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How Consumer Insights and Digital

Have Led to Adidas’ Growth
May 07, 2018

In today’s connected world, it’s essential for brands to think consumer-first. But how does a brand get to
the point where that thinking is not only embraced, but also put into action across the company?
At Adidas, it all starts with digital.

“Digital is one of our core strategic priorities. We have ambitious goals that we’ve set until 2020,” says
Joseph Godsey, Global Head of Digital Brand Commerce at Adidas. “We want to create a consumer
experience that is premium, connected and personalized. We will measure ourselves rigorously in how
the various digital touchpoints come to life across those three dimensions, and we believe they will be
core to reaching our overarching targets for sales, consumer experience net promoter score, and
ultimately engagement and lifetime value.”
Data-Driven Growth in a Digital World
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“With the right approach to data and
technology, you can continuously monitor the pulse of the consumer and how they respond,” Godsey
says. “This could be through testing new ideas to launching campaigns and experiences through rigorous
A/B testing frameworks and using data to decide how you proceed.”
“Data and tech are helping us grow at our current pace,” Godsey says. “We’re using data to better
understand our consumer and their wants and needs. And we’re using technology to enable our end-to-
end business to create the best experience for our consumers — and ultimately build a relationship we
can grow in the long term.”
Making Consumer Connections
Digital information also helps Adidas tell more relevant stories. “The best stories come from consumer
insights. And these insights often come from data,” says Kelly Olmstead, VP Brand Activation for North
America at Adidas. “We’re constantly working to understand our consumers better, and data leads us to
insights that deliver stories that are richer and more relevant to our consumers.”
“I think that’s the key; the more info we have, the more likely we are to be relevant and meaningful,”
Olmstead says. More than that, the brand uses digital insights to know which stories work when it
matters most. “We use data to ensure that the stories we’re telling are resonating — in real time.”
And if the digital information shows that something is not connecting with consumers, the brand can
react appropriately and adapt its plans. “More than ever before, data is fueling our marketing efforts,”
she adds.
Connecting Teams
Part of Adidas’ investment in a digital transformation was the brand’s use of extensive consumer
research not only to inform its marketing strategy and storytelling, but also to uncover new, efficient
ways of working so it could continue to build better experiences and products — faster. That led to
creating the right environment for teams.
Now brand, media and digital teams are organized to center around creating a better consumer
experience. This consumer-first thinking allows Adidas to use consumer insights as the starting point for
creating new processes and models of working that help Adidas bring capabilities to consumers faster.
One example of this consumer-centric model was the launch of the new Adidas app. “We used extensive
consumer testing throughout the iterations of app development, but we also intentionally launched it in
the U.S. before every feature and capability was developed,” Godsey says. “We wanted to get it in the
hands of the consumers and use their feedback to prioritize what we did next. They were very powerful in
what they shared back, and it greatly shaped how we’ve evolved the app experience since then.”
Follow the Insights
You can’t be relevant and timely without insights into what your consumers care about and where they
spend their time. And you can’t achieve growth if you don’t take risks or adapt to our changing world. “As
an organization, we openly talk about the importance of taking risks and the important role innovation
plays in everyday work,” Godsey says. “We’re better at both when we’re using data and insights.”
“Taking risks, testing new ideas and innovation require data — early and often.”

To read more about how leading brands use consumer insights to improve marketing, download
research from Bain & Company in partnership with Google.