Adidas Customer-Centricity: What Health Plans Can Learn

Michelle Ammirati by on Dec 22, 2016

How did Adidas move from a fear culture to one that is consumer-centric? At the Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum last week in Chicago, Corporate Insight attended a session presented by Nic Vu, General Manager, Direct-to-Consumer, Adidas Group, North America, in which Vu detailed the work that changed the brand into one that values the customer above all else.

To deconstruct Adidas’s culture of fear, Vu started the Innovation Academy, which allowed employees to submit ideas and complaints anonymously. After receiving 50,000 complaints, Adidas’s executive team realized it needed to step back and put money behind dealing with these problems. Within one year, Vu said that the fear culture inside Adidas was gone. To engage the employee base further in the second year, Adidas introduced a hackathon to drive transformation bottom up by engaging the employee base to submit feedback and help design shoes.

Vu gave examples of his work at Adidas in the hope that there are applicable areas that could transfer over for individuals in the healthcare industry. With many sessions addressing the need for customer-centric approaches within healthcare, this session gave concrete examples of how Vu applied this thinking to Adidas’s company culture and how that has translated past the office into front-end stores in the form of consumer collaboration on designs. He spoke at length about the new Adidas approach that lets anyone walk off the street and submit ideas in stores. Creativity has moved from the back end to the front end, with collaborations on designs and an archive of products and past designs, including all shoe resources at their disposal, open to the public.

Not only does Adidas have an unwritten guarantee to refund unsatisfied customers, but Vu also makes sure that all of his employees are trained so that no worker feels the need to call anyone for help with a problem. Vu spoke about the values of the consumer-centric shift the company has taken, which has built trust through elimination of top-down management practices.

To become customer-focused, Vu said, companies must listen to their employees and their consumers and then escalate with resources for further momentum.

About The Author

Michelle Ammirati

Michelle is an Analyst for Healthcare Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more