Puma: Essay Solved

Puma Essay

(3294 words)

Introduction

            One of the most popular brands of shoes nowadays is Puma. One can only surmise how the shoe company been successful in the shoe business. Not only they are popular because of the company’s history but of its inventiveness ingenuity, fusing sports, lifestyle, and fashion.

 

Timeline

            The history of Puma dated back in 1924 when the brothers Dassler founded the “Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik” in Herzogenaurach, Germany – a every successful company which fitted many an athlete with Dassler shoes at the Olympics in 1936. The most prominent was, of course, Jesse Owens.

In 1948, the brothers decided to separate and set up their own companies to avoid further arguments. Adi Dassler founded Adidas, and Rudolph Dassler founded Puma. It is in the same year Puma also introduced its first football shoe, the PUMA Atom.

In 1958 PUMA’s signature formstripe was introduced. This would begin the intense battle between Puma and Adidas to get their shoes onto the feet of world-class athletes that would span the next several decades. This intense race to market new technologies spawned copyright and infringement lawsuits until 1960 when Puma, behind in sales by a nine to one ratio, paid West German track star Armin Hary to defect from Adidas and wear Puma shoes. In 1962 Pele becomes the World Cup champion for a second time while wearing Puma shoes. Six years later, the Puma leaping cat logo as we know it today was launched. The same year Puma had a number of successful models, including the “King” soccer shoe worn by Eusebio at the 1968 World Cup and the “Suede” (later called the Clyde) worn by the Black Power runners Thomas Smith and Lee Evans at the Mexico City Olympics. In total, four ahtletes bring home gold medals while wearing Puma; Tommie Smith in the 200m, Lee Evans in the 400m, Willie Davenport in 110m high hurdles, and Bob Seagren in pole vaulting.

The first success wearing Puma shoes in American football Quarterback Joe Namath – known as Broadway Joe – in his Puma shoes leads the New York Jets to Super Bowl III in 1969.

In 2000, a great history of Puma, its foray into sports couture ware, it enters a partnership with Porsche and Sparco for fireproof footwear for racecar fans.

In 2001, Puma and Yasuhirp Mihara Puma enters further partnerships, it teamed with Jordan Grand Prix to enter the world of motor racing. Moreover, Puma launched an international cooperative line of footwear by the Japanese designer, Yasuhiro Mihara, which blended the look of sport and fashion. Travis Pastrana, world champion motor-cross races was also signed.

In 2002, concept retail stores of the company opened in Europe, Seattle and Melbourne. Further on, Puma announced a partnership with Neil Barret in 2003. Now it the shoes span sports, lifestyle, and fashion, and Puma has become also the official supplier of footwear, and fireproof racewear of the BMW Williams F1 team.

The collaborative partnership between Puma and designer Philippe Stark was in 2004. The partnership’s revolutionary footwear collection was also launched in the autumn of the same year. Furthermore, Puma AG and Mild Seven Renault F1 team sign a multiyear contract.

With the popularization of urban styles, Puma shoes are in high demand. One of the most popular styles of Puma to date is the Roma, launched in 1970 in celebration of the Rome Olympics. The reissued versions remain highly in demand as do many reissued versions such as the Puma Suede, Puma Basket, and Puma Clyde originally launched in the 1980’s. While Puma sales only account for a small portion of the overall athletic shoe and apparel market, the company has been successful in expanding into niche markets like yoga and motorsports shoes, apparel and accessories and the brand continues to dominate on the world soccer stage because of its stylish cutting edge designs and dedication to change and innovation.

Discussion

            Puma has this as its strategy, “to be the brand that mixes the influences of sports, lifestyle, and fashion.” And true enough the shoe company has been trying to fuse the creative influences from the world of sport, lifestyle, and fashion. In order to achieve the company is set to achieve these goals with the brand template emphasizing PUMA’s distinctiveness, individualism, spontaneity, internationalism, and sporting heritage. One of the leading Puma products are: Puma Roma, Puma Suede, Puma Sky II, Puma Basket, Puma Clyde, Puma SpeedCat, and Puma Easy Rider.

