel has changed. It is now focussed
on having various distribution channels and has a huge network of stores and
outlets worldwide (Adidas Official). Due to an extensive marketing infrastructure
and advertising, Adidas has been able to undergo market penetration which helps
them to draw more profits. According to Manzenreiter (2004:303), Adidas kept
doing the advertisement campaigns with popular sports celebrities after the 2002
football World Cup like David Beckham, Hidetoshi Nakata, etc in order to gain
more and more market share in the markets like Japan. Adidas also formed one of
the pillars in 2006 football World Cup in Germany.
1.1.3. Diversity and Variety:
According to Adidas (Corporate Website), We will remain committed to
understanding, valuing and incorporating the diversity into the corporate culture
of the Adidas Group. This helps them in market penetration and gain competitive
advantage. Adidas has a large number of products in a number of styles for both
men and women (Runningshoes4u). The company has gained strong reputation in
almost every part of the world due to its innovative technology and continuous
introduction of new brands.

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1.2.1. Underperformance of Reebok:
The merger between Adidas and Reebok was basically an attempt of Adidas to
gain more market share in US- the Nikes own turf (Tribune LA). Adidas wanted
to confront Nike on its own home land. The takeover was supposed to be a
friendly takeover and the stock prices of both the companies started to improve
from the very day of the announcement (MSNBC report). But during the last
months of 2005, sales of Reebok dropped from $1 billion to $912 million. The
poor performance of Reebok continued from the very time. In March 2007,
Adidas also admitted that the merger was not as successful as it was supposed to
be and the causes for the failure of the takeover were fully attributed to Reebok.
Adidas blamed Reebok to be the basic reason as the group had 3.6% drop in the
overall gross margins by the end of 2007 (Marketingmagazine.co.uk).
1.2.2. Channel Conflicts:
In the times of growing e-business, Adidas has also begun to sell its products
online on a large scale (Official Site). This has led to the conflicts with the
retailers. Retailers will be less reluctant to sell Adidas products in future which
can lead to drop in sales.


1.3.1. Growing Demand in Sports Equipment:
According to Walker and Seidler (1993:5), since 1960, sports has changed a great
deal and sports equipment industry has become a multibillion dollar industry as a
virtue of this change. Also with growing population there is a large demand for
goods (Draak, 1986). So, Adidas need to improve its strategies much more in
order to avail maximum benefits.

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1.3.2. Emerging Markets:

According to Cavusgil et al (g2002:10), Emerging markets have a high birth rate
and accommodate about 75% of the worlds total population. As more population
means more sales, it is important for the company to strengthen its roots beyond
the European and US borders. The company is doing well for its brand popularity
in the emerging economies. Such as, the company has launched the apparel for
Indian yoga to target the market share in India (Ameinfo News). After the Beijing
Olympics the company increased sales in China also (Opendoor.com report).
Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe (Russia) are also emerging markets with
opportunities due to their large populations.
1.3.3. Developing Technology:
According to annual report 2009, the company is aiming to use new technology
and come up with new brands. Although the companys innovative technology
can be regarded as its strengths yet a great deal needs to be done in this field. As
Maier (2009) clearly states that as a business grows the importance of keeping up
with changes in business computing and technology can be more important over

1.4.1. Competition:
As the merger between Adidas and Reebok was an attempt to gain more market
share in US and to give a tough competition to Nike (No. 1 in the industry) and
Puma (No. 4) (Tribune LA). At the time of the merger, it seemed that it really
made sense but Nike was never on the backseat. Nike is the most tough and giant
competitor of the company.

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1.4.2. Increased Raw Material Costs:

The company is facing higher raw material and wage cost (BBC Online). This is
one of the key threats to Adidas. Due to this reason, Adidas was thinking of
closing some stores at the end of the previous year.
1.4.3. Economic Recession:
Global recession is one of the biggest threats which almost every business is
facing right now. According to BBC Online (2009), Adidas sees profits drop by
97%. It further says that Adidas made 5m euros net profit during the first quarter
of 2009 which was 169m in 2008. Adidas blamed economic downturn as a basic
cause for this.
1.4.4. Counterfeit Products:
According to Adam (2010), the market is full of counterfeit products which
resemble the genuine product and are made to deceive the customers. According
to a Behean, about 12% of sportswear in 2001 was fake. This has become a key
threat to Adidas over the past years.
2. ANSOFFs Matrix:
In order to evaluate potential strategic options that Adidas should consider in sustaining and
developing their global competitive position, we need to use Ansoffs matrix. As commented by
Fifield (1999:143), Ansoff stated that there are actually only four ways through which a company
can expand its operation in order to sustain its global competitive position. From the market point of
view, Adidas group believes in market development and market penetration.

