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The adidas method阿迪达斯模式

The adidas method


阿迪达斯模式






The adidas method    

A German firm’s unusual approach to designing its products    

 

TEN years ago sportswear-makers were cramming ever more features and futuristic designs into their products. They were convinced that the consumer bought, say, training shoes based on their technical specifications. But in 2004 James Carnes, today adidas’s creative director for sportswear, and a Danish consultant named Mikkel Rasmussen met at a conference in Oslo at which Mr Rasmussen challenged this notion. A mobile phone, he said, may have 72 functions, but that is 50 more than most people wanted, or used.十年前,运动用品生产商们一直往产品中填塞更多的功能和前 卫设计。它们深信,消费者愿意购买它们的产品,比如训练鞋,是因为它们的技术规格。但在 2004年,现任阿迪达斯(adidas)运动创意总监詹姆斯·卡恩斯(James Carnes)在奥斯陆的一次会议上遇见了丹麦顾问麦克尔·拉斯穆森(Mikkel Rasmussen),此次会议上,拉斯穆森对卡恩斯的观点提出了质疑。他称,一部手机可能有72个功能,但其中有50多个是大多数人不想用或不会用的功 能。

r Carnes was intrigued, and so began an almost decade-long engagement for ReD, the small consultancy Mr Rasmussen co-founded in Copenhagen. In that decade adidas’s sales and share price have grown steadily, alongside those of Nike, an American firm that is the global leader in sportswear (see chart). It remains far ahead of Puma, its crosstown rival. The two German firms, based in Herzogenaurach in Bavaria, were founded by brothers, Adi Dassler (hence adidas’s name) and the older Rudolf (Puma), who fell out.这引起了卡恩斯的兴趣,于是在此后的十多年里,他开始与小型顾问公司ReD合 作,该公司是由拉斯穆森在哥本哈根与他人共同创办的。其间,阿迪达斯的 销售额及股价稳步增长,而全球运动用品领导品牌美国的耐克(Nike)也与其并驾齐驱。但它仍然遥遥领先于位于同城市另一区的竞争对手彪马(Puma)。 这两家德国公司的总部位于巴伐利亚黑措根奥拉赫市,创办人是兄弟俩,前者是由弟弟阿迪·达斯勒(Adi Dassler)(阿迪达斯的名称由此而来)创立的,后者是由后来出走的哥哥鲁道夫(Rudolf)(彪马)创立的。

Nike’s brash marketing is based on offering big cheques to star athletes to endorse its products. Puma spends an even greater share of its revenues on marketing, and has pushed into non-sporting casual clothes. Its sales have grown, but they remain far behind its main rivals’. Adidas takes a quieter approach, spending less of its revenues on marketing than the other two. Although about a third of adidas’s sales are also “lifestyle” goods, sportswear remains at the firm’s core.耐克浮华的营销策略是高价聘请明星运动员 来为产品代言。而彪马在市场营销方面的投入占其收入的比重则更大,并开始进军非运动类的休闲服领域。虽然其 销售额不断增长,但仍远远落后于主要竞争对手。阿迪达斯采取的方式更为低调,与其它两家公司相比,其市场营销方面的投入占其收入的比重最低。虽 然”lifestyle”系列产品的销售额还是占阿迪达斯总销售额的三分之一左右,但运动用品仍然是公司的核心业务。

To succeed in a business with tight margins, adidas has had to get the nuts and bolts right. Like its rivals it has outsourced production to cut costs, for example. But with ReD’s help it has also made handsome stuff that American rappers mention in their lyrics, and it now has prominent designers offering to co-operate on projects. Mr Carnes gives generous credit to the geeks at ReD, saying that they have had “a general effect on everything”.要在利润微薄的业务领域成功,阿迪达斯就必须注重所有细节。例如,与竞争对 手一样,它已利用生产外包来降低成本。但在ReD的帮助下,它也设计出不 俗的产品,甚至美国说唱歌手在他们的歌词中也提到了这些产品,现在阿迪达斯拥有杰出的设计师从事各项目的合作。卡恩斯将大部分功劳归功于ReD的极客们, 称他们”无所不能”。

ReD has some curious methods. It hires ex-academics, largely anthropologists and ethnologists, to study customers’ motivations intimately. ReD trained a group of adidas design staff in basic techniques, and sent each of them to spend 24 hours with a customer: to have breakfast, run and do yoga with them, and find out what made them exercise. In a related project, an anthropology doctoral student working for ReD mailed dozens of customers a disposable camera, asking them to photograph something that made them work out. Of 30 women who responded, 25 sent a picture of a little black dress, says Mr Carnes. The company had assumed that most customers were training to be good at specific sports; in fact for many, fitness itself was their “sport”.ReD的方法 令人称奇。公司聘用具有专业知识的前任学者来密切研究客户的动机,这些学者大多是人类学家和民族学家。ReD为阿迪达斯培养了一批具有 基本技术的设计人员,并安排他们每人与一名顾客共度24小时的时光:吃早餐、跑步、跟他们一起做瑜伽,并了解他们运动的动机。在一个相关的项目中,一位为 ReD工作的人类学博士生给几十个客户邮寄了一次性相机,请求他们拍摄那些激发他们去运动的事物。卡恩斯称,在给予回复的30名妇女中,25名回复了一张 黑色小礼服的图片。该公司曾假设,大多数客户是想通过训练让自己擅长某些特定的体育训练项目;但事实上,对于大多数人来说,保持身材才是”运动”的目的。