Much of Puma’s inventiveness and way of thinking was to Tony Bertone. While Nike and Adidas spent most of the past decade maintaining the ridiculous charade that they manufactured sportswear solely for sports use – despite the fact that 85 per cent of all trainers are bought for non-sports use, and trainer companies churn out hundreds of variations that blatantly cater to a fashion-conscious consumer – Puma argued that, actually, people wore sportswear as leisurewear because they applied a sports approach to their leisure lives. Puma’s new public manifesto would be “the brand that mixes the influence of sport, lifestyle and fashion”. Bertone says: “I was targeting the sneaker enthusiast, not the guy who buys shoes for running. The days of buying a pair of trainers to fit in are gone. Nowadays I see more people making arguments to buy something to be different.” So Puma moved the goalposts. It continued to develop clothing for athletes, but launched several leisure-friendly ranges including the Sports Lifestyle collection, collaboration with the fashion designer Jil Sander; and Nuala, a yoga clothing line with supermodel Christy Turlington. By diversifying, by being honest about the type of consumer it was targeting and by admitting that it was OK to buy trainers just because they looked good, profits soared and the company found itself relevant once again  (2002)

According to  (2002) there are those, however, who feel Bertone’s strategy of fashion tie-ins and lifestyle-led brainwaves – the most recent being the company’s 96-Hour Suitcase, a collection of everything the modern man might need on a 96-hour business trip, neatly tucked away in an aluminum suitcase – has been a short-term fix, one that has ultimately damaged the company. They feel these ideas detract from Puma’s heritage as a serious sports label; the very thing trainer spotters co-opt brands for in the first place.

Marketing Strategies

The company focuses initially on sports-oriented individuals and then later on, after realizing that regular people are its bigger market, shifted its focus to it. Teenagers, mostly males, are the shoes’ largest market. And most of them are from Germany and other European countries.

Sports like football, basketball, and soccer are some of the company’s focus, especially on its design inventions. In fact, Puma wants to be the no. 1 brand in soccer shoes. Puma will be shaped into a value-price-point, soccer-oriented brand for the 25-plus age group and will begin earning a profit by 1991, said Michael Grindfors, president of Etonic Tretorn Puma, during the recent Super Show here. Grindfors said the company is going to become the number-one (brand) in soccer footwear and apparel, but it will be in other categories. The new Puma product, which retailers may begin previewing in July, could be delivered by the end of the year.

Aritmos’ early-February acquisition of Puma boosted Etonic Tretorn Puma sales to more than $900 million worldwide, but the Swedish-owned company has not begun applying the brakes. A golf and tennis ball company with “good brand names and turnaround” potential would fit in nicely as a fourth brand and has put the company on the acquisition path once again, Grindfors noted. The possible acquisition, he said, may take place in the next 12-18 months

Aside from that, Puma also is gaining strong connections in the entertainment world, Puma opened a flagship store in Los Angeles last June, the first-ever for the firm. Located in the Third Street Promenade, the 3,000-square-foot store carries a complete line of apparel, footwear and accessories. The store is decorated in a mid-century, modern style with Noguchi tables, Le Corbusier chairs,’60s sofas, and bright, red glass walls. Designer Stephen Kanner described the approach as cosmopolitan and a departure from more traditional sportswear stores. “We opted for a boutique feel to distinguish Puma from its hard-sell competitors,” he said ( 1999).

In addition to its Hollywood connection, Puma also has a strong customer base in Tinseltown. “Los Angeles is one of our most successful Puma markets,” stated Amber Fredman, Puma’s director of marketing. “There is a demand for Puma in that area, which made it a legitimate testing ground for our retail business.” Fredman said that more Puma stores are planned pending the success of the Los Angeles site (Foot News 1999).

Puma’s marketing plan (1999) also comprised of introduction pumabusiness.com in December for company news and financial updates, simultaneously with an modernized version of its present site, puma.com. Fredman said the updated site will be an added sales outlet for some of Puma’s riskier products and styles that have limited brick and mortar channels. She added that Puma must prove itself to retailers again in regard to basketball and cross-training products. The site will help with this.

Plus, Puma is also venturing out football category after a decades-long hiatus. In running, the Cellerator, a high-end style, was created for spring 2000. New cross-training products are in the works for fall 2000. And, in a bid to take advantage of Puma’s popularity among the alternative and extreme-sports customer, the Lateral collection, which includes the Aqua, Snow, Dirt and Cement lines, is in the concept stage for Puma Worldwide. According to Fredman, a limited number of carefully chosen styles from this category will be offered to the United States in spring 2001 ( 1999).

