Sometimes, business leaders feel intimidated when making an entrance into competitive industries. They’re often worried about the innovative products and their clever marketing techniques. One brand you can draw inspiration from is the sportswear brand Under Armour. This is an example of a brand that can accomplish so much in quite a little time. Under Armour is now one of the sportswear giants like Adidas. These two companies are the top retailers in the highly competitive athletic apparel industry. However, an Under Armour vs Adidas comparison will help you understand how one company differs from the other in terms of history and marketing strategy.
Keep reading for the ultimate comparison between the two sportswear brands; Under Armour and Adidas.
Under Armour vs Adidas: Under Armour History
Kevin Plank founded the company Under Armour back in 1996. He was a 23-year-old captain of the University of Maryland football team. He got the inspiration for his first product after noticing that although his compression shorts stayed dry after practice, his shirts were always soaked through. Therefore, he set out to create a shirt using synthetic fabric. The goal was to manufacture a shirt that could wick away moisture and keep you dry. While he made this product in his grandmother’s basement, he sold it out of the trunk of his car.
It wasn’t till the end of 1996 before Plank had his first big break and sold his apparel to a team for $17,000. Even the company’s name reflects Plank’s humble beginning as he only chose the British spelling of Armor because the toll-free vanity number for the name was still available. The UA brand has grown from its humble beginning and netted $232 million in 2015. This company’s products are the go-to for many top sports stars today. After its inception, top brands like Adidas, Nike, and more followed its lead and released their version of moisture-wicking apparel. This brand also claimed a spot as one of the top ten most valuable sporting brands in the industry.
Although the brand started with moisture-wicking apparel, it now has a vast product line with various clothing available. Whether cold-weather gear, hot-weather gear, or all-season gear, this company has you covered. However, it stays true to its root by offering equipment to athletes and pushing the line to produce lighter, comfortable, and stronger gear for them.
Adidas history stands out and differs extensively in the Under Armour vs Adidas comparison. It is one filled with innovation and collaboration. Adidas is one of the oldest companies in the sporting goods industry. The company passed through many highs and lows that have shaped the company for over 70 years. The company started in Germany, where Adolf Dassler and his brother started a small shoe repair shop at the back of his family home.
Adi started experimenting with specialist footwear in 1924 and officially launched the Dassler Brother’s Shoe Industry which kicked off the company in full gear. However, the brothers’ business and relationship were under duress during the Second World War, and although the business survived, their working relationship did not. Therefore, the brothers agreed to split the company and soon became competitors. In 1947, Adolf changed the company’s name to Adidas after his nickname Adi. Today, the brand is a leading company in the industry and at the forefront of every design is the brand’s logo.
The Creation of the Under Armour Logo
Kevin created the Under Armour logo out of the brand’s initials. It is a simplistic logo combining the U in under and the A in Armour to create the logo that’s well recognized around the world today. The logo’s popularity is one of the initial factors contributing to the company’s success. After a quarterback was photographed wearing an Under Armour turtleneck, the company enjoyed a significant boost in their media attention. Teams around the country noticed, and in no time, Kevin Plank was soon taking orders for various teams.
Although the brand focuses on functionality in its marketing efforts, aesthetics are a critical factor in the industry. A recurring design in every Under Armour clothing line is the logo design. The logo represents speed, athleticism, and strength. The goal of Under Armour is to encourage people to wear their clothing because the logo reflects their lifestyle. Due to the logo’s popularity, Under Armour enjoys sold-out collections even if the logo is all that sets the company apart from its many competitors on the shelf. The logo helped put the brand on the map in many ways and contributed immensely to its success story.
Under Armour vs Adidas – Adidas Logo
The Adidas logo has always been famous for its three-stripes logo. However, this logo originally belonged to Karhu Sports, who retired after World War II. Shortly after the war, Karhu Sports agreed to sell trademarks for the logo. In 1971, the brand unveiled its three-stripe Adidas logo in a form that resembled a leaf. It wasn’t until later that the brand replaced that version with the current logo shaped like a triangle. Companies usually hope that their customers will find their designs appealing. However, it’s also vital that your design is easily recognizable for your marketing strategy to work.