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Global Brand Visibility.



New Products.
Relevant Modified Products.


New Markets.
New Distribution Channels in Emerging

Diversification of Products Athletics,

Cricket and Hockey.
Casual Footwear.

Market Penetration
2.1.1. Global Brand Visibility:
According to Kaferer :338 the biggest advantage of global brand visibility is that
it provides the company with a competitive advantage. Adidass brand visibility
gives it a competitive advantage over the local brands and helps it in the market
penetration i.e. penetrating the existing market with the existing products. The
customers are attracted by the cheap prices of the global brands of Adidas with
respect to their local brands. For example, in India the local sports shoe
manufacturer Proton produces expensive shoes when compared to Adidass global
brands CSR (12:4). Similar is the case in Czech Republic where Adidas shoes are
cheaper than the local handmade shoes (Press Adidas). The key to Adidass global
branding visibility is its innovation. It creates a very good image of its products.
That is the reason why there is a worldwide awareness of Adidas brands. The
advantages related to global brand visibility are higher economies of scale,
synergies, etc.
2.1.2. Advertisements/Sponsorships:
The other key method of market penetration followed by Adidas is aggressive
advertising. According to Rotzoll et al : when there is a strong appeal to fear along
with product benefits, there is a possibility to get potential consumers to move to

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an immediate purchase. Adidas is also using the aggressive advertisement strategy

to gain more market share with its existing products in existing markets e.g. in
2000 Adidas launched a series of new advertisements featuring reputed
sportspersons in daring but eccentric conditions (Drummond and Ensor,
2003:203). The basic objective was to target the young market segment without
giving details of the features of the product. Similarly, prior to the football World
Cup in Germany, there were poster advertisements featuring the Germanys
football captain M. Ballack saying the Adidas tagline, Impossible is
Nothing(Bleachers brew). The main motive of this advertisement was to catch
customer attention by creating a hope for Germanys World Cup win. Adidas also
has a tradition of making reputed sportspersons, with a lot of fan following, their
Ambassadors. It helps the company to target the sports lovers. These include
Mohammad Ali, David Beckham, etc. Overall Adidas carries out an extensive
advertising on TV, Radio, Web sites, through posters etc (Tennis Blog). Adidas
Group also sponsors numerous sports events such as Basketball, Football, etc
which helps them to penetrate the market effectively.

Market Development:
2.2.1. New Markets:
In order to develop markets, Adidas has always been in search of new markets. In
the emerging markets of India, China, Russia, etc, Adidas is continuously
expanding its business by entering new markets with existing products. In case of
marketing strategy, Adidas has always been following the offensive marketing
strategy in new markets.
2.2.2. New Distribution Channels in Emerging Markets:
Emerging markets also open new channels for Adidas. For example, Adidas
entered India long time ago. But recently, in 2008, it was able to conquer the
sports market of Jammu & Kashmir state of India by opening two stores, one each
in Jammu and Srinagar (Greater Kashmir, May 23:2008). Similarly, after the

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sponsorship of Beijing Olympics Adidas opened the biggest Adidas store in


Product Development:
2.3.1. New Products:
Adidas is known for coming up with new products from time to time. Through
continuous introduction of new products in the market, the company has been
able to enhance its strong recognition. Adidas group mainly launches new
products in North America. It is also considered the main platform for
communication strategy by the company. Therefore the company has replaced its
focus on a single distribution channel with the focus on various distribution
channels. For example, Adidas launched several new products in 2008 like
Matchball of the UEFA, Europass- the football boot. In the existing markets of
India, Adidas has introduced the Yoga apparel to gain market share (Adam, 2010).
The product design is based on the partnerships with Stella McCartney, etc.
Moreover, the three brands Adidas, Reebok and TaylorMade all offer different
personalisation platforms and products which reflects the strategy of each brand.
2.3.2. Relevant Modified Products:
Technological innovations have led Adidas to the modification of products as
well. From the first day football boots with screws embedded in spikes to the
present day ClimaCool Adidas has been creating Adidas has modified them
several times. Like the present day Predator Mania which is modified football
boot meant for accuracy, speed and control.
Adidas has formed brand teams to conduct a research about customer needs so
that products are renewed and modified according to those needs. It has also
teamed up with Diesel to sell the jeans at its Adidas Original stores.



