adidas has already overtaken Jordan as the second-best selling sports brand in the U.S. last year, and the momentum hasn't stopped, as the German sportswear label announced fourth quarter earnings that showed 31 percent growth in North America to cap off 2017, reports Benzinga. In addition, the company has already sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic since its introduction last year, which consisted of three new versions of its Ultra Boost silhouette, made in conjunction with environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans.
Financial media outlet Benzinga, recently sat down with adidas' North America President, Mark King to find out more on how the company continues to lead the market in 2018 and beyond.
...on adidas turning into a fashion leader and many of the high fashion brands following suit.
MK: "The reason we are different than a fashion brand is our sport heritage. When you look at our target consumer it is definitely the athlete, but what we realized is that an athlete has two lives on the court, on the field, on the pitch and off the court. Because of this we really have two brands and two business: Lifestyle fashion with originals and the sport performance logo."
...on when the shift from just sportswear to fashion occurred.
MK: "Everything started to change for us once we started aggressively pursuing the progression of sport in culture. James Harden loves our basketball shoes, but he also loves the products we bring him off the court. Aaron Rodgers loves our football cleats, but he loves UltraBOOST. He loves Yeezys, he loves Superstars. Being able to look at things with a lifestyle lens, while we have always been there, that's what's really driving this."
...on being imitated by high fashion brands.
MK: "The copy and following is a wonderful form of flattery. One of our competitors just launched into hip-hop collaboration and it's a lot easier said than done."
...on feeling fear with other brands that are starting to catch up.
MK: "We don’t focus on our competitors. We are looking into our future through open source thinking and storytelling. Telling those stories through the big cities to set trends and being able to react to the marketplace with speed, urgency, and flexibility -- that's our strategy. That’s what’s driving us and it's definitely working."
...on thoughts of will happen when the fashion cycle shifts.
MK: "Fashion cycles are changing all the time. When you look at the diversity and array of styles that we have as a sportstyle option, it's very impressive. It's really hard to be in one kind of fashion silhouette. If basketball was your silhouette, right now basketball is not hot as a fashion silhouette. Running, traditional and classics - that has been driving the marketplace.
We are probably well or better positioned across all the other style franchises. When you're in that space, newness is really one of things we are focused in bringing new styles and new franchises [at] a very frequent basis that’s going to be required for sustaining growth."
...on shoe production made in the USA.
MK: "We just opened an automatic factory, but not really for manufacturing. [The idea is] if something gets hot how could we respond to it. I don't think you'll see the bulk of manufacturing get here, but you will definitely see some of the manufacturing spread out to respond to the trends more quickly.
...on the importance of partners like Foot Locker and Dicks Sporting Goods in the age of e-commerce.
MK: "Retail is in transforming. Traditional retail does not work the way it did 10 years ago. You need to be omni-channel retailer, you need to be online but still be able to walk into retail stores. I think you will get much more experiential in retail. I know we have been saying that for a long time, and some retailers won’t make it but many will.
At the end of the day we follow the consumer, whether it's a brand or retailer. How are they shopping? What type of experience do they want?"
...on Kanye West being the catalyst that set off adidas' growth in North America, and if there is a halo effect when it comes to brand influencers.
MK: "I think there is a halo effect. Influencers influence the top of the market. They make things cool and then the top of the market influences the best. If you use the traditional marketing pyramid, you need to establish an aspirational product or story at the top and its through that, it spreads to the rest of the market.
Does Kanye specifically influence a kid in Green Bay, Probably not. But does he influence New York and Chicago? It starts to spread out and the kid eventually sees it."
For additional details, be sure to read the full story on Benzinga.
In other Three Stripes news, adidas officially unveiled its new Deerupt sneaker, and here’s how to cop.