Thankfully, the Adidas logo is easy to recognize because of its simplicity. This simple design has changed little over the years and, luckily, has no hard-to-read text making it difficult to identify. Although the brand focuses on quality in its advertising, the logo remains a primary selling point. That’s why all Adidas apparel features the iconic Adidas logo.
Under Armour Marketing Strategy
Under Armour’s marketing strategies contributed immensely to its popularity in the sports industry. This brand successfully positioned itself in a favorable spot and achieved its objectives and business goals. This section will explore Under Armour’s marketing strategy in the Under Armour vs Adidas comparison.
The Brand Solves an Audience Gap
Like most of its leading competitors, Under Armour utilizes endorsements and sponsorships with athletes and celebrities to promote its organization. The company’s top endorsements include Stephen Curry, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Phelps, and many more. However, in 2014 the brand reviewed its image and discovered they portrayed an aggressive, macho, and uninviting image to women through their marketing. This action contributed to a loss of a potential market with women.
Due to this revelation, Under Armour focused on change and achieved this through their I Will What I Want campaign. This campaign aimed to change the brand’s image and include women in its target audience. The brand used top celebrities in the video ads, which led to an increase in sales. The brand aims to achieve a close community between consumers and the wider sporting enthusiasts.
The company also indulged in a series of product placement campaigns. This was apparent in 1999 when the company decided to supply apparel for the NFL movie: Any Given Sunday. The movie featured the brand’s clothing in crucial scenes, which increased brand awareness and demand. After this, the brand has also featured its logo and apparel highlight in several Hollywood movies. This unique marketing strategy by Under Armour can help the brand reach a broad audience and influence brand association in viewers’ minds. Ultimately, this Under Armour strategy helped improve brand awareness for the brand.
One of Under Armour’s fundamental values is always connecting with the buyers. The UA brand aims to live at the centre of the consumers’ lives and claims its connection to the athletes they cater to sets them apart. Under Armour uses social media to consistently provide consumers with exciting and relevant content to achieve this connection. This company is particular about maintaining a strong presence on every platform that its target audience invests their time and attention in. The brand also utilizes online newsletters and a digital newsroom to provide customers with direct communication while maintaining a relationship with local buyers.
Adidas Marketing Strategies
The Under Armour vs Adidas comparison is not complete without reviewing Adidas’ marketing strategy. This brand’s marketing strategy makes it the best among all. Below, we examine the different marketing strategies by Adidas that make it a top competitor for most companies in the sportswear market.
Adidas Product Strategy
The brand deals with different product lines, including footwear, accessories, golf equipment, football kit, and many more. To help people understand them better, the various Adidas products fall into different sports games groups. However, Adidas’ main product is footwear. The company’s foundation is on footwear, and Adidas footwear is considered one of the most athletic and robust in the industry.
The brand utilizes skimming pricing and competitive pricing in its marketing strategy. Competitive prices are for mill products and aim at competing with brands like Nike. However, the skimming prices are for newer products in the market. Under the skimming prices, high prices are introduced for new products to maintain exclusivity. However, the prices slowly reduce over time till they get to an average. For the apparel industry, Adidas only uses a skimming price strategy, and this is due to its brand equity.
Place and Distribution Strategy
The company’s products are in over fifty-five countries, and it boasts of over 800 factories on different continents. Most Adidas products are sold in retail stores, and the brand has over 2800 retail stores around the continent. The brand also distributes its products through multi-brand showrooms. These showrooms obtain the product from distributors and then put them up for display. The brand also owns an online store where they also sell their products.
Adidas Promotion Strategy
It is a popular fact that Adidas has some of the best adrenaline-pumping TV ads. The brand derives its strength from sports and releases passionate and robust ads. The brand’s primary source of promotion is through television. It also promotes its products through product placements in movies and television programs. The brand also collaborates with top sports icons, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho. Adidas also promotes its products by supporting top sports teams like Real Madrid. Social media is another avenue the company uses to keep up with its target audience. Adidas angles their social media to be more appealing and magnetic with their audience.
These sportswear brands have experienced significant shifts due to their marketing strategies. Adidas and Under Armour experienced some challenges in setting up their products. However, they were able to make it to the top, and Adidas is one of the top 3 famous athletic companies globally. This article explores the Under Armour vs Adidas comparison to help you recognize the difference in their approach to success within the sportswear industry.