Made to be remade. How Adidas made sustainability THE customer experience

By Jesse Epstein

I grew up in the era of high-performance sneakers – just by wearing the latest Jordans, I was promised I could jump higher, run faster and perform better (spoiler alert: I couldn’t).  So, imagine my surprise when, upon opening Instragram last week, my feed was flooded with scenes of Adidas sneakers promoting something other than high performance!

Last week in NYC, Adidas’ FutureCraft event launched its newest product, the potentially game-changing Futurecraft.loop, a completely sustainable and recyclable sneaker.  Adidas is less focused on the impact the sneaker can have on your performance than on the impact that wearing the sneaker can have on the planet’s vitality. This is quite a shift from the sneaker promotions of my youth!

The outside of an Adidas store.

My colleague Chloe Taylor recently explored how consumers’ desire for brands to be more sustainable impacts customer experience.  At HawkPartners, we spend a lot of time with clients crafting go-to market strategies that lead to ideal customer experiences. Seeing Adidas launch a fully sustainable product, and promoted on Instagram by Peloton instructors, so perfectly exemplifies the evolution not only of the market, but also of the landscape brands operate in.

Digital First, with a Focus on Sustainability, and Products that Inspire.  

Instead of watching a press conference featuring a well-paid NBA superstar typical of a new sneaker debut, Adidas’ launch video for the Futurecraft.loop features its internal superstars and never mentions the product performance, only its game-changing impact.  Some may call it a risk – I think it’s an acknowledgement of shifting consumer priorities.

In Chloe Taylor’s piece, she noted that “successful brands understand the importance of balancing sustainability with the customer experience.” I’m struck by how Adidas did more than merely acknowledge this.  Instead of merely integrating the idea of sustainability with other primary factors, it made sustainability THE customer experience.

Today’s consumers want to be a part of changing the world, something Adidas recognizes. The first ad for Futurecraft.loop stars Willow Smith, a trendy celebrity (and notably not an accomplished athlete) and doesn’t include the words sneaker, run, jump, fast, or perform.  It does, though, end with a nod to the game it’s changing: “The future is about giving back.”

Reach out to Jesse Epstein to discuss how to redefine the customer experience of your brand in today’s changing landscape.