By leveraging the MakerSights platform, Adidas was able to achieve breakthrough adoption with a key account who’d previously hesitated to embrace their franchise product.Book a demo
Dan Leahy: Morning, ladies and gentlemen. Michael is the GM of Outdoor here in North America. If you've been following Adidas earnings and their reports recently. you'll know that the outdoor category is absolutely on fire and Michael's a big architect of all that growth.
Michael Kadous: Thanks Dan. Kasper Rorsted, our ex ceo, it was a passion of his to drive an outdoor brand and build it over the course of years. So he set us aside, gave us some funding and stood us up. I had the very fortunate opportunity to be the head of global transformation, build out a small team, and, and our job was just to go get stuff done.It could be anything from go to market possibilities, standup new markets, redefine operating models, update the product creation process.
Included in that was also consumer insights and that's where I met Dan and his team. We are on a mission to drive iteration through our life cycle, right? So if you have an 18 month or 24 month creation life cycle, you know, up until that point it was create wear, test, wear, test, launch. And once you launch, you almost are testing with the consumer.
This is about driving insight collection throughout that creation process so that, when we get to the point of launching, we're confident that the product's gonna work.
Michael Kadous: So when you're a brand, you ask yourself, how much am I gonna lead the consumer into the future? They don't know where they want to go yet. And how much do I wanna actually let the consumer lead me? So we actually brought balance to that narrative because there's a lot of fear when you start to drive consumer insights and collect information from the consumer you know, from a design side, creation side, egos come into play, experience comes to play, bias comes into play, right? So we have to work those things through the process. And so by having credibility, because we were like everybody else and had expertise but also having a process and a partner like MakerSights who actually knew how we worked. Like that was one of the biggest unlocks that I had was we'd played with platforms before, but it's actually a partnership that makes it work.
So when I met with your team, I was on a phone call and was like, holy cow, she actually understands everything we're going through, because everything we do is so nuanced and every brand and company has its own nuances and its way of working.
So, Dan, your team, from a partnership standpoint, were really the key unlock to helping us drive this thing, not only through RBU, but also now it's expanded and now it's in scope for the entire Adidas family.
Dan Leahy: What are some of the benefits you saw once you had the ability to iterate with your consumers at that product creation stage?
Michael Kadous: Yeah, again, especially in the outdoor space, it's a long creation life cycle that can go up to 24 months plus... extremely technical. You have a lot of wear testing along the way but the consumer and their experience around your colors and design and fabrication is almost always secondary. So when you incorporate [consumer testing] you can have these touchpoints, these feedback loops, throughout the creation process from zero to one to two, right? This can help inform your drop rounds , in a much better way, help you understand how you're gonna start to rank things right from an investment standpoint. It also helps eliminate a lot of your sampling too, because you're now, iterating digitally and actually having quality check-ins with consumers along the way, so there's no need to actually bring that physical sample in-house.
Michael Kadous: Yeah, I would say immediately it was clear that the unified consumer insights approach from a brand and its wholesale partners is fragmented at best and completely disjointed and dislocated at worst. We'd sit in these sessions and we go in from a brand standpoint, having a clear understanding of who our consumer is you create product for that consumer. You've priced it, you've wrapped it with stories, and you walk in there and the partner's done the exact same thing, right? So they know who their consumer is and what price points they're chasing, right?What I realized quickly, there's no intersection. So, I know the the Adidas Terrex consumer, REI knows the REI hike consumer, but who we really need to shape this around is the Adidas Terrex REI consumer. And rarely does that intersection take place in those meetings.
Dan Leahy: So as you think about activating this sort of consumer centricity, you did it on the DTC side, which is in some ways simple, but you've also tackled it with your key accounts. Could you share with the group, how you've tackled that?
Michael Kadous: Yeah, so it all comes down to data access. So what we like to do is, in partnership with MakerSights, identify a core consumer group and you go out through a digital means and actually test with those folks. Either 2D renderings or if you have 3D renderings, or even actual images, of your product. Then, you can actually get the consumer feedback over the course of 48 hours.
Typically what you do is get with your design team, and your development team, and you go on site somewhere. You do inspiration trips to London and you go to Paris and then come back. Then you also have a hundred people that you can do Q&A's with and that's what you build your range from. But Makersights allows us to actually iterate and communicate with hundreds and hundreds of people over the course of 48 hours to a week so you have instant feedback.
Michael Kadous: So what we did was for our key franchise here within Terrex- the Free Hiker. We had been in a couple doors in an online play and had some really good success. And the question was, how big do we go in the next season?
So we basically got as much information as we could from the retailer on their demographics. Then through partnership with MakerSights, we had a bunch of models not only looking at our portfolio of products but also how they stack rank. We actually went and took pictures of the wall, and then ran the entire wall through this model. So there's different ways we've been using this to unlock the opportunity.
For us, working with this key account, we went from doing a couple doors and an online play to now an all door play and a 4X build in the business, season over season. So, the sellout has been extremely strong too. Dan Leahy: But let's talk in the context of Open To Buys being tight around the industry. The sell through you've been able to see is amazing. Tell me a little bit about why it's so important and how this sort of collaboration around data is allowing you to drive ultimately better sell through with the products you're selling in.
Michael Kadous: Well, you, you're earmarked with confidence, right? You already have a read on that said consumer that's gonna walk in their door and see the footwear. So how can we help sales staff? Well, we can help by actually qualifying this product to be on the floor from the start.
So, you actually strip out the opinions of everyone, and you actually up level the opinion of the consumer earlier in the process. So that product has a reason for being in the store.
GM of North America
Grow Wholesale Channel
Adidas Free Hiker
4X increase in Purchase Orders
Move from limited to full distribution