Felix Escribano

Reloaded: adidas Group Social Media Guidelines

Reloaded: adidas Group Social Media Guidelines

More content, more stories, more context

At the beginning of 2011, the adidas Group decided to revamp its existing Social Media Guidelines (SMG) by adding more content and more stories. In addition to providing some basics about the use of social media externally and our internal social software, we presented SMG cartoon couple Sue Social and Media Man. What could adidas Group employees worldwide expect from the new, “old” guidelines?

Since 2009, the SMG have been the adidas Group’s code of best practice when it comes to the appropriate use of social media tools within the company and in the name of the company.

And though they remain employees’ first source of reference when it comes to entering the 2.0 world, we have added a few basic explanations which should support employees in their adidas Group and private role in the social media world.

Our cartoon heroes Sue Social and Media Man guide all employees through the Social Media Guidelines “Reloaded”, introducing them to:

  • The ten golden rules in the social media world
  • Popular errors about social media
  • The main tools
  • The story of collaboration and sharing
  • Why the adidas Group encourages us to learn about the use of social media

The message stays, the style is new.

The story

Sue Social and Media Man - adidas Group Social Media Guidelines

Sue Social and Media Man

When Sue Social is about to enter the social media world with her new smartphone, Media Man appears. He is the great hero who wants to protect Sue from the supposed dangers in the unknown world. Instead of understanding the benefits of social media and the fact it is here to stay, he starts a battle which he is losing. Finally he realizes that Sue doesn’t need to be protected and is not afraid. She is happy to make the best use of it by sharing and enjoying and hooks up Media Man into the next step of communication and collaboration.

Foster the ability to share and collaborate

As you will see, we strive more for content which should guide and encourage users to embrace the opportunities of social software instead of setting up rigid rules. This approach is in line with the kind of attitude we would like to foster amongst employees, in particular as we are piloting a social intranet integrating communication, collaboration, information and networking management on one platform. We believe that the success of a social intranet will not only depend on usability and technology topics, but first and foremost on the ability to share and collaborate across departments, countries and brands.

What do you believe is important when it come to social media guidelines?

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  1. I’m amazed nobody’s commented yet – I love the way you engage employees in this playful and very clear way – excellent! I work at a corporate where we’ve been using a social internal platform since 2009 and now take employees on the external journey into learning from what’s out there and becoming ambassadors on their core topics. Again – well done with the two cartoon characters – great idea.

  2. Felix, well done! Great idea and good execution! I like the story-telling approach and the idea to keep it simple and relevant. Had adidas employees input into the guidelines? What has been the response so far?

    I think that social media guidelines are a fundamental part of a wider social media education initiative, which in return is often part of a wider social business strategy. As businesses realise that they must connect with the market place, the need for educating the workforce grows. Currently, businesses are at the stage at which traditionally customer-facing functions are active on social channels. The HR team has built a recruitment presence on Facebook and the Customer Services team is busy on Twitter and the company’s customer community. Social businesses however allow and encourage employees from other departments to interact with the market place. For example, if a product design graduate is interested in a company, he can talk directly to a product designer rather than to someone from HR.

    Social media education is the first step to make this happen. However, at the same time many more questions will need to be answered. For example, should and how could non-outward facing functions monitor the social web for relevant conversations? Do job descriptions need to be changed for employees who traditionally have not interacted with the market place? What is the incentive model for employees to become brand ambassadors? Do performance assessments need to include employees’ activity on the social web? And if so, how would that look like?

    Traditional businesses using social media will not be able to compete with true social businesses. But it is a long and challenging way to become a social businesses because not only technology changes. To make full use of the technology at hand, organisations need to change their corporate culture and structures. We are only at the beginning and there is so much more to learn. We are all smart people, but sometimes help from a hero may not be a bad idea.

  3. Hi Daniel, Christoph,

    thanks for your encouraging comments!

    We launched these “reloaded” Social Media Guidelines internally some months ago already and the responses were positive, so we decided to share these guidelines with everybody. The official guidelines have been around for a few years already on our adidas Group Wiki and they are obviously still part of the animated version, as you can see here http://smg.adidas-group.com/the_adidas_social_media_guidelines.php

    When you follow that link, you will see why we think we should support all employees in making the best use of social media, in particular as we are planning the launch of a collaborative intranet. So far our Intranet is based on blogs and wikis as you can see here http://www.slideshare.net/felmundo/eicim-felix-escribano-9691110

    In my opinion, in order to survive, complex organizations will need to make the best use of their existing knowledge. It is not anymore about more, but better. Not about less complexity, but more creativity. Not more information storage, but more knowledge sharing. Not about diversification, but integration.

    We might be only at the beginning as Christoph says, but I guess we all agree these changes happen too quickly in all areas of our society to be ignored or implemented too slowly.

  4. Hi,

    The link to the cartoon is not working :-(

    Hope you can fix it?



  5. Hi Yvonne,

    yes, there seems to be a server problem. We are aware of that issue and it should be fixed today.


  6. Thanks to all for your patience!

    The social media guidelines are up and running again.


  7. [...] heeft dit begrepen. Het concern gaf zijn oude social mediarichtlijnen een komische make-over. Op de corporate blog vertelt Adidas welke gedachte ten grondslag lag aan het vernieuwen van de bestaande richtlijnen. [...]

  8. Hola Felix,
    Te hago este comentario al ver que eres experto en gestión del conocimiento.
    Además de la intranet para los trabajadores del grupo. ¿Teneis algún tipo de red o sistema de comunicación con los clientes de forma que se puedan entablar conversaciones sobre distintos temas?
    A la hora de cambiar los tacos de apoyo de las botas de futbol predator a los nuevos tacos de apoyo de las predator lethal zones me hubiese gustado algo más de comunicación con los que las vamos a usar.
    He llegado hasta aquí surfeando por la red. Me alegro de encontrar a alguien que entienda el castellano. Un abrazo, Alfonso.