“It’s helpful to get a 30,000 feet perspective on all of the different things they are trying to do. Coming here, having everybody together, gaining better clarity on what’s happening, puts us in a better position to direct things.”
Ayo Taylor-Dixon, the Senior Associate AD/External Operations at Georgia Tech is one of dozens of partners that came together last month for the adidas marketing summit at the brands HQ in Portland. The apparel giant gathered its Power 5 partners for an inside look at what adidas is focusing on over the next year in the hopes of spirited collaboration with their institutions across the country.
“The NCAA Partnership Marketing Summit is something no other brand in our industry is doing,” explained Renee Eoff, Vice President of adidas Team Sports. “Together with 30 of our partners from our Power 5 schools, we came together to ideate and collaborate over the course of three days in Portland.”
The adidas partners gathered to chat about a united vision for the coming year, and learn ways they can make some of adidas marketing strategies ring true on their own campuses.
“It shows a lot of value to us to see adidas and learn what their global initiatives are and learn how we fit into it, because then it gives us an idea of how we can fit their ideas into Miami,” Tim Brogdon, Assistant AD / Digital Strategy at Miami told CollageAD.
adidas drove home its brand mission, which is centered around the athlete, for the summit organizers, the root of the brand is sport. They are hoping to create the best team sports experiences for the creators, the coaches, and the community.
Building that community was the uniting goal of this year’s adidas marketing summit.
“I think it’s something that is innovative, we know a lot of people, across the country, who are not doing this with their apparel partner at all,” explained Brogdon. “They barely have a connection to that partner and we are incredibility relationship-based with adidas.”
“The days of our relationships with our Power 5 schools being simply transactional are over,” said Eoff. “We’re redefining what our athletic partnerships look like to be a leader in the NCAA space.”
Some of the creative ideas to come out of the discussions focused on the story behind the athlete. adidas is encouraging each of their partners to help their athletes realize they are heroes to young people in their communities, getting their stories told is a great way to align the university brand with the overall mission of adidas.
“It helps us on the administration side have a better understanding of what are certain things we should be looking for to amplify,” says Taylor-Dixon. “How do we make the things we learn here align with the things on our campuses to elevate our brands?”
For Tim Brogdon with Miami, seeing the investment of the U’s partnership play out over the course of the adidas marketing summit was well worth the trip cross-country.
“We are lucky enough to be a part of their brand strategy in general, there is true investment, we are in a place where we can really use our partnership. It’s collaborative, we give creative input as well. We listen and apply the message to our own efforts.”
“Our partnerships spread beyond athletics. We are looking forward to continuing to partner with our universities in meaningful ways,” explained Eoff.
This personalized approach is striking a chord with the apparel partners; the representatives from the institutions were eager to put the unified message into play.
“This is the opposite of the big box store approach, where everybody kind of gets the same message regardless of who you are,” said Taylor-Doxon. “This is a more personalized effort; it lets us stay true to who we are and still align with an overall message of who we are as adidas partners.”