adidas business model

The Adidas Business Model. How is Adidas Structured?

In this article, we explore the Adidas Business Model to explain and understand how the Business Model of Adidas is structured and to learn about how Adidas makes money.

Adidas, a global giant in the sportswear and apparel industry, has been at the forefront of innovation, style, and performance for decades. Founded in Germany by Adolf “Adi” Dassler in 1949, the company has grown to become a household name and a symbol of athletic excellence. In this blog post, we will delve into the story of Adidas, its founders, and its evolution over the years. We will use Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas as a framework to deconstruct and understand the Adidas business model, which has enabled the company to maintain a competitive edge in a constantly changing market.

The Founders and the Origin Story

Adolf “Adi” Dassler was born in Herzogenaurach, Germany, in 1900. Adi was a passionate athlete and a skilled cobbler, which led to his interest in creating specialized athletic footwear. In 1924, Adi and his older brother Rudolf “Rudi” Dassler founded the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory, producing athletic shoes for various sports, including soccer, running, and tennis.

However, the brothers had a falling out in 1948, leading to the dissolution of their partnership. Adi went on to establish Adidas in 1949, while Rudi founded Puma. The name “Adidas” is derived from Adi’s first and last names – Adi Dassler.

The early success of Adidas came when West Germany’s national soccer team wore Adidas shoes with screw-in studs during the 1954 FIFA World Cup. The innovative design helped the team secure victory against the heavily favored Hungarian team, bringing international attention to Adidas.

Now that we have an understanding of the company’s origins, let’s examine the Adidas business model using Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas.

  1. Customer Segments

Adidas caters to a wide range of customer segments, including professional athletes, amateur sports enthusiasts, and casual wear consumers who value style and comfort. The company segments its customers into the following categories:

a. Professional Athletes: Adidas creates high-performance products for athletes competing in various sports, such as soccer, basketball, running, and tennis.

b. Sports Enthusiasts: Amateur athletes and fitness enthusiasts who engage in sports for leisure or fitness purposes.

c. Casual Wear Consumers: Individuals who appreciate the style and comfort of Adidas products for everyday wear.

d. Youth and Children: Adidas offers sportswear, footwear, and accessories for younger customers.

  1. Value Proposition

Adidas provides value to its customers through a combination of innovative design, quality materials, and strong brand recognition. The company’s value proposition can be summarized as follows:

a. Innovative Design: Adidas is known for its groundbreaking product designs, such as the screw-in studs for soccer shoes, Boost cushioning technology in running shoes, and Primeknit upper materials.

b. Quality Materials: Adidas invests in research and development to create high-performance products with durable, comfortable materials that enhance athletic performance.

c. Strong Brand Recognition: With iconic products like the Superstar, Stan Smith, and the three-stripe logo, Adidas has become synonymous with athletic excellence and style.

d. Collaboration and Partnerships: Adidas collaborates with renowned designers, athletes, and celebrities to create exclusive, limited-edition products, such as the Yeezy line by Kanye West and collaborations with Pharrell Williams and Stella McCartney.

e. Sustainability: Adidas has made a commitment to sustainability, with initiatives like its partnership with Parley for the Oceans to create products made from recycled ocean plastic and its goal to use only recycled polyester in products by 2024.

  1. Channels

Adidas utilizes multiple channels to reach its customers and ensure a seamless purchasing experience. These channels include:

a. Retail Stores: Adidas operates its own retail stores worldwide, which allow customers to physically experience the products before making a purchase.

b. Online Store: The company’s e-commerce platform enables customers to browse and purchase products online, offering convenience and accessibility.

c. Wholesale: Adidas partners with sporting goods stores, department stores, and other retail outlets to sell its products.

d. Social Media and Influencers: Adidas leverages social media platforms and influencer partnerships to promote its products and engage with its customer base.

  1. Customer Relationships

Adidas focuses on building long-term relationships with its customers by providing personalized experiences, excellent customer service, and fostering a sense of community. Key aspects of the company’s customer relationship strategy include:

a. Personalized Experience: Adidas offers customization options for selected products, allowing customers to create unique designs and express their individuality.

b. Customer Service: The company invests in training its staff to provide knowledgeable, friendly service to assist customers with their purchases and address any concerns.

c. Community Building: Adidas sponsors events, such as marathons and local sports leagues, to connect with its customers and create a sense of belonging.

d. Loyalty Programs: The Adidas Creators Club rewards customers for their purchases and engagement with the brand, offering exclusive access to products, promotions, and events.

