Do you know the story of the iconic brand Puma? Well, most people do not. This brand is a leading sports brand around the globe. It is famous for creating and selling footwear, apparel, and accessories. Puma earned its fame by providing customers with top-quality products, but that’s not all there is to the brand. This is why we’re inquisitive and have decided to look into the brand. This Puma history case study explores all you need to know about the brand. It will touch on how the brand came to be and how it came to become one of the biggest sporting brands in the world. So now that you know what’s coming, let’s dig right in.
Puma History: A Brand Borne Out of Siblings Rivalry
Puma is a famous sportswear brand that started with 14 employees. Today, it is known as a global sports brand, but few know about Puma history. This company started as Drassler, founded in 1919 by Rudolph and Adolf Dassler, who are brothers. The company started in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and back then, the brothers had no way of knowing that they were laying the foundations for a renowned sports shoe brand. The company started in their mother’s laundry company. Five years after the company kicked off, they moved into their first factory in 1924. The company began to experience success in their company when the majority of German athletes in the 1928 summer Olympics wore Dassler shoes. It was at this time that the company experienced a national and global breakthrough.
One thing was clear; each brother had a specific skill that contributed to the company’s growth. Rudolph was in charge of marketing the products, while Adolf handled the creative and production side of the business. Although the company was such a success, it was taken over by the army during the Second World War. Due to that, the company started making shoes for the soldiers instead of the sports shoes they were famous for. At this time, the brothers’ wives weren’t getting along either. Soon, it became clear that both brothers had to go their separate way. In 1948, they closed the family business, but with both brothers determined to keep up a shoemaking business, they each started their own. Adolf started Addas, known as Adidas today, while Rudolf started Ruda, the bedrock of Puma history.
Puma History: The Birth of the Puma Logo
Rudolf chose the name Puma because he wanted his business to embody the qualities of a Puma. He wanted a brand that offers speed, suppleness, strength, and endurance, which an athlete needs. Puma history is also not complete without the mission statement, which is the fastest sports brand globally. Also, the brand wanted to be the most desirable and sustainable sports Lifestyle Company in the world. When Rudolph started, he always had the Puma in his logo. It all started with the puma silhouette jumping through the letter D. A white dot in the logo symbolized the Puma’s eyes.
Further down the years, in 1951, he updated the logo to include Puma at the end. Additionally, there was a hexagon encompassing the image. Again in 1957, he added a black and white contour of the Puma to the hexagon. The following year, three words which are Rudolf Dassler Schuhfabrik was added to each side of the hexagon. Once again, a new logo was introduced and was used for ten years before Rudolf commissioned a caricaturist to create a new one. The logo featured a football knot with the words Puma Formstrip at the beginning of the image. Rudolf didn’t like it because it didn’t reflect the puma qualities he wanted.
Adding Cougar Body Parts to the Logo
The caricaturist drew a black panther that had the hands and legs of a cougar. The logo’s cat was jumping upward, and the tail was also on the same level. Puma used the logo from 1968 to 1970, and Rudolf offered to pay the caricaturist a cent for every product sold with the logo. However, he declined and opted for being paid 600 marks only, a mistake that cost him a fortune. In 1976, the company ditched the jumping puma and only had Puma in its logo. The p was in lowercase, while the rest of the letters were in uppercase.
However, the jumping cougar image was a crucial part of Puma history. It was so popular that Puma decided to revert to it. They made a few changes to the logo, like the cougar placed at the upper-right side to make it look like it was leaping over the word ‘Puma.’ This logo has remained to date, and the primary colors were always black and white.
Puma History: The Journey to Success
The company enjoyed a successful collaboration with Jesse Owens in 1936. Therefore, the brand decided to continue endorsing sports icons to popularize its products. In 1952, Rudolf created boots with studs you could screw beneath it and named the model ‘super atom.’ Puma created the model with inputs from top personalities like the West Germany football team’s coach. The same year, the gold-winning Olympic medalist wore Puma shoes for his winning run. Throughout 1960, we continually saw Puma’s involvement with top sports personalities. These partnerships help to promote the company’s growth and increase revenues. One such partnership was with Armin Hary, who also won the Puma shoes at the 1968 Olympics for his gold medal-winning run.
In 1986, the company developed an advanced running shoe called the Running System shoe. It was in this same year that Puma became a public limited company. Additionally, the shoe had a couple of devices installed to measure speed, calories, and steps. Every year, Puma history recorded global expansion for the company and higher revenues. The company also gained entry into the far east market by sponsoring an anime show called Hungry hearts. In the show, the characters constantly wore the puma jersey and sportswear.
