A Student’s Journey to Adidas Innovator

In his senior year at Texas State University, Cedrik Chavez continues to crush the envelope.

Whether it’s acting as president of Net Impact, being named the first Forbes Under 30 Fellow from Texas State, participating in sustainability work with organizations such as Texas Disposal Systems, interning with multimedia companies such as ESPN, or engaging with Alkek Student Advisory Board as a member, Chavez’s academic and professional successes are testimony to his commitment to positively impacting society.

And it’s his experiences at Texas State that have proven to be pivotal in this journey. The university has provided vital access to organizations and networking opportunities, while encouraging his development through scholastic challenges.

Chavez smiles in his employee photo for Adidas

Taking Texas State to Adidas HQ

In the summer of 2019, Cedrik was selected as a consumer engagement intern for the notable multinational corporation Adidas. Joining the newly established consumer engagement team, he spent the following months in Portland, Oregon, working on consumer acquisition projects. One of the highlights of the experience was developing a marketing strategy that helped to promote and increase enrollment in Adidas’ Creators Club loyalty program.

As the first intern to work on this particular challenge, he had essentially no reference point or model to reflect on — but all was not lost. Finding inspiration in the concept of “bending, breaking and blending,” a theme covered in 2018’s Common Experience book, The Runaway Species, Chavez soon recognized exactly how to deliver a premium, innovative consumer experience to attract new members.  Approaching the undertaking with this perspective of revamping a good idea into a better one, he considered how “innovation doesn’t have to be something radically different. You can take something old to create something new and still have a big impact.”

Innovation doesn’t have to be something radically different. You can take something old to create something new and still have a big impact.

Thus was born the idea of the Creators Club smart vending machine. By offering engaging video content and free exclusive Adidas products only through the vending machines, he determined that consumers would be much more willing to sign up for the loyalty club.

But developing the idea was only the beginning. Bringing it into the real world was going to require some work.

He had to first present to — and convince — 12 different departments within Adidas.

Ever up for a challenge, Cedrik felt that his scholarly journey as a general studies major, experiences in Net Impact, marketing internships and volunteer work had fully prepared him for the road ahead. Always the diligent Bobcat, the effort paid off as his idea received the green light to move forward.

The Creators Club Vending Machine would ultimately be showcased in New York City and Los Angeles, the two biggest markets in the United States, each with their own unique, but lively, sports cultures.


Vending machine concept


Vending machine in use

Placed in Adidas stores across the two cities in the fourth economic quarter of 2019, the vending machines would drive nearly 2,000 new sign-ups to the Adidas Creators Club, while also saving the company approximately $15,000. But the success of the Cedrik’s idea didn’t stop there.

As a result of providing gift cards and other one-of-a-kind items in the vending machines, sales increased in the stores that had them.

This innovative Creators Club Vending Machine program was proven to be a success. It is set to expand into additional markets in 2020.

Chavez with his Net Impact teammates in 2018

Cedrik correlates his growth as a student and individual success with the experiences he’s had at Texas State.

“I think a lot of it came from my experiences through Net Impact, through McCoy College of Business. Having an opportunity to work on real-world problems during my internships,” he says, before offering sound advice to students. “Realize that everyone in college gets a degree, but it’s the organizations you join and what you do outside of college that companies are interested in.”

Moving Forward During Uncertain Times

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertain times for professionals and students alike, Cedrik is taking the situation in stride. “I’ve been using Career Services for mock interviews and résumé review. I’ve been more active on LinkedIn … having conversations with recruiters, evaluating where companies are in their hiring processes and what roles they’re still hiring for.”

Regardless of the challenges the nation faces, the soon-to-be graduate hasn’t given up hope.

“I think it’s not what you do with an obstacle, but what you do despite the obstacle, that can make a world of difference.”

Bobcats truly are resilient and strong. ⭑

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