 

Brands

Developed to address weaknesses inherent in foam, which was the industry standard in mid-sole construction for decades, Puma’s CELL system was the first mid-sole component not dependent on foam for performance. Based on honeycomb-shaped Polyurethane Elastomer cells, PUMA’s CELL system ensures cushioning, stability and durability for more than twice the distance provided by foam-based shoes. Unlike foam, which breaks down by one-third within 300 miles of wear, PUMA’s CELL technology maintains 90 percent of its original cushioning properties for up to 600 miles (1997).

PUMA set also its television campaign — a retro-futuristic perspective on PUMA’s revolutionary advanced CELL technology — was developed over the past two months by Gyro Worldwide, the highly acclaimed Philadelphia-based advertising agency that specializes in marketing to the alternative youth culture, and was produced as the first commercial endeavor by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, producers of the 1996 MTV music video of the year, “Tonight Tonight” by the Smashing Pumpkins. PUMA named Gyro Worldwide its advertising agency of record in September 1996 ( 1996).

Such advertising campaign set the stage for a major turnaround of the PUMA brand in the United States, and comes on the heels of PUMA AG’s announcement last month of its strategic partnership with Monarchy/Regency Enterprises, a leading Hollywood film producer or co-producer of such blockbuster hits as “Pretty Woman,” “A Time To Kill,” “JFK” and “Free Willy.” Monarchy/Regency’s standing in the entertainment business enables PUMA to further step up its marketing efforts in the United States  ( 1996).

 

Essence of brands

According to Maura Keller in the brand management game, it’s all about how to make the market (which are the people) know your products and your brand. Branding is the ground that places the “big picture” perspective into focus and determines where a company takes and makes its future. It’s the philosophy and core behind all business development  (2005)

Further on,  (2005) added that the sure-fire way how to understand brand is to associate it to a company’s reputation. More specifically, a brand is all the thoughts, feelings, associations and expectations that the customer experiences when exposed to a company’s name, trademarks, products, buildings, signs, symbols and people. Brands are far more than just a marketing concept or an asset on the company’s financial statement. A brand–whether it is corporate or product brand–includes all visual and verbal elements that are combined to communicate the brand promise. Consistently and accurately executed, the brand’s corporate or product mark, collateral and advertising become an instant communicator of the essence and value represented by the brand and the company.

The role of brand management plays in any business. A business must have a brand to be competitive in the market, because clients and consumers will be using the brand as something to direct them to buy, and to somehow understand and differentiate the product. In many categories having a brand is no longer an option, but now is the price of entry. Moreover, many products are so similar that the brand is the only thing that is different. In many cases it is the consumer’s perception of the brand that shapes their view of the product itself  (2005) Because bad brands or having no brands at all have its greater consequences, such as inconsistent messages, failure to differentiate, inconsistent and ineffective corporate identity, improper employee training, and neglect of public.

Creativity isn’t just in the way a brand is developed, but it also resides in the marketing communications you use to communicate your brand to the marketplace. LaPoint has found that public relations play a key role in building company brands. “The No. 1 way a PR campaign can build one’s brand is through credibility,” LaPoint says. “Nothing builds a brand more than good press. You can spend all your money on advertising and still not get the same results as through good PR, which is practically free. Seeing a company’s name in print, whether in a press release, a news bite or a feature article, will stick in the minds of one’s target audience more than an ad, simply because of the mentality: ‘Hey, I read about them so they must be good.’ Anyone can purchase an ad but it takes a special company to get in a story.”  (2005)

Puma Trainer

Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com

Puma v1.06 Trainer comes with red, white, and black color, and is made up of a super light fiber that is covered with a PU coating for an extremely thin but leather like upper for an incredibly low weight. Integrated in its body is a lace system for clean kicking surface. TPU injected, external heel frame. It has DuoCell in the heel and EVA forefoot. The out sole is composed of Ever track rubber. The shoe is best for any sports, most preferably basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, and tennis. Its light weight enables the person to move with ease, without having trouble maneuvering in different steps and moves. Not only that, the shoe, with is groovy style can be best worn in any casual occasion giving everyone that sporty looks, confident personality, and cooler get up.

