Chris Murphy on running a digital newsroom for adidas

“We are as close to our consumers as anybody.”

We want to generate conversations in the micro-moments that happen in sports and culture with our consumer every day. member Chris Murphy is the Managing Editor for adidas in their brand newsroom in Portland. And he says digital newsrooms like these are the future of communications and consumer relationship marketing.

“We're closest to what's happening now with our consumers. We see a lot of trends before other people do because we have a lot of tools monitoring what people are talking about, and we're literally having daily conversations with them,” he explains.

It's about the small moments.

Chris says the goal of the newsroom is to keep the conversation about adidas going even when there's not a major marketing initiative.

“We want to generate conversations around our brand, but not just at the big moments when we launch a shoe or during a big game — there are a lot of conversations happening then anyway. We want to generate conversations in the micro-moments that happen in sports and culture with our consumer every day.”

For example, one post might talk about an adidas pop-up gallery showcasing their Tubular sneaker. Another might announce their newest partnerships with NBA draft picks.

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To do it, they bring together social strategy, moderation, PR, and analytics teams into one group.

Their newsroom in Portland is one of eight of adidas' global newsrooms. Each newsroom in each market has a physical space with screens and meeting areas where they hold regular editorial meetings. In Portland, they also sit closely with cross functional teams to gather and share information with different business units on when a product launches, when an athlete signs on with them, and other news.

“With the decline of organic reach, you can't just push out content and hope people see it.”

“We're moving so quickly on trends throughout the day that we had to figure out how we include media buying in an effective way and do it quickly,” Chris explains.

So they brought on full-time support in the Portland newsroom from their media agency, Carat — enabling them to purchase media at any time.

“It was a revelation for us. It was something we thought we could do without, but our representatives weren't always expecting to buy media when something amazing happens during off hours. Now, we have someone who knows that's a part of their job, knows the space well, and has connections at each of the channels. It's been awesome.”

“One of the bigger misunderstandings that we deal with is the idea that PR and social can't work together.”

Chris says by rejecting that idea, they've been able to create a symbiotic relationship between the departments that's helped them know how, when, and where to publish content. For example, a billboard they created for the Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant generated content opportunities from both a social and PR standpoint.

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“We've bucked and innovated the editorial process.”

Chris has been a member of since 2015. Find Chris on LinkedIn and ask about the Portland Timbers.