Every leader should be able to answer the question what makes his team or company strong. In my case, the case of the adidas Group, there are many great answers to this question. But there are two factors of strength that stand out:

The first is our towering desire to win. Believe me: you can witness it in pretty much any meeting as well as in any match on one of our headquarters’ courts and pitches. It’s in our DNA.

The second factor is that we have a clear purpose: sport. Everything we do at the adidas Group is rooted in sports. Sport is our very purpose.

“We fully believe that sport has the power to change lives. We all come to work to enable and inspire people to harness this power.”Herbert Hainer

We are all willed to put in what it takes to succeed. Together we are creating the new.

These two factors helped us tremendously when we had to accept in late 2014 that we’d not meet all our financial ambitions which we’d set ourselves in the light of the strategic business plan ‘Route 2015’ five years ago. It never feels good if you don’t reach all the goals that you had set out initially – neither in sport nor in business. But true athletes don’t retire just because they missed the world record. They take a moment to digest the disappointment.

After that, they quickly turn to appreciate reaching their personal best under the given circumstances and assure themselves that all the long hours of training were not in vain. More importantly, they get up, find out what went wrong and work on improving it. They also bethink themselves on their strengths and what went well. Their desire to win makes them strong. And that is exactly what we did.

Creating a plan – Creating the new

We reacted like a true athlete. We worked hard. We adjusted our training and laid the foundation for coming back even stronger than before.

We took all the successes and the learnings from Route 2015 because this plan  created a great deal of positive change within the adidas Group already. Now, it will act as a powerful springboard to our 2020 ambition.

“Creating the new” is the headline for our next five-year strategic business plan. Here are a couple of characteristics of the plan that I personally consider especially important (besides its actual content):

  • It is a plan that clearly outlines and meets our attitude. “Creating the new” is the attitude that leads us forward. This is a truly brand-led plan because it is our strong global brands that lead our way into the future.
  • It is an ambitious plan because we want to accelerate our growth, both on the top and on the bottom line until 2020.
  • It is a plan that was developed as a team. The Executive Board took full ownership and many members of our senior management got involved, both on a global and on a local level. So it is not my plan, it is the adidas Group’s strategic business plan.
  • It is a plan with clear priorities. As a Group, we have taken three clear strategic choices that we want to focus on: “Speed”, “Cities” and “Open source”. You’ll find more contexts on these strategic choices here.
We adjusted our training and laid the foundation for coming back even stronger than before.

We are going to execute them in a highly focused manner across the whole organization. We will be the first sports company that invites athletes, consumers and partners to be part of our brand. We will open up so that they can co-create the future together with us. By focusing on key cities, we will gain a halo effect across markets and categories. By increasing our speed to market, we will fulfill consumer demand faster and better than anybody else. It is a plan that evolves towards a clear goal.

All of the plan’s elements will be step-change for brand desirability and brand advocacy – which in turn will enable us to accelerate our top-line growth, win significant market-share across key categories and markets and improve our profitability sustainably.

We trust our strength

We have made major progress in the last five years. We have learnt important lessons – both positive and negative – that we will now apply. We are focused as never before and firmly set on capturing the opportunities which present themselves to us.

“We are ready to accelerate our growth story and we are feeling the desire to win stronger than ever before. This is why we can be super confident about our future.”Herbert Hainer

Let me take the opportunity to wholeheartedly thank the entire team. Our employees are the main reason for my unshakeable confidence in our company’s future. We are all willed to put in what it takes to succeed. We are having it all and what we don’t have, we will earn. Together we’re creating the new.


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by Christopher 31.03.2015
i congratulate the Addidas Group for being a true European leader in sports wear. There is so much more you can do, and innovation is key to future success. There are many areas in which you do not operate, and my suggestionis to, allow small teams tomcome up with new ideas in all areas of business.

As a father of a top performing athlete i have come to realise that a professinal athlete spends most of his time managing injury. You don't have many products focussing in athletes managing their injury time, only their training time. In some sports there is more time spent managing injuries than training.

