Written by Holly Hale • Published 24th April 2018 • 7 minute read

The concept of a brand hiring an influencer to promote a product, service, event or wider campaign isn’t new. In fact, with many brands reporting that traditional advertising and marketing such as television, print media and digital are becoming less effective, it is no surprise that more and more brands are including permanent influencer marketing spend in their budgets.

No longer can we afford to think of influencer marketing as a novel strategy, when by the year 2020 influencer marketing global spend is set to become a billion-dollar industry.

One brand that we wanted to highlight in this piece is adidas, whose effective influencer strategy has had tangible effects on both sales and brand awareness and is, without a doubt, a contributing factor in adidas CEO, Kasper Rørsted being able to say that ‘2017 was a strong year – financially and operationally. We made great progress toward achieving our mission to be the best sports company in the world.’

Below are five notable ways we can learn from adidas’ success with influencers over the last two years:

Creative content

In addition to giving influencers creative freedom when it comes to content, adidas also create their own bespoke content that features influencers. As an influencer, this content is something you want to be involved in and want to share across your social channels because it’s different, exciting and more often than not, something you would not be able to produce yourself. adidas, therefore, ends up with engaging content for use on their own channels and a group of top fitness influencers sharing the same content with their thousands of followers. This is a tactic that works incredibly well when spreading campaign messaging or supporting kit launches.

Example 1: Back in January adidas worked with many of the UK’s leading fitness influencers to create content that featured each influencer encouraging their followers to set goals for 2018 and show the year ‘what they are made of’:

Hey 2018! ✨

||TWENTY EIGHTEEN

Example 2: Just this month adidas turned their ambassador, model and businesswoman Karlie Kloss, into a hologram, along with many other UK fitness influencers, to launch the new Stella McCartney collection for adidas:

Well hello Sunny Saturday! Whats everyone up to today?

Worldwide community

adidas have successfully built a community of influencers worldwide which allows them to tap into an international audience of millions.

By building an influencer network, adidas have increased the momentum to be able to promote and grow the brand in a long-lasting way, creating brand awareness with different audience groups which ultimately means better brand visibility.

Example 1: adidas ambassadors/influencers from different countries often link up and create content to share across their platforms. They tag each other and adidas in their respective posts allowing both influencer and adidas to reach a new market.

Here, London based fitness influencer Bradley Simmonds linked up with Australia’s Steph Smith whilst she was on a trip in London:

Last session with @stephclairesmith before she heads back to @adidasau, ending with a strong one

BACK IN THE GAME with @adidasau @stephclairesmith

Here, two adidas global ambassadors – Adrienne LDN (London) and Julie Nelson (New York) – met up at the adidas Studio ahead of an adidas event:

Look who’s in town!

Example 2: Whether it’s a kit launch or fitness event, the support of their influencer community often means that adidas have hundreds and sometimes thousands of pieces of social coverage to amplify their reach.

This worked exceptionally well when influencers from across the globe touched down in London town for the launch of adidas Athletics Z.N.E. Pulse Collection:

What an extraordinary feeling it is to be a part of the @AdidasMENA ambassador team for the global launch of the @Adidas #ZNE #PulseCollection. Inspired by heartbeats of athletes from around the world

Had a really good yoga session today with these lovely girls ☺️ unfortunately I am not as flexible as them, but I tried my best

I can't even begin to put in words how magical this trip has been for me. Meeting inspiring people from every part of the world, making new friends, and the most amazing part of it all, experiencing the world of @adidas has been so eye opening for me. It's incredible how much you can learn in so little time of you believe in yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Friends, if there's anything you're hesitating to do today because you're scared, nervous or unsure- TAKE THE LEAP. You're stronger than you think

Nothing but good vibes @Adidas #ZNE #thepulseof LONDON✌

A post shared by Ivana Bruic

Good morning my friends! Today I was meeting the amazing @adidas ambassadors from all over the world, and we are so excited for the big release of the PULSE collection tonight! @adidas @adidasisrael #zne #ThePulseOf ✌

Influencer campaigns

adidas often run influencer campaigns using their global hashtag, #heretocreate, that aim to inspire and to get eyes on new product launches. These campaigns are extremely valuable because they allow influencers to tell adidas’ story for them and let’s face it, what better way to show off new kit or trainers than with multiple fitness influencers posting athletic pictures of themselves all wearing the same kit, alongside inspirational messaging.

