Today is THE day. Today we are opening the first adidas NEO label store in Germany. It is the very first store out of ten which will be opened in Germany throughout the first half of 2012 in Germany. When I was offered the job of the Hamburg store manager at NEO, I was totally blown away because I really like the concept of the adidas NEO label and because I am very much into fashion.
In preparation of the opening, it was crucial for me to incorporate this overall idea of the NEO concept into the recruitment of my sales team. I don’t want them to be just sales people: I want them to be a team that has fun working with adidas; I want them to passionately embrace the idea of connecting with NEO’s young target consumers – 14 to 19-year-olds.
It’s all about creating connections
The marketing strategy of adidas NEO focuses amongst other things on the digital and social space in order to connect directly with the consumer and to present NEO in a new and refreshing style (learn more about NEO’s positioning here). This is why the headquarters team came up with cool things like the Social Mirror in our shop. But this also requires a certain social media affinity on the part of my relatively young team (between 20 and 28 years old).
We have also required that our staff members become NEO Facebook friends, so that they are up-to-date and knowledgeable about what is going on in NEO social media.
But the most important requirement for our staff is to be social and to connect with consumers in the one-on-one interaction directly in the store. Therefore, we are only recruiting team members who are extroverted and, for example, bold enough to dance in the store…eventually we will even have a little stage in the store for DJs or live bands. However, my team should now know how to dance because at today’s opening event there was also a professional dancing group. I hope they watched it closely!
In order to bring my team in line with our goals we have incorporated a few digital tools into our staff training elements. We have a closed Twitter feed for our staff members. The headquarters team will tweet brand marketing updates to the staff so that they can stay informed as to what our consumer is seeing and experiencing outside the store.
And we have implemented an interactive system which ensures in a straight forward way excellent communication between headquarters and the stores.
In addition to that my focus in the next few weeks will be to educate the team and to further optimise the processes in the store. Just one example: we will be offering around 350 unique articles of apparel in the peak spring season.Moreover, we will be offering over 100 different pairs of shoes to choose from. This constant flow of fresh products needs to be coordinated smoothly.
Why there is such a bright spotlight on the Hamburg NEO store opening
Having the team and its character in mind while working towards the opening over the last few weeks, I was far more relaxed than I thought I would be. This was the case despite the fact that the Hamburg NEO store and its opening got a great deal of attention from media, bloggers, other retailers and competitors. But also the headquarters team invested a considerable amount of time and energy into making this whole thing a success long before we started to prepare for the opening.
The adidas NEO label is even part of the adidas Group’s strategic business plan “Route 2015Route 2015 is the Strategic Business Plan for 2015 that aims at growing the business of the entire adidas Group to € 17 billion by 2015. This plan is the most comprehensive business plan the adidas Group has ever prepared, incorporating all brands, sales channels and Group functions globally. It is our road to success: our Route 2015.” and was defined as one out of four adidas Group growth projects. This fact makes the first ever opening in Germany especially relevant to many people. My team and I consider this a great opportunity to show what we are able to achieve – as a store team and as representatives of a new, young and fresh label.
The team and I will do our utmost to achieve our goals, which are – to be frank – sporty but feasible.
We are therefore very excited about the future and are looking forward to meeting you in Hamburg (Poststrasse 9-11). Drop in and meet my team when you are around!