Its brand – Puma v1.06 Trainer – is very essential to marketing since it exudes the impression of being sporty (trainer) and hip (its style). Stressing the point that those who wear sporty look always exudes the atmosphere of being confident.

Brand Positioning

Puma Brand N

 

The brand that mixes the influences of sports, lifestyles, and fashion

 

Shoes include different styles of

Sports, lifestyle, out-door, fashion, and beach.

 

Foamless (CELL system)

 

 

With foam-based shoes
“Pick me up” in its hang tags Ordinary hand tags

 

 

As written above, while Nike and Adidas spent most of the past decade maintaining the ridiculous charade that they manufactured sportswear solely for sports use – despite the fact that 85 per cent of all trainers are bought for non-sports use, and trainer companies churn out hundreds of variations that blatantly cater to a fashion-conscious consumer – Puma argued that, actually, people wore sportswear as leisurewear because they applied a sports approach to their leisure lives. Puma’s new public manifesto would be “the brand that mixes the influence of sport, lifestyle and fashion” (2002)

This way, the shoes enthusiast – he may not necessarily a sports-oriented individual may have the choice to buy the shoe since it is solely for sports-inclined people.

PUMA’s CELL system ensures cushioning, stability and durability for more than twice the distance provided by foam-based shoes. Unlike foam, which breaks down by one-third within 300 miles of wear, PUMA’sCELL technology maintains 90 percent of its original cushioning properties for up to 600 miles ( 1997). And another new marketing scheme also includes a picture of the Puma cat on the cover of the box highlighting one eye of the animal. On the store shelf there will be bright orange hangtags stating “pick me up.” “We have to get people to pick them up,” said the Puma senior vice president John O’Rourke. “Once we get the consumer to pick them up, we’ve got them.”

Furthermore, Puma has positioned its lightweight business around the word “quick” and will use that word as a marketing tool.

“The bridge that people make is that a quick athlete is a better athlete,” said O’Rourke of the new brand positioning, which includes the catch phrase: “Puma, The Quickness of Light.”

Such ventures of marketing styles and tools help consumers to appreciate and if not differentiate the shoe from other branded shoes. “Pick Me Up”, for example, although comically done, ensured to rivet people to look it out. Once this being looked out, chances are they will be able to notice, enquire about the shoes, and best of all, if they like it, and buy them.

Celebrity Endorsement

            The effectiveness of celebrity advertising has been linked by some authors, to the process of social influence. In a seminal work, authors had it distinguished two forms of social influence. The first, termed “informational social influence,” refers to “influence to accept information obtained from another as evidence about reality.” The second, “normative social influence,” refers to the influence to conform to another person or group  (1989)

The perfect celebrity endorser is Paul Bettany, him a not basketball player and sports superstar, but an actor who the main cast in the movie Wimbledon.

The Wimbledon is a romantic comedy about a washe-up tennis pro (take note: a sports individual) named Peter Colt and an up-and-coming tennis star called Lizzie Bradbury during Wimbledon Championships.

And this is necessary, since Puma shoes stick to its goal to mixes sports, lifestyle, and fashion is what the movie and Paul Bettany are all about. The movie is all about sports and so, those who are sports-inclined persons would want to buy the shoes since it is featured in this great sports movie, and at the same time, those who are not so much with sports would still want to buy the shoes since Paul Bettany, a non-sports personality, wears it. Likewise, with the fashionistas.

Special Interest

Today’s retail industry must contend with a changed economic climate characterized by a recession, tight credit, a shortage of money, and high overhead. In addition, smarter consumers have made the job of retail management more complex. The changing business and economic climate necessitates that retailers obtain access to capital to finance new niche marketing strategies that target consumers. Merchant bankers can offer financing and support services to the retail industry (1993)

Nevertheless, since Puma shoes were virtually sold out long before through retailing environment they would still sell best in the years to come. As long as people still find to shop, and they still stroll along malls and other retailing sections, Puma would still sell. The marketing tools like putting “Pick me up” hang tags would enormously help in the selling. Advertising thru media like television and billboards help also in the awareness of the company’s products. What about online? Amazon.com, ebay.com, and a host of online shopping sites also help gain shoppers. Not only they give the most detail of the items, they can also be very convenient.