Adidas is an MNC which was founded in 1924 by Adolf Dassler who was later joined by his brother Rudolf, and its headquarters are situated in Herzogenaurach, Germany. It is a manufacturer of accessories, clothing, and shoes. This firm is the second-largest manufacturer of sportswear in the world after Nike and the largest in Europe. The logo that Adidas uses is three stripes that are used on the company's shoe designs and clothing (Jangir, 2014).
In 1947, the brothers split up, and Rudolf formed his own company which was later on referred to as Puma. There was very stiff competition between the two companies as the two brothers tried to outdo each other. Jangir (2013) states that after Adolf's son died, Adidas was bought by a French industrialist Bernard Tapie in 1990 for $320 million. Over the years, Adidas has provided equipment for baseball, and it has also sponsored different players of different baseball games (Elliott & Leonard, 2004). Adidas was the outfitter of all the thirty national basketball associations between 2006 and 2017. Nike then replaced Adidas as the league's official outfitter after the 2017 season (Nike, 2018). Adidas has provided outfits and other equipment for other sports such as tennis, skateboarding, golf, kabaddi, and lacrosse among others. After Adidas, Reebok has established itself as the third largest maker of athletic shoes (Alexander, Khonglah & Subramani, 2015).
To ensure that it carries out efficient marketing activities, Adidas aims to promote high brand loyalty. According to Adamu (2011), the company divided its brand into three separate groups, to ensure that its marketing procedures were efficient and did not leave some people out. It created Style Essentials which were concerned with providing popular products, and Adidas Originals which was created to deal with designs that have remained popular. Finally, there is Adidas Performance which was created to maintain the company's devotion to the athletes.
The most popular of Adidas products are the Adidas sneakers according to Jangir (2013). They became very popular among the young people in the 1980s. During this period, the sneakers were made famous by the song "My Adidas" by Run DMC, and they became a huge fashion trend. Even though Adidas products are trendy especially among the youth, they are facing massive competition from other brands including Woodland, Puma, Nike, Reebok as well from other smaller retailers in garment shops and footwear shops across Asia and around the world (Krishna, 2008). The majority of these competitors have been able to compete favorably by employing the marketing mix made of the 5P's. The 5P's include; people, promotion, price, product, and place. Nike, for instance, uses beautiful illustrations when advertising its products and it also picks very talented artists to represent the brand (Krishna, 2008).
According to Doole & Lowe (2004) brands such as Adidas usually promote a desire in the target consumers, and this high demand leads to a premium price being charged for the products. This branding has been seen to affect different individuals differently. Middle school students are aged between eleven and fourteen years. In this stage of life, children usually are forging their identity. Roper and Shah (2007) conducted a qualitative study that involved primary school children both in Kenya and the UK with the aim of assessing the significance of brands in the children's lives. The study showed that brands cause social division among children whereby the children who are seen to own specific brands are identified as being the "in' groups and those who do not have the brands are identified as being the "out" groups. Additionally, this study showed that there was discrimination against the students who did not own the brands and they faced adverse social effects such as being bullied, socially excluded, and teased which lowered their self-esteem.
The same study also found children to be materialistic and brands were seen to have a crucial symbolic role in their lives. According to Roper and Shah (2007) materialism in children stems from feelings of inadequacy or incompleteness, low self-esteem, and insecurity. The children hence use the brands to convey coolness, prestige, and status (Piacentini & Mailer, 2004).
Elliott and Leonard (2004), were of a similar opinion and in their research which involved a sample of 30 middle school children regarding their attitudes towards fashion in China, they determined that children lacking brands caused them to face peer pressure and bullying. The children said that they needed to portray the right image hence when choosing their sports shoes, they had to choose the "right" brands. Another study conducted by Piacentini and Miller (2004) found out that students found clothes to be a means of self-expression and it was crucial for them to wear specific labels as they were a critical social tool among them.
Students have also seen brands as a way in which they can disguise their backgrounds. A study carried out in Macau between children in private schools and those in comprehensive schools showed that children from lower income homes were more brand obsessed when compared to the children from more affluent homes (Palmatier, Dant & Grewal, 2007).
Proper public relations actions are crucial for businesses to ensure that they thrive and remain competitive (Palmatier, Dant & Grewal, 2007). Adidas needs to promote a positive image by strategically communicating with the public for it to remain competitive. According to the attached article, research in the public relations process is vital for different organizations. First, the company should define the existing public relations problems then plan various public relations programs that can deal with the identified challenges. The company should then implement the public relations programs by ensuring effective communication and action among the relevant stakeholders. Finally, the company should evaluate the program to see if it is useful or not. By being proactive, the company is going to get ahead of the issues, and any impending danger to the company can be averted. In this paper, it is crucial for Adidas to determine how their products affect the lives of middle school students so that they can change any adverse effects and capitalize on the positive results.
The paucity of research about of Adidas provided the chance to further study consumer behavior and satisfaction of Adidas on middle school children in Asia. The study was focused on three objectives as follows:
To assess the significance of Adidas brand in the lives of middle school children.
To investigate whether the exposure of Adidas on the students has had a positive or negative effect on the students.
To determine the social impact of Adidas on the children.
The hypothesis for this study is that Adidas has negative impacts on children and it causes children from low-income families to suffer socially for lacking Adidas products.
This research made use of quantitative research methods, and it used both primary and secondary data. The tool used in the collection of the data targeted to bring about a trade-off between detail, accuracy, cost, speed, comprehensiveness, and anonymity. This data was obtained through the use of questionnaires which used closed-ended questions. In total, twenty questionnaires were administered to the middle school students. Permission was sought from the school heads to administer the questionnaires. Once authority to carry out the research was granted, I informed the students that their answers to the questionnaires would remain confidential and that they could be as honest as possible since no one would know who provided which answers.
Reliability was determined by ensuring that the results were consistent in testing the variables provided. Hence, during the research, caution was practiced to avoid participant bias and errors. The validity of the questionnaires was also determined through pre-testing to ensure that the questions were clear, simple, and suitable for the target respondents. The questionnaires' validity was determined by considering if the findings could be applied to a broader world and ensuring that the testing instrument did not bias the results.
Findings and Discussion
Data analysis was carried out by editing and tabulating the data in accordance with the research questions. Ms. Excel was used in the process of data analysis. Different descriptive statistics were used in the process of data analysis such as determining the mean and finding percentages of different responses for easy comparison. Finally, the results have been tabulated and presented in graphs. 50% of the respondents were male, and 50% were female (figure 1).
The study found that the significance of brands in the lives of middle school students was massive. From the analysis, it was identified that 75% of the students are apparently aware of Adidas products. The study showed that out of the sample of 20 middle school students who filled in the questionnaires, 9 of them did not purchase Adidas products because they could not afford them. However, all the students were aware of the existence of Adidas products. Out of the students who purchased Adidas products, 27% of them bought Adidas products within intervals of less than t...
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