With the change in CEO's and suggestions of parent company Adidas planning aggressive product launching, it's hard not to wonder if the company has already cut Taylor Made off at the pass and will return the popular brand to something resembling its disastrous three-drivers-in-one-year product launches. You may recall that approach led to an array of issues with customers, sales figures, layoffs at retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, suggestions the game was dead and led to higher-ups getting "promoted".
Outgoing TaylorMade CEO Ben Sharpe, who took over in April 2014, was flushing the toilet on excessive launches and trying to right the ship. Sharpe was re-establishing sanity and earning back the trust of loyal customers. Yet just a few weeks shy of his one-year anniversary on the job, he was replaced by David Abeles.
And the future vision sounds familiar, as Ellen Emmerentze Jervell reports in a Wall Street Journal story, suggesting parent company Adidas is going to aggressive launch products in the United States.
Adidas has also vowed to speed up how quickly it brings new products to market and invest more in its core brands, particularly in the U.S. The company wants to open 55 new stores in the U.S. in the next 2½ years. It has 30 today.
Add the WSJ to the list of those confusing rejected product release cycles with the health of the game.
Adidas has suffered a number of setbacks lately. The company has a large presence in Russia where slowing economic growth and the plummeting value of the ruble have crimped the country’s contribution to Adidas’s results. Waning popularity of golf has hit sales at its TaylorMade-Adidas golf unit hard.
No, three drivers in one year was the problem. But it sounds like he's already forgotten what his company said.
And here's where the questions should begin regarding where TaylorMade fits into the Adidas vision:
As part of the new five-year strategic business plan, named “Creating the New,” Adidas said it would respond to consumer trends immediately and push out new products in-season.
In a few years, Adidas aims to use purpose-built machines to create personalized products instantly in its stores. It also plans to quadruple e-commerce revenue to more than €2 billion by 2020.
As for the U.S., Mark King, Adidas’s North American CEO, said the company wants to increase its market share to 15% by 2020.
He lives! Will he have TaylorMade rapidly releasing products again?
TaylorMade can do whatever they like and I hope they find great success since they are a popular, important company in golf. But the sport and business must defend itself from those suggesting the health of the game is poor just because golfers refuse to buy $400 drivers three times in a year.