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Content Marketing SMACKDOWN: Nike vs. Adidas

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Content Marketing GOOOAAALLLs!!!
It’s been a big couple of years in international sports, from the London and Sochi Olympics to the World Cup in Brazil on the horizon. This means more than running with torches and patriotic sentiments for content marketers, who have the olympic-sized opportunity to prepare content that for the audiences who will constantly see their brand during these events. Two of the marketers doing it all very well? Adidas and Nike.
Adidas is a sports apparel and accessories company with soccer at its root. Founded in Germany in 1920, the company is one of Forbes’ most valuable brands in the world, clocking in at #61. As of May 2013, the company’s market cap was at a staggering $21.8 billion. Nike, the American company headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, comes in at #24 on the most valuable brands list, with a market cap of $49.36 million.
Which of these wildly successful sportswear brands gives consumers the biggest content marketing kick? Let’s see.

Content Innovation

Nike: Nike’s use of social media content has been incredibly innovative. As an example: the brand live-tweeted with the Twitter hashtag #RiseAbove during the London Olympics through its Michael Jordan accounts, focusing on its basketball audience. Alongside the hashtag, they created YouTube videos focused on amateur athletes from around the world facing a variety of personal challenges. Despite not being an official sponsor like Content Smackdown rival Adidas, this campaign of video and text content on social media was able to generate 2,500 uses of the hashtag in a matter of days.
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Adidas: Speaking of amazing video content that breaks the mold and links up to social media for added exposure: let’s talk about Adidas and Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose. After Rose suffered an injury that many thought would threaten his enormous sponsorship deal with Adidas, the two parties turned the misfortune into an inspirational web series and paired it with the Twitter hashtag #thereturn. To date, the hashtag is coming up on 1.3 million impressions across social.
Winner: Adidas.

Usefulness to Consumer

Nike: In addition to its motivating video content, Nike has content that helps the consumers of its products live a healthy lifestyle. Its Nike training app provides content that crosses the line from digital to experiential, allowing consumers to interact with the brand in real time, in the real world, using their digital device as a bridge between the two. That’s what I’d call useful and innovative.
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Adidas: Adidas also capitalizes on the training angle, particularly with its MiCoach blog site. The blog features articles on preparing for sporting events as well as insights from those participating — recent titles include: “Warming Up for the Marathon Season: A Berlin Half Race Report,” and “Your Marathon Training Guide Compilation.” One criticism? The blog itself could use a redesign, while the site that surrounds it features good-looking visuals.
Winner: Nike, by a hair.

Social Strategy

Nike: Nike capitalizes heavily on its potent “Just Do It” tagline throughout social media, creating coherence throughout channels. The brand also excels at aligning with current sports events; it sponsors the UConn men’s basketball team, for instance, and its Twitter post following their win at the 2014 NCAA tournament plugged into the motivational nature of its content campaigns overall. Aligning with overall marketing strategies is important, and Nike’s social team does it well, locking into sponsorships and branding seamlessly.
Adidas: Like Nike, Adidas’ social content links up with sponsorships, and there is incredibly savvy marketing underneath the obvious reasons for supporting the teams you sponsor if you’re a brand on social media. Sports teams such as Chelsea Football Club have an impassioned audience base already. Lock into that as a content marketer, and voila! — you suddenly have a built-in audience for your brand as well. And if you can hook them with your social content, there’s potential for exponential reach as these fans share with their friends.
By the numbers:
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Winner: Nike, by the numbers
Whose content strategy packs the biggest punch? You tell us.
By Lauren B. Mangiaforte, NewsCred Contributor

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