Puma’s Marketing Strategy
Marketing vision and goals
Puma’s marketing vision today centers on its representation of positive values both in life and in sport. Its goals include a continuing penetration of markets beyond the sports of football and running where it has achieved its best success to date and the further penetration of the U.S. market.
Product strategy and positioning statement
In the intereste of achieving these ambitions, Puma introduced a new positoning statement in 2009 which would articulate this vision of positive values in life and sport. According to Puma (2013), the company “refined our brand manual. ’10’ is the very first brand manual to incorporate the four keys to success of the global PUMAVision — fair, honest, positive and creative. Our brand mission — to be the most desirable Sportlifestyle brand in the world — has not changed at all.” (Puma SE, p. 1)
With respect to the strategy of maintaining and extending these values, Puma must face many of the controversies that have impacted its reputation in relation to the labor and environmental practices of its outsourced production facilities. As these impact the company’s public image, so too do they threaten the credibility of this positioning statement. The same is true of its product strategy.
Here, Puma declares that “Joy’ is what we will try to bring to our consumers and is what will differentiate us from our competition — it’s our point-of-view. While others talk about blood, sweat and tears of sport, we recognize that they cannot be the only rewards. Rather, we’ll talk about the moments of joy inherent in both sport and life. We are the brand that remembers what it was like to play the game — and to play it with joy.” (Puma SE, p. 1) The company will work to convey this image by continuing and expanding its association with highly regarded and well-performing sports stars.
For a customer snapshot, we consider some of the hybrid strategies used by Puma today to integrate the various interests of its consumer base. In doing so, it also lends considerable insight into who it believes its customers to be. According to the article by Johnson (2013), “Puma is launching a time-sensitive mobile photo sharing global contest that gives soccer fans an opportunity to share photos in exchange for winning cash for their uploads. Puma is one of the first brands to test campaigns using the Foap mobile app. The brand is using the platform to spark up some engagement with soccer enthusiasts.” (p. 1)
This denotes an integration of the interests of its consumers in international football competition and the manner in which this consumer base uses mobile technology in concurrence with its fandom. It also suggests that Puma sees its customers as young, technologically savvy and engaged through social media sharing. It is using this perception of its target to attempt new and innovative ways of reaching out to them.
The article by MacLeod (2006) perfectly captures the competitive realities facing Puma. For a good portion of its history, Puma failed to engage the leading brands in the sportswear industry head-on. Remaining somewhat insulated within the bubble of soccer, Puma’s marketing orientation lacked the incredible reach of competitors such as Nike. This is why, MacLeod argues, its position would change dramatically as it directed its gaze directly on the considerable customer bases shared by these industry leaders. According to MacLeod, “a focus like that of Nike or New Balance was exactly what Puma lacked. In order to gain market share and return to its pre-IPO profitability, it needed to determine how it was differentiated from the other companies in the industry. Puma engaged in a three phase strategy to reposition the company amongst its competitors. The strategy was very successful and growth at Puma was remarkable, with sales increasing 30% every year from 1997 through 2003. In 2004, the company’s earnings were 257 million euro on sales of 1.53 billion.” (p. 1)
In order to be competitive, Puma would have to find ways of marketing itself as fashionable and appealing even outside the context of its intended athletic activity.
Brand elements and differentiators
One of the struggles for Puma has been finding a balance between its image as a preferred brand for athletes and its desire to expand into new customer bases. According to Masidlover (2013), “Puma’s foray into new markets may have alienated part of its core sports clientele.” (p. 1) This justifies the design and embrace of a wider range of athletic sports through its marketing strategy.
Annual and Monthly Budget
Ultimately, the marketing campaign proposed here would require an annual expenditure of roughly $3.2 million, with much of that expense channeled into partnerships with emergent mobile application producers and sponsorships with popular American athletes. This denotes a monthly budget of roughly $267,000.
The primary objective of the marketing mix must be to find ways of expanding Puma’s appeal without alienating its core customer base. The media for this strategy should be, as demonstrated in the mobile application contest above, couched in new technologies. Promotions should venture into previously unexplored sports, and especially those in the American marketplace. Here, considerable untapped potential remains through advertising sponsorships with popular baseball, basketball and American football players. This must all be underscored by a public relations plan centered on improving the companies international performance in the areas of labor rights and environmental protection.
Johnson, L. (2013). Puma tries out mobile photo-sharing with rewards-based campaign.
MacLeod, A. (2006). Puma AG. MarketBusting.
Masidlover, N. (2013). German Sportswear Maker Puma Issues Profit Warning. Wall Street Journal.
Puma SE. (2013). Our Brand Strategy. Puma.com.