Check out a recap of the How Digital Marketing Built These Brands panel discussion – the latest in BrainStation’s Digital Leadership Event Series.
John Panighel is the Senior Manager, Brand Media & Digital Activation at adidas, a global leader and innovator in sports apparel, design, and marketing. He’s also one of BrainStation’s expert Digital Marketing instructors, helping professionals gain relevant industry skills to excel in their careers.
John has been focused on the digital side of things since the early days of his marketing career. “I went to school at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management at Ryerson University, where I graduated with a major in retail and a minor in eCommerce,” says Panighel. “I decided to minor in eCommerce because I recognized retail shifting to be more digital. It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Now, in his role at adidas, John continues to focus on the digital experience, including how it can be improved with the help of data.
The Changing Retail Landscape
The retail landscape continues to evolve as brands rely more heavily on data to influence everything from digital experiences, to customer engagement, to brick and mortar processes.
“The biggest shift I have seen in the retail landscape is around data and how you use it in store, in your marketing, and on your website,” explains Panighel. “Consumers want personalized experiences with brands, and they’re willing to give you information in order to get them.”
Personalization is one of the primary ways that adidas uses media to enhance the customer experience. It’s about setting their brand apart.
“Consumers are more connected online, and a big part of that time is spent on social networks. Brands are having to change their focus away from traditional media and tailor it to social channels,” says Panighel. “You also have to develop social creative differently, it needs to be eye-catching, or scroll stopping.”
To create strategies that challenge norms, adidas recently shared their “Creating the New” strategic business plan, which focuses on increasing brand desirability in the five-year period from 2015 to 2020.
“While we are reaching the end of the “Creating the New” 2020 plan, the strategy is not going away – which is a good thing, because it’s working,” says Panighel. “adidas is focused on the creator. The creator is not afraid to be different and stand out, which is a movement that adidas supports.”
Working for adidas
Business strategies like this not only change the company’s approach but also change how individuals within adidas think about problems.
“Creating the New is about thinking differently and challenging the way we do things. It has helped us overcome the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality,” says Panighel. “It has allowed me to try new mediums and test new strategies, ultimately crafting the way adidas goes to market.”
To get a better understanding of what that looks like in practice, we asked John for insight into the day-to-day activities of his role.
“Every day is different and I’m always learning, which is why I love my job. In the morning I come into the office and review our daily sales and traffic. Then I try to connect with my counterparts in Europe due to the time zone difference,” says Panighel. “The remainder of my day is comprised of different types of meetings, but I always have one hour blocked in my calendar to get things done. It’s very helpful during a busy day.”
Life as a BrainStation Instructor
After these often busy days, John brings his experience and knowledge into the classroom at BrainStation.
“My favorite part of being a BrainStation instructor is getting to know the students. Every student I’ve met is excited to be in the course and eager to learn,” he says, adding that critical thinking is an important skill for both aspiring and practicing Digital Marketers.
“The most valuable skills a Digital Marketer can develop is their ability to challenge the norm, to think outside the box, and to not be afraid of failure,” says Panighel. “If you fail, fail fast and fail forward. Which means to learn from it, and better it next time.”