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Senior Director Global Sales Strategy & Business Development, M. Hänsel giving a presentation at Reutlingen University's School of Textiles & Design

M. Hänsel during his presentation at Reutlingen University; Pictures: Reutlingen University

Jana Keutz, Louisa Warnicke & Sophie Hamann (3. Semester Int. Fashion Retail)

The statement by M. Hänsel “Impossible is nothing” was clearly guiding the adidas talk on June 26th, 2018. This former campaign slogan of adidas not only describes Hänsel's perception of his personal career at adidas but the opportunities of digitalization in the sporting goods industry.

The company adidas is received as one of the most successful sports brands of the world. For adidas, they did not gain this market position because they simply set out to be the best, but rather because the consumer – the people – made them what they are today. They would rather keep the perspective that the costumer shapes their brand by being interactive and engaging with adidas. Therefore, adidas is a truly consumer centric company – putting the customer at the heart of everything and implementing this in their company strategy, as can be seen in the message “Empower us to be creator” expressed in one of the videos shown. This effectively conveys their message that everyone impacts the company’s development by their behavior.

The online presence of brands is highly increasing in further years. In this connection ecommerce market places entered the market and are serious competitors for brands like adidas. Thus, it is important for brands to collaborate with online market places and to effectively work together. The future of digitalization will bring new waves of disruption in the form of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, voice interfaces, as well as, internet of things and augmented reality. Although digital retail and brand presence are gaining more traction, they will never be able to fully replace the physical retail world.

In summary there are three different bottom line approaches for future development of adidas:
“digital is the key for success”
“physical store does not go away”
“career without borders”

After the presentation of M. Hänsel, there was an in-depth question and answer part. There was a high variety of questions covering topics such as sustainability, market research, buying behavior, as well as specific shoe and industry trends. The Q&A part of this event gave the attendees the chance to ask individual questions and get a deeper insight into specific topics.