When Adidas was looking to update its brand for a new generation of consumers, it turned to Erika Wykes-Sneyd. The current VP of Adidas Three Stripes Studio used her experience working at PayPal, Uber, Google and PlayStation to build up the sportswear brand’s presence in gaming and connected merchandise and experiences.
How Erika Wykes-Sneyd is keeping Adidas relevant for a new generation
“Adidas’ heritage is legendary, but it wasn’t relevant to a new generation,” said the Southern California-born Wykes-Sneyd, who joined the company two years ago and today leads its Web3 studio. “Now, we’re talked about in every topic from new luxury to metaverse to generative AI.”
She noted that Adidas’ Into the Metaverse NFT drop in late 2021 was the company’s most-talked-about “hype drop” of all time.
Up next, Wykes-Sneyd plans to continue to make technology more available to the masses by converting traditional e-commerce customers into a Web3 community.
“Web3 technology has the ability to represent the greatest democratization of value creation for consumers, creators and community members while also representing the single biggest shift in consumer behavior that any of us have ever seen,” Wykes-Sneyd said. “But it’s not there yet, and the way we use it needs to be culturally relevant and universally accessible.”
What advice would you give to teens about using social media today?
You’re not just using social media, it’s using you—and that’s less of a judgment and more of a point of awareness that everyone should know. When you use social media platforms, you’re in a relationship with a company that is using your data and habits to their benefit and profit. When you think about it that way, ask yourself if that exchange is giving you what you need or if you’re doing it because it feeds the online habits and behaviors you’d rather change—doom- scrolling, unrealistic expectations, FOMO, etc.
How is new technology changing the way you work?
It’s fair to say that we’ve reached a point of information overload. So, when I think about innovation in technology today, I’m looking for the things that help me cut through, see trends, streamline efficiencies and support what is ultimately a constant curation of information from a wide variety of sources.
The speed and scale at which information can spread means that we are all seeing or feeling a part of more crises in real time, decisions have to be made faster, and we have to feel our way through the huge volume of signals and information coming our way all the time. The upside, for me, is that I thrive in the chaos of this super-connected world. It’s made me more connected to my intuition, more open to learning and changing my mind, to be less judgmental and more curious. My working style has evolved to a constant, hyper-collaborative state that doesn’t switch off.
What is the biggest technical leap you’ve had to adjust to in your career and how did you do it?
Technology isn’t the leap, people’s mindsets are. Technology and innovation will always occur and their rate of implementation and adoption is quicker than ever. But none of the advancements or utility matters unless people are willing and open to change. How do I make sure I’m on the technology waves? I get involved—both through personal experience and as a cultural anthropologist, by asking questions, trying things out myself and actively observing why things do or don’t make sense to various audiences.