Super Brands Case Studies

The sports clothing and footwear market has grown significantly over recent decades, with a marked increase in products being worn beyond the traditional sporting environments. An effect of this increased popularity is that sports companies have become much more aware of the image and perception of their brand and products, as well as their on-field performance.

As one of the biggest sporting occasions in the world, the 2002 World Cup attracted the attention of each of the major global sports brands. However, only Adidas can lay claim to a heritage in the tournament stretching back more than 40 years. In 2002, the event generated such interest that it pushed the growth of the sports industry to new levels.

For Adidas, 2002 also witnessed a fundamental shift from the traditional footwear and apparel structure used by most sporting goods companies to a new, three-way approach which enables Adidas to address the needs of its consumers in a very focused way. The Adidas brand is segmented into three divisions: Adidas Sport Performance (products developed for the sports performance market), Adidas Sport Heritage (Adidas Originals products) and Adidas Sport Style. Both the Sport Performance and the Sport Heritage business already show strong results, and Adidas is hoping for the same success from Adidas Sport Style since its introduction in 2003.

Despite continued competition across all categories, ongoing success in football is down to the company’s passion for frequently making and marketing technically superior products. Adidas believes that its leadership in football, combined with its new structure, will result in significant advances in market share across all categories.

Adidas continues to focus on, and believe in, a performance philosophy. In practice, this means supporting the best athletes, teams and competitions across the globe. With this in mind Adidas has cultivated and extended partnerships with the likes of David Beckham (football), Zinedine Zidane (football), Sergio Garcia (golf), Maurice Green (athletics), The New Zealand All Blacks (rugby), Real Madrid (football) and the former World and reigning European football champions — France. The brand also has a long and rich association with the Olympic movement. It is extremely proud of the fact that it supports 26 of the 28 Olympic disciplines, something no other brand has achieved. Indeed, 2002 has seen the continued development of new technologies that will be used in Athens in 2004.

In the marketing of its products, Adidas has once again led the industry with award winning advertising and public relations campaigns in support of its FIFA World Cup sponsorship and its technology launches for a3 and ClimaCool.

As well as earning Superbrand status again in 2002, Adidas was voted as being a Cool BrandLeader in 2001 by the Superbrands Cool Council the cool factor now being key to brands, particularly those operating in the youth market.

Adi Dassler, a shoemaker from the village of Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, created the very first Adidas sports shoe in 1920. From humble beginnings the Adidas corporation has expanded into a global company synonymous with world sport. Many of the fundamental principles upon which the first shoes were built, remain firmly rooted in the company philosophy of today.

Dassler was an athlete as well as a shoemaker and applied his knowledge and skills to producing products for athletes that helped improve performance at the highest level.

Dassler’s efforts in the service of sport earned him more than 700 patents and other industrial property rights, many of them for revolutionary new products.

The company was, and remains today, committed to reacting to athletes requirements and using their experiences to develop ever better performance footwear and clothing.

The phrase listen, test, modify which was first used by Dassler himself, remains the key to the companys research and development operation. Technical innovations over the years include the worlds first football boot with screw-in studs, spiked track and field shoes and the present day development of ClimaCool, a shoe that allows ventilation of the feet. Since Adidas equipped the first athletes at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928, over 800 world records and medals have been won by athletes using Adidas footwear and apparel at Olympic Games and World Championships.

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