Digital strategy for the Russian market: Adidas vs. Nike
Outdoor jogging in Russia was never popular up until recently, when new jogging clubs opened by Nike and Addidas started campaigns aiming to change the attitudes towards outdoor sport, and motivate people to explore their products.
Now an increasing number of people are enjoying a weekend jog round the park, as well as a run through the city in the morning before work. And they have the opportunity to share this passion online, as one of the most important channels to promote this sort of activities are social media.
It’s not a coincidence that sport brands are among the strongest communities on Russian social network Vkontakte; for this post we analysed the digital strategy of Adidas and Nike in the Russian and Ukrainian market.
If we consider Vkontakte as the main hub for digital communication, Adidas has 7 official communities with different thematics, from general to more specific like football – and even a job offering community. Moreover, Adidas communicates with the Russian audience also on Twitter (7,693 followers) and on Instagram (1,891).
The main Adidas community on VK is Adidas Sport, that has over 385,000 followers, 111 discussions and 13 events that were organised and promoted through this community.
It is interesting that this page uses hashtags not only in the post’s text but also on the post’s picture – which actually catches attention even more. Moreover, the community drives traffic to the Adidas official site, to buy their products online.
Another community is talking about product line Adidas Originals. This is a direct way to communicate with consumers: in the comments people ask if they can find specific model, sizes or color in the shops, and get feedbacks directly in the comments. This product line is pretty popular, and has 188,630 followers on VK.
One more monobrand Adidas community on Vkontakte is focused on the Neo Adidas Label, and has 76,050 fans. This page uses lot of different strategies to interact with followers, such as polls, Twitter actions, questions, inspirational content.
Adidas is communicating with its female audience through women oriented community Adidas Women (8,070 followers). Here you can find photo contests, fashion-related posts, polls and lots of motivational material for being in shape and always beautiful.
More specific communities are dedicated to Football and Running fans, all together counting about 40 thousand fans. The last community in our Adidas List is about Adidas job Offers all over Russia – a pretty interesting example of social media marketing. It has about 13,000 followers and is talking not only about Adidas as a brand and job offers, but also about its employees and teams.
Nike does not have official Russian Twitter of Instagram, although they are present on Facebook with a page called Nike Sportswear Russa, counting 11 thousand followers. Let see how the American brand is performing on VK. Nike has 6 official and verified communities on Vkontakte.
As well as Adidas, Nike has a community about Football. This community is also the main Nike’s community on VK, and its number of followers is around 230,000.
Nike campaings in general are based on a slogan that motivates people to do sport even when it is cold outside. That slogan says “Someone thinks it is not normal. We think it is Russian way”, also using the hashtag #PlayRussian:
The special VK app “Беговой Клуб Nike” is pretty interesting: it connects people from Moscow, Sant Petersburg, Ekaterenburg, Kazan, Perm’, Chelyabinsk and Krasnoyarsk into one collective Running Club. They integrate the passion for sport and active lifestyle by setting trainings and running sessions in the cities, with professional trainers and photographers.
Another Nike running community is oriented to women, and it’s popular among 36,780 followers and it also has an integrated VK application. The app, called “Программа тренировок NTC”, helps structuring 4-weeks-long training programs, made by professional WorldClass trainer Tatyana Gromova. Here is an example of the training program on VK:
Nike Sportswear is the only not verified page in our list, but this community is supported by the rest of Nike official communities. The activity is based on the Nike sport wear products, models and shops where products can be found.
On a side note, two Nike communities are targeting users in Ukraine, for Football and Running fans. These are a good example of using VK as a communication channel not only for Russians but also as a tool to enter other countries’ markets. In total the two communities have over 55 thousand followers.
Vkontakte is the main communication hub to reach the Russian audience, allowing brands to have a one-to-one conversations with their customers at a national and local level, and offering to sport fans tailored material and useful branded apps.
Also, creating different communities on VK allows brands like Adidas and Nike to reach even the smaller niches in the Runet, from both the demographic and the geographic standpoint.