Adidas was founded in a rivalry between brothers Rudi and Adi Dassler. The former went on to found Puma, while Adi brought about adidas, which is a portmanteau of the founders name. Today, adidas is the world's second-largest sportswear maker, second only to Nike.
Lia Vakoutis, head of digital strategy at adidas America, joined me in an interview to discuss the brand's approach to social media. Like many sportswear manufacturers, the social media audience can be quite diverse. A died-in-the-wool soccer fan is not likely to be interested in your content on golf. adidas has, as a result, developed many different pages to address the different audiences.
Vakoutis explains, "Social Media is all about making a personal connection with your fans without compromising what your brand stands for. adidas is driven by the passion to make athletes better and we strive for that to come through in all of our social media efforts. No matter what type of athlete you are, whether it be Basketball or Football or Soccer, our goal is to give access and inspiration that you can’t get anywhere else."
That personal connection is engagement. Vakoutis says of engagement, "For us it is all about inspiring action. Whether that means releasing a tweet honoring our US Players after a hard fought match in the exact moment the game ends or asking our fans to train side by side with some of the best in Football during the offseason. We are always looking to share stories that our fans care about and ultimately inspire them to take an action."
How does a global sportswear company measure success in social media? Vakoutis responds, "Our goal is always to drive constant conversation and desire through social. Every platform has its own unique way to drive social action with likes seemingly to be the most consistent. However, we don’t overly concern ourselves with likes. It is more about driving an action that is truly social and allows a fan to share their action with their own network."
Vakoutis adds, "Measuring sentiment is another key performance indicator for us as we want to always have our finger on the pulse of what response our fans are having as a result of our social efforts."
For many of us in digital marketing, one of the greatest challenges in social media is the incessant change. Vakoutis says, "We are constantly learning and evolving based on how the social landscape changes. A couple of years ago most were looking at social as a “free” marketing opportunity. Now it is nearly impossible to get your message seen without paid support. Knowing it is called social media for a reason, we’ve planned for this and continue to evolve our content strategies to ensure paid media and social stories go hand in hand."
In speaking of the challenges in digital strategy, Vakoutis concludes that the greatest challenge is "ensuring we stay ahead of the curve and allocate the appropriate funds to the channels where we think we can make the most impact is something we are very focused on."