Example 1: adidas Women’s Training wanted to inspire to help kick-start New Year fitness regimes with a New Year campaign. UK based fitness influencers shared their goals for 2017 on New Year’s Day in the hopes of inspiring and encouraging their followers to set and achieve their own goals. Each influencer involved in this campaign shared a post on Instagram and created in Instagram story to go alongside it:

2017 I'm coming for you

{{ 2017 • L O O K I N G • U P }} So for many the new year brings many new goals, new dreams, new starts and new resolutions… I'm setting myself the goal to create STRENGTH through BALANCE in 2017. Strength to train hard, laugh often, explore more, forgive easily, practice fearlessness, do yoga every day and be kind to myself. In hope of finding continued balance in my work, family and social life … and of course in side plank

{{ 2017 • L O O K I N G • U P }} So for many the new year brings many new goals, new dreams, new starts and new resolutions… I'm setting myself the goal to create STRENGTH through BALANCE in 2017. Strength to train hard, laugh often, explore more, forgive easily, practice fearlessness, do yoga every day and be kind to myself. In hope of finding continued balance in my work, family and social life … and of course in side plank

Example 2: Once again utilising their relationships with fitness influencers, adidas gifted each influencer with the latest kit from the adidas Women’s Training collection and asked them to post a creative and inspiring image on their Instagram channels:

Just wanted to give you guys a #BestMe update. In 10 days, I have honestly gone from feeling so frustrated with my physical & mental progress to feeling like a whole new woman. Just by making some simple and effective tweaks to my training and nutrition I truly feel like I am getting back to my best. And it turn it gave me the confidence to rock this super cute @adidasuk crop top & leggings, that I wouldn't have felt too comfortable in a few weeks back. I put it down to nourishing my body, moderating my portions and becoming in tune with my hunger cues. I also put it down to consistency in the gym, smashing my workouts and in turn already noticing progress in my strength & fitness. And this is only the beginning….in the coming weeks & months I am #heretocreate my best self. My fittest self. My strongest self. My happiest self. If you're looking for the same then come and do this with me! I'll be sharing the changes I've made & little tips and tricks that I believe can help you to feel your best. Already so excited to have so many of you on board! The support you guys give is like nothing else I have experienced, so let's support each other on this journey.

When I started my role as an @adidas global ambassador I was asked what my ultimate goal is. The answer? I am #heretocreate an army of strong women. Women who look after their bodies because they love them. Women who want to better themselves. Women who support each other. Women who empower each other. Women who lift each other up. Women who radiate good vibes ✌

Create the things you wish existed. Feeling super excited about some upcoming projects and events and getting creative again!

Free classes and run clubs

adidas host a variety of free influencer led fitness classes and run clubs that allows them to broaden their influencer activity and further engage with their audience, ultimately driving brand awareness.

This activity allows adidas to create an experience around their brand, both for the influencer and for the audience, and so brings the brand to life.

Furthermore, through adidas, consumers are able to meet and be trained by the influencers who inspire them, building brand trust and loyalty.

Example 1: 152 Brick Lane is adidas’ woman’s studio. Here, adidas film a lot of their influencer fitness content, book inspirational guest speakers, and offer influencer led classes:

||TWOTONED TAKEOVER

Thanks for having me @adidasuk had a blast teaching the runners and can't wait to be back!

Example 2: Back in July 2016, adidas launched ‘adidas Runners’, a community of runners who use the city of London as their training ground. The Facebook group has amassed thousands of followers and the runs themselves are not only led by influencers but they also attract influencer and journalist participation:

City Run LDN

WHO RUN THE WORLD ?

Influencer collaboration to create original products

adidas know that growing and evolving an influencer partnership keeps the relationship fresh and exciting. It helps grow the brand and, if done well, can establish a brand as leading and relevant.

One great way adidas have achieved this is by collaborating with influencers to create original products that appeal to the influencers followers and also to their target audience.

Example: adidas collaborated with London based fitness influencer and adidas global ambassador, Zanna Van Dijk, to highlight the miadidas functionality on the adidas website which effectively allows consumers to customise their own footwear, choosing styles, fabrics, colours and writing.

Zanna created a trainer collection inspired by the things that she identified as making her the person she is. Things like the city of London, physical challenges and a desire to empower women.

adidas also created a slick campaign video to share on the site and across social announcing the collaboration:

THE NEWS IS OUT!

To download our ebook on choosing the right ambassador for your sports brand, simply click on the image below.

Or alternatively, if you’re looking to make the perfect collab or influencer campaign speak to our award-winning team.