An analysis of brand-building elements used by Adidas


Adidas design and manufacture sports clothing, footwear and accessories. The company are the largest manufacturer for sports goods within Europe, and the second largest in the world (Adidas-Group, 2014). This article will consist of using academic articles in order to analyse the brand’s elements to build brand equity.

An analysis of Adidas’s brand elements

In relation to research, it has been found that surnames evoke personality assumptions of a brand (Wanke, Herrmann and Schaffner, 2007, p. 2). Adidas have utilised this theory as the brand has been named with the use of the founder’s first and last name – Adolf Dassler (Adidas-Group, 2014). His own personality of being a strong, positive, high quality shoe maker allows consumers to make the same assumptions of the brand having these qualities, creating meaningfulness and memorability of the brand’s name (Wanke, Herrmann and Schaffner, 2007, p. 2).

Furthermore, the brand’s logo has inherent meanings which enhance the brand’s associations (Keller, Aperia and Georgson, 2012, p. 155). This includes visual properties within their logo consisting of three slanted stripes, which portray a mountain (List Verse, 2013).  In order to create associations to challenges and goals athletes must overcome which could be achieved with the brand’s products (List Verse, 2013). Additionally, Mosarrat (2012, p. 224) stated that transferability of logos amongst other product lines and categories allows a brand to maintain equity. Adidas have used this theory in designing their logo to be transferrable amongst sub brands, utlising their iconic three stripes into new shapes, keeping the brand’s unified. This can be seen below:

Adidas Logo

Figure 1Adidas logos for various clothing brand’s (Modern Logo, 2014)

Striped logos are often used by sports companies, therefore this gives an indication to consumers that Adidas provide sport’s products (Henderson, et al., 2003, p. 299). Logo research has shown that the likeability of visual elements is highly correlated with consumer evaluations of quality (Henderson, et al., 2003, p. 299). It would appear that the brand’s simplistic logo, using only black and white, allows for likeability and further portrays a bold image, indicating the strength of their products which has contributed to its worldwide recognition (Adidas-Group, 2014). Moreover, the Adidas logo has continuously been adapted over several years, in order to remain modern and contemporary. This can be seen below:

Adidas Logo Timeline

Figure 2Adaptability of the Adidas Logo (Logo Blog, 2014)

Literature shows that it is crucial to protect brand elements from competitive infringement as this could cause financial loss for a brand through unauthorised use, and could be prevented through taking legal considerations (Keller, Aperia and Georgson, 2012, p. 159). Adidas have protected their brand elements through registering their trademark and copyrighting their brand name, logo and associations (Adidas-Group, 2014). The protection of the brand’s elements makes it difficult for competition to imitate.


In conclusion, Adidas have been able to successfully build their brand equity, through conforming to Keller’s customer-based brand equity model (Keller, Aperia and Georgson, 2012, p. 52). This has been beneficial in order to create successful brand elements and has allowed the brand to be ranked among the world’s top 70 most valuable brands (Forbes, 2014).

Zhorna Sylvia Ali


Adidas-Group (2014) Global brands strategy. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2014).

Henderson, P., Cote,J., Leong,S. and Schmitt,B. (2003) ‘Building strong brands in Asia: Selecting the visual components of image to maximise brand strength’, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 20(1), pp. 297-313.

Keller, K. L., Aperia, T. and Georgson, M. (2012) Strategic Brand Management. 2nd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

List Verse (2013) 10 logos that mean way more than you think. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2014).

Modern Logo (2014) Modern Logo.  Available at: (Accessed: 10 December 2014).

Mosarrat, F. (2012) ‘Brand elements lead to brand equity: Differentiate or die’, Information Management and Business Review, 4(3), pp. 223-233.

Wanke, M., Herrmann, A. and Schaffner, D. (2007) ‘Brand Name Influence on Brand Perception’, Psychology and Marketing, 24(1), pp. 1-24.


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