Strong brands boost adidas

24 October 2011

HERZOGENAURACH: Strong global brands and a constant focus on innovation have helped adidas withstand the pressures of the recession, according to Herbet Hainer, the firm's chief executive.

All of the company's leading ranges - Reebok, Taylor Made and Adidas - have witnessed positive growth around the world during the year to date, despite the decline in consumer confidence.

"First and foremost, I think, over the last ten-to-15 years we were able to really create desirable brands," Hainer told CNN. "This is what consumers are looking for."

"Even in tough times, consumers are looking for innovative products, and I think our brands are delivering that."

In evidence of this, Hainer reported that the organisation's revenues only decreased by 4% in 2009 when the financial crisis took hold, on top of registering record sales in 2008.

"We have an unbelievably healthy situation because we have global brands [and] permanently bring new innovative products to the market."

"This is what consumers appreciate. If you just give me two products, then they definitely will not buy, especially in tough times. But innovative products always attract consumers."

In developing its strategy, adidas has pressed into the lifestyle and fashion sectors, moving beyond its heritage as a sports brand to reflect changing shopper attitudes.

"We saw there was a huge consumer base ... that loves the brand, especially the adidas brand, but also wanted to wear our products after they have done their sport," said Hainer.

As a result, adidas created separate operating units for its sport and lifestyle products, and has worked with famous designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Stella McCartney to tap such latent demand.

"We split the two brands up to have targeted communications, [and] a targeted product offering for this specific market," Hainer said.

Data sourced from CNN; additional content by Warc staff