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According to Ansoff this strategy is highly risky of the four as it involves the introduction
of new products in new markets without having a proper knowledge of different
2.4.1. Diversification of Products in Athletics, Cricket & Hockey:
This would help Adidas in competing in the markets of huge competition. The
group has a strong hold on soccer and basketball product line. The development
of products for athletics, cricket and hockey will help Adidas to be a market
leader in new markets like India and Pakistan where people are more interested in
cricket and hockey instead of football and basketball.
2.4.2. Casual Shoes:
In order to minimise competition and increase profits, Adidas has implemented a
multi-brand strategy. Both as a mass and a niche player this objective helps them
in the times of fierce competition and provides them a competitive advantage.
Adidas is capable of providing a wide range of products for different customers.
Adidas has now also started to manufacture the casual leather shoes (Annual
Report, 2009). Adidas (2009) was clear in its strategy to sell leather shoes by
saying that it will offer them a significant opportunity.

Drucker (1999) writes that it is only a leaders ability to generate unusual or exceptional
commitment to a vision (Boddy, 2008:458). So implementation of strategic plans requires
inspirational leaders. It was until 1987 that Horst Dassler, being egoistic, ruined his
family reputation because of his usual comparisons with the competitors.
Herbert Hainer was made CEO of Adidas in 2001. He is an inspirational leader and has
been looking forward to implement new strategies from time to time. He extended the

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Beckham deal and was the person to launch the Beckhams line in 2005 when he saw
Beckhams huge fan following. In the same year, Hainer and Fireman (CEO of Reebok)
joined hands for the growth of both the companies and give a tough competition to Nike.
The merger was aimed to gain more market share and become the market leader in US.
According to Hainer (CEO), We will expand our geographic reach, particularly in North
America, and create a footwear, apparel and hardware offering that addresses a broader
spectrum of consumers and demographics. With Reebok we are advancing our position
on the playing field of sports good industry and are improving our financial strength to
drive increased shareholder value.

(Inside Hoops.com) It is clear from his statement

that the group has innovative brands and market position which gives them a competitive
platform. The biggest challenge is to improve the products and strategies with time and
undergo a successful integration of Reebok. After the merger, Hainer had a strategy of
targeting the basketball and soccer lovers individually with Reebok and Adidas brands.
According to the Chief Executive Hainer: The brands will be kept separate because
each brand has a lot of value and it would be stupid to bring them together. The
companies will continue selling products under respective brand names and products.
(ICMR India)

Organisational Structure:
According to Drummond and Ensor (2003:254), in developing a marketing strategy it is
very important for an organisation to have teams. Adidas has multifunctional teams which
help the company in its offensive marketing strategy. Headquartered at Herzogenaurach,
Germany, Adidas is the largest producer of sportswear in Europe. The organisational
structure of the company is in accordance with its business strategy. As the business
activity of Adidas includes three product lines, footwear, apparel and hardware of sports,
the structure of the company is also emphasizing on a sporty environment and is in
complete agreement with its products and services. After merger, Reebok targeting
basketball lovers was kept separate and its previous management was retained. The
identity of the brands of both Adidas and Reebok was kept distinct as before even after
the merger. This reflects Adidass strategy based structure. The construction of Originals

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Stores was an attempt to target fashion forward people. The designs of these stores also
reflect the strategy of the company.

According to Drummond and Ensor (2003:253) a strategy is most likely to fail if it goes
against the dominant culture. Same was the case with Adidas. The merger between
Adidas and Reebok in 2005 was an attempt of Adidas to capture US markets. But the
merger was not culturally fit as one of them was German and the other was American and
it forced Adidas to pay a high price. The merger was not in agreement with the cultural fit
and as a result it is considered as an almost failed merger. Reebok sales are declining
continuously and are one of the key weaknesses of the company right now.


In the present times of huge competition, Adidas has always created symbols which stand
for its innovation and product development. According to Palmer (2004:267), innovation
not only refers to the products offered by a company but includes all marketing functions,
including distribution and promotion. Adidas is highly innovative not only in the field of
technology and new product development but also in the other aspects of marketing such
as creating a suitable image of its brands. The basic factor responsible for the faster
innovations is the global influence of the company. Adidas follows the strategy of
increasing premium partnerships and attracting its customers through consistent
innovations with various marketing issues.


