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Brand Stories: adidas on achieving growth

Simon Peel, Global Media Director at adidas, talks to MediaCom

MediaCom: In 2015, you launched your ‘Creating the new’ strategy, which was defined as an accelerator for growth to the year 2020. Now you are more than halfway through your programme, what have you achieved so far? What are you most proud of?

Simon Peel: The business strategy has been a great success. It’s seen adidas share price quadruple, its revenue and profits increase almost double-digit YOY and a greater focus throughout the organisation. Perhaps the thing we are all most proud of is that the business focussed on its long-term brand values, which clearly then beneficially affected growth

MC: What does the next level of growth look like for adidas?

SP: Currently adidas is focussed on efficiencies and how they align with the effectiveness derived from the business strategy. This is essentially looking into how we blend both short-term and long-term business effects.

MC: What are the challenges you need to meet in order to get there?

SP: The first is not to become overly obsessed with short term efficiencies at the expense of long term effectiveness. What this means is ensuring the business strategy, that created the growth adidas experienced, is not compromised. And that the brand doesn’t retract

The second is to ensure metrics don’t become the sole goal. The metrics we align ourselves to are there as a proxy to growth. Not the goal in itself.

The final challenge is aligning teams internally who have different objectives, KPIs and understandings of what drives growth. So that we are all pushing in the same direction, rather than against ourselves

MC: What would success look like for you (and us) in the future?

SP: For us, both adidas and the MediaCom team that works on our account, success is to keep driving the right approach forward. It is important not to cave to easier options or rest on our laurels.

MC: How can MediaCom and GroupM help you achieve these growth ambitions?

SP: By being honest and brave with us. Not giving into pressures that deliver short term goals alone. They are obviously important. But we need to always remember and promote what got adidas the growth in the first place – a focus on the long-term health of the brand.

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