Analysis of Puma's current Marketing Communications Programme

Term Paper, 2008

16 Pages, Grade: Distinction



1. Introduction

2. Industry-Level Analysis
2.1 Competitive Environment
2.2 Key Trends
2.3 Product Portfolios
2.4 Main characteristics of marketing communication programmes
2.5 Important trends affecting current and future IMC programmes
2.6 Conclusion

3. Puma’s current marketing communications programme
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Principal Approach
3.3 Key programme characteristics
3.3.1 Target audience profile
3.3.2 Strategic Positioning
3.3.3 Communication objectives
3.3.5 Media/ Communication Channel
3.3.6 Campaign Evaluation
3.3.7 Future recommendations for future campaigns


1. Introduction

Today’s sportswear has undergone a significant transformation from its functional past to an all-embracing concept belonging to modern culture, fashion and competitive sports. The term itself encompasses high functioning performance clothing, footwear and casual leisurewear. Predominantly, the term is understood to include high profile sporting brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok and Puma, but many smaller niche brands also fall in this category, such as New Balance Running or Calloway Golf. This essay offers an initial analysis of the wider sportswear industry, its make-up and current trends. Following this a deeper analysis of the integrated marketing communications of Puma is conducted.

2. Industry-Level Analysis

2.1 Competitive Environment

The sportswear industry is a highly competitive, global business environment that has traditionally been dominated by a few major companies. Nike remains the industry leader in the world market, although faces intense competition from rivals such as Puma and the Adidas Group. Adidas currently holds the position of European market leader (Key Note, 2007a). The acquisition of Reebok by Adidas in 2005 brought together two of the world’s largest sportswear manufacturers, and total group revenues are expected to increase over the next few years and may yet challenge the dominance of Nike (Key Note, 2007a).

Sportswear historically served a functional purpose, but since the 1970’s it has been used as both fashion and casual clothing. As such, sportswear can now be considered a key constituent of the mainstream clothing market (Key Note 2007a). This has served to increase both opportunity and competition within the market. Sportswear manufacturers can now be seen as facing direct competition from traditional fashion producers.

The abundance of sportswear manufacturers and retailers has created a market experiencing increased levels of saturation. As a result, market growth has slowed in recent years, with a drop in sales of 3.4 percent between 2004 and 2006 (Key Note, 2007a). Sales are expected to grow significantly in 2008 however (Key Note, 2007a), which may partly be explained by the fact that both the Euro 2008 football championships and Summer Olympics are being held in this year.

2.2 Key Trends

The key trends currently affecting this industry can be seen in both the macro and micro environments. Firstly, alongside Government health campaigns, consumers are exercising more (Keynote 2005). Dichotomously, the World Health Organisation predicts that there will be 2.3 billion overweight adults in the world by 2015, and currently 24.2 percent of the UK population is clinically obese (BBC, 2005). Therefore an interesting paradox is emerging between consumers becoming more fitness-oriented and those who are being pushed to exercise more. Keynote (2007a) further reports that an increase in health-club memberships has driven sales of sportswear.

More specific to the sportswear sector, an initial trend is the rise of consumer nostalgia, which has led to many brands re-releasing heritage or ‘retro’ products for fashion-related purposes. Another key trend is the merging of sportswear and technology as brands develop advanced fabrics and continue to develop activity-specific technologies in each sport. Keynote (2007a) also reports that these companies have a bias towards male consumers, but this being addressed by more attention to women’s sporting needs and tastes. Moreover, in response to a higher bargaining power of retailers, sportswear companies are opening their own concept stores.

2.3 Product Portfolios

Each of the three market leading brands segment their product ranges into numerous sub-brands designed to specifically target consumers in a variety of niches such as football, tennis, running, and golf. To compete, brands astutely follow consumer trends, design developments and technology advances. In many cases, the line has become blurred between performance and fashion sportswear through the use of high technology fabrics in tailored apparel, and collections of urbanised sports leisurewear highly influenced by street culture, music and the arts.

Collaboration and customisation are the two major trends influencing the current product portfolios of the key market players. Collaborations include signature collections by high-end fashion designers and joint ventures with electronics companies to enhance the functionality of products, for example running shoes that synchronise with mobile phones and music players to create jointly branded product lines. Customer interactivity is a key feature of the websites of leading brands, which offer interchangeable colour-ways, optional material specifications and customisable product attributes to create unique, individual, personalised products, made to order.

2.4 Main characteristics of marketing communication programmes

The advertising in this industry plays an important role in the creation of brand awareness and brand image. Major advertising media include television, press, billboards, and the Internet. Football boots in particular maintain a media presence because they have a positive effect on overall company perceptions. However, it is difficult to classify advertising campaigns by specific product types due to the aforementioned overlap between sport items and leisurewear (Key Note, 2007a).

Sportswear companies also use sponsorship and endorsement to generate brand loyalty and to cultivate a favourable image for themselves by creating connections between brands and popular individuals, teams, events, or venues (Key Note, 2007b). Moreover, common methods of Public Relations (PR) are employed to project corporate identity. Furthermore, some companies’ use both direct response advertising such as mailed catalogues and online-shops to sell their products and Product Placement to improve credibility. Additionally, manufacturers’ trade promotions directed at wholesalers or retailers are commonly employed.

There is a cyclical pattern of advertising for major brands, so that major campaigns often coincide with sponsored events and there is often much lower advertising spending in the following year (Key Note, 2007b).

2.5 Important trends affecting current and future IMC programmes

However, many sportswear companies are now turning to new forms of integrated marketing communications to enhance brand awareness and brand image. The major focus is now directed towards new media and the Internet. Due to the rise of Internet consumption, the market players are developing online marketing campaigns including online banners, emails and links from other websites to reach target audiences (Type 3, 2008). Other recent online marketing communication techniques include viral marketing where target consumers with a high social networking potential are identified and encouraged to pass on the marketing material to other members of the target population via word of mouth, email or blogging. The sportswear industry is also looking to take advantage of the rise in popularity of social network sites by developing profiles within these networks (Coolchaser, 2008).


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Analysis of Puma's current Marketing Communications Programme
University of Strathclyde
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Kommentar des Dozenten: An excellent attempt - well structured
Analysis, Puma, Marketing, Communications, Programme
Quote paper
Daniel Hischer (Author), 2008, Analysis of Puma's current Marketing Communications Programme, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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