This is issue no. 199. The last issue had a 🔥47.89% open rate with ⚡9.58% of you going to this article on why every brand needs an Amazon strategy.

Chinese eCommerce conglomerate Alibaba’s brand value has nearly doubled, making it this year’s fastest growing retail brand, according to the firm. But Amazon is the world’s most valuable retail brand, with a strong 53% brand value growth this year and with a brand value of $106.4 billion, just behind Google US $109.5 billion) and Apple ($107.1 billion).  - Daphne Howland

Brief: A deep dive into Outlier's design and ops. And Leanluxe talks Tyler Brule and Monocle's impending relaunch.

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Today's Top Intelligence (10 Reads)
Millennials Buy More Clothes on Amazon
One other interesting finding from the chart [click above to see]: Stitch Fix, the young company that sends personalized assortments of clothing to customer homes, is only five years old and already cracked the Top 10. And its online market share among millennials is almost equal to that of household brands like Macy’s and Gap, and larger than Banana Republic and British fast-fashion site Asos.
Read More
BRAND: As we approach the end of the first quarter, our industry analysts are studying our retail sales data, identifying industry trends, and looking ahead toward what key technologies, categories, and products might change the direction of retail this year. They’ve strategized techniques to help you stand out in this year’s retail environment, and we’ve compiled them here for your review. Read on for 10 ways to get ahead and win the hearts of consumers in 2017.
VOICE FIRST: Amazon's voice assistant Alexa – which is installed in its Echo smart speaker – could bring the U.S. e-commerce giant $10 billion of revenues by 2020 and be a "mega-hit", according to a note published by RBC Capital Markets on Thursday. The investment bank has dubbed the technology "voice-activated internet (VAI)."
DATA: So, it’s not just about advertising anymore—although media-driven outreach remains a key component. Other items of interest include the ability to design customer transaction platforms (think: ordering from a client website), coding chops to make the technology involved in such endeavors efficient and reliable, and data mining to generate leads, find prospects and hyper-target or fine-tune campaigns.
BRAND: The increase – according to Brand Finance – has now taken the sporting property’s worth to over $32 billion, placing it top of the charts in the annual Brand Finance Apparel 50 listing. The brand’s strength has been attributed to its ability to innovate and ‘deliver state of the art products to a range of consumer demographics.’
MEDIA: Native advertising spend in the U.S. was $10.7B in 2015 and is expected to grow to $21B in 2018. Two publishers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Vice, and Buzzfeed continue to invest in theirbranded content studios, competing with ad agencies.
OMNICHANNEL: “We still believe in stores, the importance of stores and the way in which stores can bring the brand to life in a physical nature,” said CEO David Kornberg last week in a conference call with analysts according to Seeking Alpha. “As we go later into the year, we will be delivering our omnichannel initiatives, which is obviously going to rely on stores and our ability to upsell in stores as customers are increasingly seeing a line between e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar.”
BRAND: Adidas also teamed up with women further away from the world rankings, but with a high social-media presence, including model and disc jockey Hannah Bronfman, author and coach Robin Arzon and personal trainer Zanna van Dijk, to reach shoppers also sought after by competitors including Lululemon Athletica Inc. 
MEDIA: Now you can instantly start chatting with your best friends on Snapchat. Instead of digging a chat thread out of Snapchat, users can select their favorite friends, create Bitmoji Widgets for them with their personalized avatars, and click them from their iOS Today screen or Android homescreen to launch straight into a chat with that friend. A Snap spokesperson confirmed the feature launch to TechCrunch.
ECOMMERCE: Start Today’s success rests, at least in part, on an unusual company culture. The company employs just over 800 people — half of which are women, uncommon in Japan — and all of which earn the same basic salary and bonus, dependent on profits, a year. The billionaire executive says that it’s about sharing the wealth. “We don't like a competitive environment between employees, and thought this would keep it peaceful in a way,” Maezawa says.
Re-read no. 198: Introducing Bold Commerce
Last Word: Adidas' North American Onslaught
In a tweet today (here), I pointed out a slide from a deck that reveals Adidas’ hope for competing with a reinvigorated Nike. Here is some good data:

Annual North American sales:
Nike: $14.7 billion
Adidas: $3.6 billion

Non-North American sales:
Nike: $15.7 billion
Adidas: $15.3 billion

Adidas’ 2020 North American goal is $5.3B, a 47% increase. On Twitter, NPD Group industry analyst Matt Powell called the $5.3 billion sales goal a "layup."

Read this by Mathew Kish:

Adidas struggled in North America as recently as 2014, but it's been on an upswing, fueled by a consumer shift to casual, white sneakers and denim. Adidas Group North America President Mark King said the brand's resurgence is no longer simply attributable to Stan Smiths and Superstars, two such sneakers.
"A year ago the momentum was primarily in Originals and today the momentum is across the board in performance product and Originals," King said. "The most exciting for us is the momentum in running and training apparel. Those are the two biggest categories, period."

"It's no longer just a couple of products. It's now the brand is hot. We feel confident we can sustain growth."

A few additional changes that should provide clarity for Adidas’ most recent strategy? They will be losing the NBA this year, as Nike takes over the apparel contract. While this may seem like a blow to Adidas' mindshare, Jeremy Darlow (U.S. Director of Marketing) has been masterful at aligning Adidas’ revenue and brand equity growth missions with a metaphorical insurgency against the institution. 

It’s worked well on the NFL stage (against Nike) and the NBA will present a new opportunity to do the same (against Nike). As for Under Armour, their strategy is scattered at best and presents no immediate challenge to Adidas’ lofty North American revenue targets. But Nike as always a course correction away from regaining their North American momentum.

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