Secondly, if younger people are often gaming and online, surely Addidas should have both shopping experiences like gaming online,mwith 3d shops and allowing visitors from all around the world meet and shop together. So say tennis players would all shop in something similar to a 3 d shop, meet purchase items together, compare products, and maybe even play a virtual tennis game together. If more realistic gaming continues to grow, you should mirror your virtual kit in the real world, combining virtual with reality.

Bringing your supply chain together through system, should allow your customers to "make" their own products via factory automation and virtual reality, combining personalisation, plm, erp, gaming, online shopping and real time sports along with real "live" manufacturing, will bring it all together (even automated picking in the warehouse for made products - warehouse automated picking systems will soon be a reality too - i mean we can fly weapons around the world, so surely we can create a picking robot, controlled by our customers?). Get them really part of the Addidas Brand!

Thats the future. Not where we are today!
by Florian Zimmermann (moderator) 01.04.2015
Hello Christopher,

thanks for reaching out to us and sharing your thoughts and insights. Good to hear that you're as enthusiastic about sport as we are. We will pass on your feedback to our product development colleagues.

As you also mentioned the topics "speed" and "open source" as key to future success, this one here might be interesting to read for you as well: http://www.adidas-group.com/en/media/news-archive/press-releases/2015/adidas-group-accelerate-growth-until-2020/

Best regards from Herzogenaurach,


by Nene33 01.04.2015
Okay so now that's out of the way, will adidas finally return to what works, to being true to what adidas stands-for(fundamentals, at a good price), build on the strengths, or will this reset be yet another completely new direction, trying to catch something else?

I ask because for the US-market/Basketball, adidas knows what works, FYW, and 5-pod PureMotion(got all the sneakerheads interested, and judging by all the barefoot/naturalist copies from other brands since you stopped, it sells) but it gets scrapped every time, which is kind of frustrating for the original adidas-fans, because FYW, and 5-pod are what makes adidas special in Basketball.

Also will adidas step up the integration of Boost(specifically for basketball), because keeping it expensive, and exclusive isn't good(people are checking out as we speak), every shoe should have some Boost(adidas Boost needs to become 1-word, so it really needs to be everywhere) up to 100 a block(cube) of Boost in the heel, the mid-range prices, fore-foot, and heel/fore-foot combos(pro model), and the top-tier full-length.

Just be adidas, fundamentally sound, at a good price, but add some fun, right now every shoe is a little high in price, making it very serious to buy a pair, now I don't have the stats, but from an outsiders point of view, selling out at 100, is better than everybody waiting for the 115 pair to go on-sale.
by Owen 07.04.2015
Hi Herbert,

I am a member of Community Board 12 (Queens NYC) Economic Development committee. Our district covers the

New York City neighborhoods of Hollis, Jamaica Center, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, South Jamaica and St. Albans. I read about Adidas' 2020 business plan centered around an "American flair". Our area, specifically Jamaica

Center/Downtown Jamaica can be a significant part of that plan.

Jamaica Center is what a journalist might call an "urban shopping center" like Downtown Brooklyn, or 125th street in Harlem. New York City fashion trends are birthed in these "urban shopping centers". For example your company should be familiar with the rap group Run DMC and their classic song "My Adidas". Run DMC are from Hollis Queens (a neighborhood in our district) and they more than likely bought their Adidas on Jamaica Avenue,in Jamaica Center.

Your company's vision of opening more stores in NYC makes sense, but many companies often think of

Manhattan shopping districts when they think of NYC expansion. While opening another store in SOHO, 5th Avenue or Union Square might double as a billboard you would be selling and advertising mainly to European tourists. A store on

Jamaica Avenue would have deeper cultural significance. The NYC kids that started sneaker obsession would get a new chance to solidify their affinity for your brand. The dozens of sneaker stores on Jamaica Avenue currently are basically

cathedrals of Jordan's and Nikes with Adidas on the periphery. Your company needs a direct route to Jamaica Avenue teenagers, not 5th Avenue tourists.

Our Economic Development committee is engaging in a rebranding initiative. NYC commercial real estate brokers often label our area "inner city" so many mainstream retailers avoid our area. A top of the line retail experience that your brand can offer would help break that stigma.

