As a professor, I am always looking at brands and what examples I can integrate and bring into my classes to share with my students. There are always the usual cases you can discuss, but I always like to see brands and companies that are pushing the envelope and trying new approaches and reaching out to new communities in unique ways.
This is why I am going to be spending some time this fall to discuss two brands that I think are really not only changing the landscape of social media content and strategies for their brand, but tapping into new ways they are approaching new outreach efforts for their key audiences. These two brands are adidas and K-Swiss.
You may be thinking -what are both adidas and KSwiss doing for their campaigns that really is making an impact on social media? Here’s why I will be talking about both of these brands in my classes in the fall semester:
Both brands are thinking digital first. They understand their audiences are getting their information from their phones. Both have a solid presence in other channels, but you can tell they have a firm investment and belief that mobile and social is first and foremost. All of the content both brands have are formatted, and created for each channels specifically. If you look for example with what K-Swiss and adidas are doing on IG, you can see they are creating content that is visually appealing, but also taps into the human stories of what makes the brand unique for their respective communities.
Embracing new ambassadors. This is where I think adidas really shined in their interaction with their community, as shown in the example w/ fellow #SMSports colleague and friend, Geoffrey Blosat. Geoffrey is working on his journey to run a 5k, and was sharing his updates on Twitter and IG and tagged Adidas Running (since he was wearing their shoes), and the response he got from them was pretty good customer (and social care) services.
There was a huge response from the #SMSports community (these are all professionals who work, study, or teach social media and sports) on Twitter. This was a way for us to see how a brand was able to interact on a personal level, and as a result, not only build forth a great exchange with Geoffrey, but made a huge impact on other members. I have been a fan of adidas for their work and products, but this exchange showed me they are actively listening as well as engaging with their community. This is huge in this day of age of social media currency.
I also like the fact that they have been engaging with me as well on social media as well. As a professor, I am always interested in seeing how brands are really listening and engaging with their audiences. I have approached other athletic brands on social media before, but never got a response. On the opposite side, adidas is always on top of things and is actively present in not only sharing content, but engaging with their communities. A simple update, tweet, or even generous action like the example I shared with Geoffrey goes a long way to help foster a strong relationship.
Tapping into new creators/influencers. I think what K-Swiss is doing is pretty brilliant. They recognized a specific segment of their audience was wearing their shoes, and they were able to cultivate a relationship with these professionals and bring them on board as part of their community and team.
Entrepreneurs are the audience in question, like Gary Vaynerchuk, and what is interesting about this campaign is that it is really putting these professionals in the spot light for their shoes. Yes, these individuals who are part of this campaign are influencers, but they are also creators, which you can see here in the IG story that was created and posted on Gary Vee’s IG account.
This does emphasize an additional component we need to look at when it comes to influencers and creators. We are seeing more influencers list themselves as creators – maybe because the term influencer has become overused in the industry – but the perfect combination is to have someone that is influential in specific markets and audiences, but has the talent and ability to create their own messages and content that reflects the story of their brand and the brand they represent. Which, in the case I see here for K-Swiss, they were able to accomplish this. The brand has their own story of this campaign, but they are allowing their creators/influencers to tell their own story in their own brand voice. This, compared to other campaigns, is a bit of a switch, but one that is refreshing.
This also changes the endorsement game a bit as well. Athletes and celebrities are not the only ones now that can have their own shoe or clothing line – pretty much everyone can. Which begs the question when thinking about audiences for brands – are there communities where there are appropriate influencers and content creators you can reach out to?
I think this is a new move we are probably going to see more of in the future, but I do applaud K-Swiss for their engagement and listening to their community, and building a campaign for them.
In summary, I think these two campaigns and brands would be good ones to showcase and discuss in classes and even meetings with social media teams. There are a lot of things we, as social media professionals, can learn from both adidas and K-Swiss here.
Hope you all are having a great day!