To further its leading place in this vital segment, the profile as the brand delivered the ideal fit for women. The goal was to propose pioneering women's footwear, apparel and accessories across the sports and lifestyle category, in order to enable women to convey their uniqueness.
With both stylish and useful products, emotional promotion concepts and partnerships with the best athletes (e.g. Amelie Mauresmo, Carolina Kluft, Nicole Vaidisova) and other celebrities (e.g. Scarlett Johansson), the corporation showed that Reebok was a product that fully understood the requirements of the female customer. But such niche segments ignored the male and children's market section, incurring a large amount of lost opportunity in these segments. For this reason, Adidas took steps to diversify the market positioning of the company (Annual Report 2006: Adidas, 2006).
And this was a necessary step that Reebok could not quite accomplish by itself. According to Terry Lefton (2009), the Reebok brand struggled with direction at the time of acquisition. Indeed, while it catered mostly to women, the company recognized the need to cater to the rest of the market in order to be able to compete with recognized giants such as Nike. With the latter also being a rival of Adidas, the merger made sense from the Reebok point-of-view.
Once again, a better sense of focus and leadership was required in order to bring more focus to the Reebok brand. The merger appears to be an attempt to remedy a deeper-lying problem rather than being a truly mutually beneficial deal for both parties involved.
3. A lack of proper direction/leadership in the company after the death of Mr. Adi Dassler: Mr. Dassler has been a very good leader and the pivot of the company. In his life the company was able to obtain 700 patents. He had very good leadership skills to make the company grow. But on the death of Mr. Dassler, the company itself was parallelized. Because of the lack of leadership and direction, they descended to the 8th position in an industry that was in fact created by Adi Dassler itself. Recent revolutionary change and restructuring in the company are the only solution to handle this problem.
The poor leadership issue is substantiated by an article on the Streetball and Hip-Hop Website (2008). One manifestation of the lack of direction is the Adidas logo. According to the article, the first Adidas logo was the trefoil. This was replaced by the performance logo in 1991. The use of the logo was however not consistent. In addition to a sudden change of color from green to black, the equipment logo was first used only on equipment products, but later also on products that were not from the equipment line.
Such a strategy would doubtlessly confuse the public and the customer base. Changing well-known logos at apparently random is a very inconsistent way of maintaining customer relationships.
4. Acquisition led to cross-cultural issues and inter-organisational change management issues: Few acquisitions raised the issue of cross-cultural problems and led to strong change management. The company faced problems at both times when acquiring Salomon SA and Reebok.
When acquiring Reebok, the latter was suffering from poor reputation for quality, innovation and styling: however, the deal seemed to present a profitable model for Adidas. Innovation and styling are the key of the industry, and Adidas was suffering from a decided lack of both. This lack translated into the partnership itself, and the joint efforts did not prove as profitable as anticipated.
While it was a logical deal in theory, the practical fact was that it did not prove to be as successful as it could have been. In terms of closing the gap between Adidas and Nike, however, the deal did prove helpful. It gave the German shoemaker about 22% of the U.S. shoe market, for example, compared with Nike's 36%.
The deal allowed Adidas to focus on premium products of excellent design and innovation -- the kind of shoes people with a large amount of money liked to buy. Reebok would fill the middle market, catering to the traditional ladies' aerobics and jazzercise categories. This included fashion shoes worn by suburban children who do not necessarily take part in sports. And had to keep up the successful hip-hop strategy.