Spending weeks with both the professional and amateur divisions of Bayern Munich football club, ReD’s researchers asked not how long the studs on their boots should be, but what would determine the success of a footballer in ten years’ time. They learned that top European clubs had all become proficient at teaching the necessary skills. The thing that could not be taught, and could only to a small extent be trained, was speed. So adidas adapted one of its track shoes into an exceptionally light football boot. When released in 2010 it became an instant hit—and it scored far and away the most goals in that year’s World Cup.ReD的研 究员曾分别与拜仁慕尼黑足球俱乐部的职业和业余球队共度了几周时间,他们并没有向队员询问鞋球鞋上的鞋钉应该做多长,而重点关注十年的时 间内,决定足球运动员成功的关键之所在。他们了解到,欧洲的顶级俱乐部都已了解如何教授必要的技能。但速度却是无法授予或只能在小范围内训练的技能。所以 阿迪达斯将其一款钉鞋打造为极轻的足球鞋。该足球鞋在2010年问市时一炮而红,而这款鞋也无疑为当年的世界杯(World Cup)贡献了最多的进球。

Intimate study of customers has influenced aesthetic design too. Adidas got the job of creating the host country’s uniforms for last year’s London Olympics. ReD found that for all their patriotism, Brits did not get terribly moved by traditional images like the monarchy and double-decker buses. So adidas and ReD told Stella McCartney, their chosen designer (pictured, centre), to think “untraditionally British”. She made a splash by putting the Union Jack’s red only on shoes, socks and trim, while making elements of the flag so big that on some shirts they were unrecognisable. Despite some initial criticism it was a commercial hit.对 消费者的密切研究也影响了美学设计。在去年的伦敦奥运会(Olympics)上,阿迪达斯负责设计东道国的制服。ReD发现,尽管英国人具有爱国 主义情节,但君主制和双层巴士等传统图像并不会令他们动容。因此,阿迪达斯和ReD向他们指定的设计师斯特拉·麦卡特尼(Stella McCartney)表示,以”非传统的英国”方式思考。她仅将英国国旗(Union Jack)的红色用在了鞋子、袜子和装饰上,而国旗的各种元素夸大地应用在一些衬衫中,以至于人们几乎认不出来,由此引起了巨大轰动。尽管最初遭到了一些 批评,但无疑获得了商业成功。

Similar research into national identity is going into next year’s football World Cup uniforms. When Russians were interviewed about what made them proud, “nothing past 1970 ever came up,” says Mr Carnes. Instead they mentioned Dostoevsky, the second world war and winning the race into space. So Russia’s uniforms will feature a curve representing Yuri Gagarin’s view from orbit.明年的足球世界杯设计制服,阿迪达斯也对民族认同开始了同样的调研。当俄国人被问及 何事令他们感到自豪时,卡恩斯说:”1970年以后就没什么值得 骄傲的了。”。与之相反,他们提到了陀思妥耶夫斯基(Dostoevsky)、第二次世界大战和赢得太空竞赛。因此,俄罗斯的制服将以一条曲线为主题,象 征尤里·加加林(Yuri Gagarin)从轨道俯视地球的视角。

Adidas has set an ambitious 2 billion ($2.7 billion) sales target for its football division alone in 2014, up from 1.5 billion in 2010, the last World Cup year. Overall, the company wants 17 billion in sales by 2015, at the same time increasing operating-profit margins to 11% (from 8% now). Zany as some of its methods sound, equity analysts seem convinced that they will continue to pay off. In a recent poll of 34 analysts by Reuters news agency, none recommended selling the shares, and 25 labelled them as “buy” or “outperform”.阿迪达斯为其2014年的足球业务制定了一个雄心勃勃的 销售目标,仅这一项就要达到20亿欧元(约合27亿美元)的销售额,而在2010年的上一届 世界杯仅为15亿欧元。总体而言,该公司希望到2015年销售额达到170亿欧元,同时将营业利润率提高到11%(现在是8%)。虽然阿迪达斯的方式听起 来有些滑稽,但股票分析师似乎坚信,该公司将继续获利。最近路透社(Reuters news agency)对34位分析师的调查表明,没人建议出售其股份,25人认为该股票可以”买入”或会”跑赢大盘”。

 

Adidas’s 2006 takeover of Reebok, another sportswear firm, was a rare misstep. It has taken far longer than expected to turn around. The main risk adidas faces, says Erwan Rambourg, an analyst at HSBC, is that its heavy spending to gain market share in America and China does not pay off. A strengthening euro is another. But adidas’s many admirers believe that the company’s disciplined habits, and its novel approach to product research, should help it leap over any such hurdles.2006年,阿迪达斯收购了 运动用品公司锐步(Reebok),这是该公司少有的失误。扭亏为盈的时间已远远长于预期。汇丰银行(HSBC)分析师 艾尔万·拉姆伯格(Erwan Rambourg)表示,阿迪达斯面临的主要风险是其在美国和中国市场投入了巨额资金,想要拥有更多的市场份额,但这并未达到效果。欧元走强也是个风险。 但阿迪达斯的许多追随者相信,由于该公司训练有素,再加上其产品研究的新方法,这必会帮助它战胜任何困难。

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