UNDER ARMOUR’S FOCUSED APPROACH TO FITNESS

Siddharth Pal, Brand Marketing Head, Under Armour India, tells us that the brand is establishing itself as a ‘focused performer’ primarily through activations and digital media

01 Jul, 2019 by DIPALI BANKA

Q] Among the sports and fitness fraternity, Under Armour is a known brand but is still new in the Indian context. What opportunities have you identified on-ground for the Indian market?
What we have seen in the past years is that India is becoming more fitness and health conscious. We are not just a cricket loving country but are also gaining momentum across Olympics and other sports as well. We have grown exponentially across football and there are multiple leagues that have surfaced across India in the past 5-6 years across sporting categories. So, I think there is lot of opportunity for us in the space of sports, and we have seen that momentum with our first store in Delhi. We are excited to have our stores and to establish our brand presence in this country.

Q] In terms of marketing activities, what are your steps for the next 6 to 12 months?
We have got a good range of products across training, running, basketball and golf. So, the idea is to build a momentum across our core performance products through grassroot activations for training and running. For example, we do this through participation in marathons, training events and other key sporting categories to build our product technologies and get people to try our products. So, the idea right now is to build our brand through Activations and Digital, specifically in running and training.

Q] Do you plan to take the above the line route too?
As we grow in this country and as we open more stores, we definitely have allocated a lot of budget on Digital as well as Activations. As far as ATL goes, that totally depends on our campaigns from the global office, but we will look at it in the next year. Digital is our key focus right now.

Q] Do you have plans to also rope in an Indian sports celebrity or do you plan to go ahead with the global celebrities that you have on board?
Recently when we got Michael Phelps for the inauguration of our store, fans and athletes from across cities came to meet him. I think our global roster of athletes and ambassadors are relatable to the Indian consumers. So, right now we are building the plan of connecting the Indian market with those athletes.

Q] What is your specific target audience in India? How are you planning to position the brand in this market?
There is an internal term that we call ‘focused performer’. That’s our core audience. He or she is inclined towards sports and extensive training at least two or three times a week. They are focused on driving their fitness to another level. These athletes could be from the age of 18 to 35-40 years.

Q] What is the core concept of brand Under Armour? What is the brand vision?
Our mission is to make every athlete better. And it’s not just about performances, it’s also about enabling athletes to perform better with products that they never knew existed. Once they try these on, they will know the core value of that product. We cater to a lot of elite athletes and at their level, 1-2 % enhancement in performance is very crucial and a key differentiator, be it one push, one stride, one run or jump. Therefore, we make sure that we enable this crucial performance enhancement through our products.

Q] You’ve mentioned Activation and Digital are important focus areas for you. For Digital, what is your specific plan of action?
We have got a lot of product stories to tell. We have a training product line which is called ‘The Rush’. It captures the body heat and helps in after-training recovery. We have a HOVR cushioning technology for running. So, right now the idea is to focus on these technologies. We also have 12 to 15 apps – Mapmyfitness, Endomondo and Myfitnesspal, to name a few. So we want to push technology through these and the digital ecosystem is very big for us. Also, wearable technology is something that we want to focus on in a big way, going forward.

Q] There are already established brands in the Indian sports and fitness category. Do you feel you are a late entrant? How do you view the competition in this space?
Competition is really good for us and helps us perform better. I don’t think we are a late entrant into the market. I think the market has evolved and there is still a lot to do in sports in India. There are so many athletes and sporting leagues that need brands and their support to help the health and fitness sector grow. So, there is definitely a lot of space for us in the market still. It’s a growing market and we will see more leagues coming into play. We will see older leagues like ISL and IPL growing again year-on-year.

Q] What is your key challenge right now?
Actually, there is so much to do in the sports category in India that there aren’t many challenges. You can associate with athletes, leagues, people, association and clubs and do a lot of stuff on Digital, TV, activations, collaborations and content. There is a lot of clutter in terms of what’s happening across marketing in this space but we are positioning ourselves into very niche channels. And I believe that is a positive thing. For us challenges are very different in terms of getting to the consumer, and there is definitely some clutter, but if we position ourselves in the right channels, we will do well.

Q] Do you plan to associate with cricket here or are you focusing on upcoming sporting leagues like Badminton and Kabbadi?
These are great sports and growing in a big way in India. However our focus right now is to build on our strengths and make sure that every athlete tries our product. We have collaborated with Junior NBA in the US, we may look at doing basketball activations here too. But running and training is core to us and we plan to build through that.

Feedback: dipali.banka@exchange4media.com Category: CMO File Volume No: 16 Issue No: 4

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