A number of years ago I was working on what was a 'secret' project (secret no longer) with Beauty and cosmetics brand 'Avon'.

The secret project was to help them explore a 'direct to consumer' relationship without upsetting the traditional agent distribution base, which, after all is how they grew the business around the world - so a very sensitive subject indeed. What, and how we went about that is a blog for another time.

However, in the glamorous world of sporting goods and the huge brands like 'Nike, Reebok, and Adidas' that dominate the global space, the same issue has been lurking and festering away at them for many years, it was, and still is the 'Elephant Running Shoe' in the room, so to speak.

Their main challenge is no different than that facing the secret Avon project we worked on in 2004. As such they are all experimenting with ways to 'get closer' to you and me without annoying the plethora of retail stores they rely on for their distribution base.

So I found it an interesting read to hear that 'Adidas' experiment with Instagram has been a resounding success; 

The sportswear brand is one of the first to test Instagram’s checkout feature, announced in March: a way for people to purchase products directly from the app. In exchange for being part of the marketplace, Adidas and the other 19 brands currently taking part in the closed beta pay a fee to Instagram to sell their products directly via the app. It’s a price that has been worth it so far, said the Adidas’ CEO, Kasper Rorsted.

If you operate in B2B land you might be thinking 'so what'? 

And I might be inclined to agree if we were talking about 'multi-million ££$$ hardware and software deals, however, there are many manufacturing companies like Philips, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, who are highly dependent on a similar distribution model as those sports shoe companies, and Avon. 

You only have to consider the multi-levels of distribution that all those car manufacturers and  financial services products currently have to go through, which includes a myriad of dealers and brokers.  It might not be happening with them yet, but you're not sat in those 'secret' meetings like I was with Avon all those years ago, are you?

We are active 'practitioners' of what we do, we already know and can evidence the ROI of a robust and internally aligned 'Social' strategy.

Part of that evidence it that you are reading this blog, just like many others - including your competitor!

We also don't do outbound pushy, salesy marketing, so if you would like to explore more, please contact the author of this blog.