I have contacted several executives in your organization including the SVP and head of North American retail real estate with this information. I am submitting this comment to inform you that Downtown Jamaica can be a significant player in your vision.

Thank You
by Florian Zimmermann (moderator) 08.04.2015
Dear Owen,

thank you very much for sharing your insights.

I will forward your thougths internally, so that we can learn from your knowledge.

Best regards from Herzogenaurach,

by Илья Журавлев 17.04.2015
Hey adidas, I love weightlifting and use your ammunition for their training and I have a dream ! Dream is to see my beloved weightlifter under your brand ...This athlete Ilya Ilyin

Ilyin has won two Olympic championships and four world championships. He is currently the world and Olympic record holder in both the clean and jerk (233 kg) and the overall total (418 kg) in the 94 kg class. On the 15 of November 2014, Ilyin clean and jerked 242 kg setting a new world record in the -105 kg class. He is Kazakhstan's first two-time Olympic champion

Millions of people around the world fascinated by the athleticism want to be closer to their idols in clothing Adidas
by Ramkumar 03.05.2015
Hi Adidas & Herbert Hainer,

Do you really think that your company is making a success by winning people's heart? Definitely not. Not sure if you have gone through feedback from customer but I'm sure you would be reading this. I have been cheated by your worst customer support. I have bought a sweatshirt from you through online.

Order No: 12092959 & 14546970

I have received this product on 10th March 2015. Since the unit was not stitched properly on the inner right side pocket, I called your customer care and made a return on March 17th. After calling multiple times for your customer care finally I got an update that the quality check has been done for returned unit and I got the amount credited to my adidas account as points. The worst part of buying products through your online portal starts here. The portal still shows the old order in progress. Again I need to reach your customer care every time to fix this issue in which the answer is to call the next morning to know the status which doesn't make sense. With the points in my account I purchased a another unit by paying extra amount of 680 Rs/- and this time the portal shows "payment verification failed" but the amount was

debited from my account. Called your customer care for more than 10th time and spoke to first level of engineer (Christina Sanger). Explained her completely about the issue and asked for escalation engineer but the response from her is to call them back the next morning. I never heard such kind of response from any customer care so far. After a long wait I have been transferred to the next level engineer (Nidhi Sharma) who actually understood the problem and took some initiative.Its been 5 days from now and I didn't receive any reply back from you guys. Really irritating !! Is this the way you cheat money from people and grew up your company?

All I need is my money back. I don't need any products from Adidas through stupid online portal which is not

working as expected and careless customer care who never understand the customer issue.

Please return my original money (Rs.1319) + extra money I paid to purchase second unit (Rs.680) to my HDFC account from where I paid the money through netbanking.

The total amount is (Rs.1999).

I never recommend someone to buy product through Adidas online portal as well as through Adidas Outlets.

Worst customer support experience !! This may not be the right place to share but all I need is to show this to world on how Adidas cheat customers !!
by Florian Zimmermann (moderator) 05.05.2015
Dear Rankum,

this blog's main objective is to provide authentic insights and additional background about our company and the manifold business we drive within a dynamic and fast-moving industry.

We're sorry for your unpleasant experience and of course we will try to help you with your issue. For that reason, we forwarded your request to our colleagues internally, who will reach out to you.

Coming back to what I have said in the first place, we want to ensure a quality conversation here on the blog with our community around the articles and topics. Off-topic comments will disturb the discussion and might confuse other readers, we will therefore delete your comment within the next 2 days. As I said, we have forwarded your issue already internally. Our colleagues will reach out to you.

Best regards,

by Seán 24.06.2015
Hi there,

Can you advise on contact details for Herbert or his assistant please?

by Marc 02.11.2015
Keep up the great work, millions of people look up to this brand's actions.
by tim 02.11.2015
great beginning, it's absolutely right to say that Every leader should be able to answer the question what makes his team or company strong. very good point and i think that's is main reason why adidas is touching sky limits.
by Jones 21.08.2018
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