Corporate social responsibility and ethics at Adidas is an important part of the companys
corporate strategies. The company is focused on the healthy living of people as it deals
with sports equipment and sportswear. It is due to Adidas that different sports activities
have become popular in all social classes particularly kids. However, the violent and

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eccentric advertising is a bit unethical on the part of Adidas. Adidas is also concerned
with its employees very much. The supervisory board which consists of a total of 12
members has six members from employees. Adidas cares very much about the employee
satisfaction. Asian employees are focussed on the production whereas European and
American employees are focussed on the marketing, distribution and retailing.

Definition CPM
Competitive Profile Matrix (CPM). To compare it with the major firms of the
industry. Shows the firm its weak and strong point as compared to the major players
in the industry. Takes into account effectiveness of advertising, product quality,
management, finances, the prices and competitiveness among other factors. Rating :
4=major strength, 3=minor strength, 2=minor weakness, and 1=major weakness. In
order to better understand the external environment and the competition in a
particular industry, firms often use CPM. The matrix identifies a firms key
competitors and compares them using industrys critical success factors. The analysis
also reveals companys relative strengths and weaknesses against its competitors, so a
company would know, which areas it should improve and, which areas to protect.


Critical Success Factors

Critical success factors (CSF) are the key areas, which must be performed at the
highest possible level of excellence if organizations want succeed in the particular
industry. They vary between different industries or even strategic groups and include
both internal and external factors. In our example, we have included 11 CSF, which is
usually not enough. The more critical success factors are included the more robust
and accurate the analysis is. The following list provides some of the general CSF, but
the list is not definite and you should include industry specific factors in your matrix:

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Weight :
Each critical success factor should be assigned a weight ranging from 0.0 (low
importance) to 1.0 (high importance). The number indicates how important the factor
is in succeeding in the industry. If there were no weights assigned, all factors would
be equally important, which is an impossible scenario in the real world. The sum of
all the weights must equal 1.0. Separate factors should not be given too much
emphasis (assigning a weight of 0.3 or more) because the success in an industry is
rarely determined by one or few factors.


Rating :

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The ratings in CPM refer to how well companies are doing in each area. They range
from 4 to 1, where 4 means a major strength, 3 minor strength, 2 minor weakness
and 1 major weakness. Ratings, as well as weights, are assigned subjectively to
each company, but the process can be done easier through benchmarking.
Benchmarking reveals how well companies are doing compared to each other or
industrys average. Just remember that firms can be assigned equal ratings for the
same factor.

Score and Total Score :

The score is the result of weight multiplied by rating. Each company receives a score
on each factor. Total score is simply the sum of all individual score for the company.
The firm that receives the highest total score is relatively stronger than its


Benefits :

i) The same factors are used to compare the firms. This makes the comparison more
ii) The analysis displays the information on a matrix, which makes it easy to compare the
companies visually.
iii) The results of the matrix facilitate decision-making. Companies can easily decide which
areas they should strengthen, protect or what strategies they should pursue.


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Step 1: Identify the critical success factors

To make it easier, use our list of CSF and include as many factors as possible. In addition,
following questions should be helpful identifying industrys CSF: Why consumers prefer
Company A over Company B or vice versa? What resources, capabilities and
competences firms possess? What sustainable competitive advantages companies have in
the industry? Why some companies succeed and others fail in the industry?


Step 2: Assign the weights and ratings

The best way to identify what weights should be assigned to each factor is to compare the
best and worst performing companies in the industry. Well performing companies will
usually undertake activities that are significant for success in the industry. They will put
most of their resources and energy into those activities as compared to low performing
organizations. Weights can also be determined in discussion with other top-level
managers. Ratings should be assigned using benchmarking or during team discussions.


Step 3: Compare the scores and take action

You should compare the scores on each factor to identify where companys relative
strengths and weaknesses are.


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Already Adidas is showing very satisfying returns on its investment when compared to its
competitors but the matter of concern is the geographical expansion of the company. It is not as good
as should be at this level of competition. For example, Nike stores are in very much abundance in
India. However, hardly an Adidas store can be seen except in the metropolitan cities like New Delhi,
etc. Expansion policy will assure the company a good market share and profit in the emerging
markets. There is a great future for Adidas ahead if it mends its strategies a bit.
1. Strategic Management Concept and Cases Fourteenth Edition(Pearson) Fred R. David
2. http://www.strategicmanagementinsight.com/tools/competitive-profile-matrix-cpm.html

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