The Puma history isn’t complete without mentioning the company’s takeover by the French retailer, PPR. PPR bought Puma in a friendly takeover bid. The company started out buying a 27% stake in the company. However, they later announced share buybacks. Puma’s board welcomed the move because they believed it was in the company’s interest. By the end of 2007, the French retailer owned a 60% stock in the company. The company shifted to the European Union trading model in 2011 by becoming a member.
Today, Puma has a 5% state in Borussia Dortmund which is a famous German club. They also sponsor the players’ sports gear regularly. Additionally, they possess contracts with Nascar and Formula One and usually sponsor their racing shoes and suits. This partnership ensured Puma had a vested interest in creating racing sportswear. In addition to the brand’s success, they started making basketball sponsorship deals with the NBA draft players in 2018.
Puma History: Their Marketing Strategy
After exploring Puma history, it is essential to also talk about the marketing strategies implemented by the brand that contributed vastly to the company’s success. Apart from diversifying their products, there are several other marketing strategies known to Puma. Below, we’ll be exploring these marketing strategies in detail.
Puma Three-Segmentation Strategy
If you want to increase profits as a company, you need to find your target market or markets. For example, it would be challenging to sell baby clothing if your advertising only appeals to athletes. Instead, there’s a need for an ad that would appeal to parents. There’s also a need to meet the needs of the target market. For example, if your target audience is a truck company and they’re currently into buying more pickup trucks, the advertising sedans at that moment wouldn’t make much sense. Throughout Puma history, the brand practiced segmentation that helps it achieve interchange between it and the target market. Each segment featured its product and marketing strategy. Puma is known for using three segmentation strategies explored below.
- Demographic Segmentation: This segmentation category requires dividing the population by their age, income, race, gender, nationality, and life stages. Each segmentation helped create a niche group the brand could target.
- Geographic Segmentation: this is easier to understand as it is divided by the target’s audience geography. Therefore, the population split into languages, locations, and ideologies shared by various people worldwide.
- Psychographic Segmentation: This was the last form of segmentation that accounted for the lifestyle, interests, activities, and other psychological aspects of the consumer. It also took into consideration the consumer’s purchasing habits and attitude.
Throughout Puma history, the brand used these three segmentation forms to create its target market. However, segmentation is only the first step, with targeting following closely behind.
With different people buying products in different ways and for various reasons, it’s vital that advertising and the product also evolve. Puma takes note of different trends and patterns and then tailors their advertisement to each group. To simplify this strategy, Puma sells more sportswear to specific segments. Therefore, these segments will see more ads for this sportswear. They also receive updates on related products.
This strategy refers to a brand’s place in the consumer’s mind. When it comes to quality products, Puma has earned a spot in the consumer’s mind. This brand is famous for providing users with quality athletic wear. This positioning was the goal of several other marketing strategies.
Although Puma history involves only footwear products, Puma has grown over the years. Puma deals in footwear, eyewear, sports accessories, watches, personal care, and sports apparel. By being present in many interrelated segments, the company can increase profits and their number of consumers.
Puma Content Strategy
Although there weren’t social media to utilize in Puma history, it is now one of their top marketing strategies. With everything on social media these days, Puma uses platforms to engage with its audience. In addition, the brand utilizes brand storytelling to explore new marketing opportunities. With people online more, Puma is continually exploring new types of content. They also upload photos of new products, footwear designs, and photos of their influencers.
Puma Campaign Strategy
This is closely tied to their content and social media strategy. Campaigns are great and can help you get closer to your audience. Puma history shows a brand constantly embracing change, showing this feature. Puma embraces change within its consumers and in the environment. The brand has come up with various social media campaigns that allow them to connect and collaborate with its communities. These campaigns are usually not just about promoting new products.
In the Only See Great Campaign, their ambassadors tell of the struggle and meaning of achieving greatness. In ‘She Moves Us,’ the goal is to empower women globally. The campaign shows the style and confidence of a woman while showing how she is a force of nature. This campaign also helped shed light on gender equality while increasing female athletes’ visibility in the sports industry.
Puma Ambassadors and Collaboration Strategy
A brand ambassador represents and advertises the brand in the best way. Puma always chooses ambassadors based on their beliefs and story. Since an ambassador adds a human touch to a brand, finding the right one can be difficult. One of the top ambassadors of Puma is Neymar Jr. They also have one with Rihanna and the collaboration with Fenty, which was one of the most significant collaborations ever. This brand also brought in Selena Gomez, who brought in her artistry skills to the brand. Other top celebrities part of the brand’s collaborative projects are J. Cole, Cara Delevingne, and many more.
Puma History Case Study: Final Thoughts
Puma history shows a brand that slowly rose to become a leading sportswear brand. The brand uses effective marketing techniques, unique designs, and top-selling techniques to position itself. As a result, it has been on a path of continuous growth since its inception and today has thousands of employees in over 40 countries. We hope this article shared insight into how Puma can maintain an equal balance between sales and further growth.