  1. Revenue Streams

Adidas generates revenue through multiple streams, including product sales, licensing agreements, and sponsorships. Key revenue streams include:

a. Product Sales: The primary source of revenue for Adidas comes from the sale of footwear, apparel, and accessories.

b. Licensing Agreements: Adidas licenses its brand and intellectual property to third-party manufacturers for products such as eyewear, watches, and fragrances, generating royalties.

c. Sponsorships: The company partners with professional athletes, teams, and events to promote its products and enhance its brand visibility, driving sales.

  1. Key Resources

Adidas relies on several key resources to maintain its competitive advantage and deliver value to its customers. These resources include:

a. Research and Development: Adidas invests heavily in R&D to create innovative, high-performance products that meet the needs of its customers.

b. Manufacturing Facilities: The company operates a global network of manufacturing facilities to produce its products efficiently and cost-effectively.

c. Distribution Network: Adidas has established an extensive distribution network, including retail stores, online platforms, and wholesale partnerships, to make its products accessible to customers worldwide.

d. Intellectual Property: Adidas owns numerous patents, trademarks, and design rights that protect its innovations and brand identity.

  1. Key Activities

Adidas engages in several key activities to deliver its value proposition and maintain its competitive edge in the market. These activities include:

a. Product Design and Development: Creating innovative, high-performance products that meet the needs of its diverse customer base.

b. Marketing and Promotion: Investing in advertising, sponsorships, and influencer partnerships to increase brand visibility and drive sales.

c. Supply Chain Management: Ensuring an efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable production and distribution process.

d. Customer Engagement: Building and maintaining strong relationships with customers through personalized experiences, customer service, and community-building initiatives.

  1. Key Partnerships

Adidas collaborates with various partners to enhance its product offerings, expand its market reach, and support its sustainability initiatives. Key partnerships include:

a. Athletes and Sports Teams: Adidas sponsors professional athletes and sports teams to promote its products and enhance its brand visibility.

b. Designers and Celebrities: Collaborations with designers and celebrities, such as Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Stella McCartney, create exclusive, limited-edition products that generate buzz and demand.

c. Suppliers: Adidas works closely with suppliers to source high-quality materials and maintain an efficient, sustainable supply chain.

d. Retail Partners: Partnerships with sporting goods stores, department stores, and other retail outlets enable Adidas to reach a broader customer base and increase sales.

e. Sustainability Partners: Adidas collaborates with organizations like Parley for the Oceans to develop innovative, sustainable materials and practices, supporting its commitment to environmental responsibility.

  1. Cost Structure

Adidas incurs costs in various areas to support its key activities and maintain its competitive advantage. Major cost drivers include:

a. Research and Development: Investment in R&D to create innovative, high-performance products.

b. Manufacturing and Production: Costs associated with operating manufacturing facilities and producing products.

c. Marketing and Promotion: Expenses related to advertising, sponsorships, and influencer partnerships.

d. Distribution and Logistics: Costs associated with maintaining an efficient distribution network, including retail stores, online platforms, and wholesale partnerships.

e. Personnel: Salaries, wages, and benefits for the company’s employees, including designers, engineers, sales staff, and customer service representatives.

Adidas has successfully navigated the competitive sportswear and apparel industry by developing a robust and adaptable business model. Through a deep understanding of its diverse customer segments and a relentless commitment to innovation, Adidas has cemented its position as a global leader in athletic performance and style.

By analyzing the Adidas business model using Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, we gain valuable insights into the company’s customer-centric approach, strong value proposition, and strategic partnerships. These elements have enabled Adidas to maintain its competitive edge and continue to evolve in a dynamic market.

As a company with a rich history and a promising future, Adidas serves as an inspiring example for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking to build successful, enduring enterprises. By understanding the principles and strategies that have contributed to Adidas’s success, we can apply these lessons to our own ventures and drive innovation, growth, and impact.

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