Keeping cool - what brands can learn from Adidas Originals digital strategy

Once your social media campaigns have amassed a large following how do you keep that following interested and engaged in your activity? For our four key tips, we looked at Adidas Originals.

Since 2001 Adidas Originals has carved its road from teen brand (who didn’t want a pair of Adidas tracksuit bottoms as a teenager?) to a serious player in sportswear and the way the company now views success has, quite rightly, evolved too.

When Alexander Matt, senior director of global brand communications at Adidas Originals, spoke at The Drum’s Digital Convergence conference last month he said having an army of social media fans across the world brings with its own pressures.

These pressures might be something others would kill for. After all 30 million fans means 30 million potential customers, right? But with that level of exposure comes an added level of scrutiny and the key for Adidas now is to cultivate and preserve this ‘cool’ brand persona online in this group.

So what can other brands learn from the Adidas approach?

1. Use social media- based metrics throughout the business

Don’t just rely on traditional KPIs – consider sentiment, engagement rates, conversation volume and visibility in all comms activity and link to your business objectives, not just your marketing ones.

2. Choose who you work with carefully

The pull of celebrity is a strong one but be like Adidas and partner with celebrities or individuals that fit your brand persona. For Adidas, that’s been ‘creative courage’ and explains why they’ve worked with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Kanye West recently.

3. Whatever you do, make sure it encourages conversations

Speaking of Kanye, his personally designed Yeezy Boost trainers weren’t for everyone, but they got people talking about Adidas in a way few others at the time could and those conversations led to increased brand exposure.

4. Adopt an editorial-led approach for your target audience

Adidas Originals and other successful brands are wise to the fact that overtly pushing product can backfire on social media. Knowing your target audience and their interests means you can spark conversations that engage people and subtly market your product.