You might have seen a recent viral photo of a group of girls wearing the same trainers. The pair in question were the Adidas Superstar – clearly the must-have brand for young women everywhere.

But it’s not just girls of a certain age, is it? It seems everywhere you look these days, you’ll see Adidas trainers, hoodies and general apparel being worn in the name of high fashion – not just sport.

The brand has come a long way since the term ‘Adidad’ was coined. Maybe this was something that only occurred in my school, but it was used to denote somebody who typically wore unfashionable sportswear or offensively white trainers. Kids can be so cruel.

But what’s made the brand cool again? 

Interestingly, Adidas Originals now has more followers on Twitter than the main Adidas account, cementing its position as a truly cult lifestyle brand. On the flip side, this also proves that it is definitely doing something right on social.

Here are a few ways it has made its mark.

Creating hype

Social media is a natural extension of Adidas’s wider approach to marketing, especially when it comes to creating hype around its high-profile collaborations.

Since the brand famously snatched Kanye West from Nike in 2014, it has carefully crafted a series of product launches, cleverly building on the rapper's wider (and fanatical) fan base.

Tweeting and posting on Instagram in the run-up to shoe releases, the brand creates massive excitement and interest from followers.

Meanwhile, from Pharrell Williams to Stella McCartney, Adidas Originals is also shrewd in terms of how it collaborates with high profile personalities. Unlike other brands, who might merely use celebrities to front campaigns, Adidas put a huge focus on the personal and direct involvement of influencers in the actual designing process.

In doing so, it ensures its collaborations feel entirely authentic rather than purely sales-driven.

Again, this is reflected in how it posts on social, continuously reinforcing the core topic of originality and creative and artistic expression.

Giving control to consumers

Adidas’s resurgence truly began with the relaunch of its iconic Stan Smith shoe. Not only did this draw on feelings of nostalgia, but by emphasising its heritage, it also helped to reinforce the brand’s influence on streetwear and subcultures such as Brit pop and hip-hop.

The social media campaign surrounding its release cleverly made consumers feel part of the story.

The ‘Stan Yourself’ initiative involved asking users to tweet a photo of themselves for the chance to win a personalised pair of shoes. 

This customer focus has been integral to the success of Adidas Originals in recent years, with the brand aiming to create conversation about youth and street culture rather than simply promoting its products.

One example of this is the brand’s recent series of live events called TLKS. Featuring high profile influencers within fashion and music, each one was streamed live on Facebook, while giving fans a unique opportunity to relate to Adidas on an experiential level.

Organic content

Lastly, we can see how social media is not simply a one-way marketing tool for Adidas Originals, but also a way for fans and consumers to show their appreciation. 

User-generated content is particularly widespread on Instagram, with fans posting their love for the brand as well as excitement about product launches and exclusive events.

Likewise, the Adidas Originals Instagram feed (also with more followers than the main account) typically makes use of imagery from musicians, fashion designers and models to reinforce its tagline of ‘We Are Originals’ – including the consumer in the collective ‘we’.

Using influence and artistic expression, Adidas Originals has managed to make its brand relevant again.

By delivering its message on social media in a natural and authentic way, it has truly connected with a new and highly engaged young audience.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 8 February, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Scott Talbot, Director at The Motorbike Financer

Adidas trainers are a cult and have been for a long time. I have friends I follow on Instagram who collect them, queue for hours, pay hundreds of pounds and order from around the world, and then post all over social media. Its almost like a competition between them who has the most!! I must admit, its clever and I do like it.

about 1 year ago

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