The Fastest Sport Brand in the world

The Fastest Sport Brand in the world

In 2013, PUMA’s CEO Bjorn Gulden introduced PUMA’s new mission statement: To be the Fastest Sports Brand in the world. Today, this is still their mission.

In December 2014, PUMA signed Rihanna as a Brand Ambassador and Creative Director – this really confused me as I wondered how Rihanna could help them become the Fastest Sports brand in the world?

Without a doubt, Rihanna is a global icon and musical superstar, however, PUMA have no affiliation with music, and Rihanna has no affiliation with sports, which begs the question – where does the link come in?

What’s more confusing is the first PUMA x Rihanna collaboration shoe was ‘The Creeper’, which is essentially a PUMA suede shoe with a thick creeper sole on the bottom.

This means – the first PUMA shoe from the Barbadian Pop/ R&B/ Hip-hop star is a shoe that draws inspiration from the Teddy Boys of the 50’s and New York punk rock scene in the 70’s. Again, where is the link? Where is the story and reasoning behind the launch?

So one year on, how has PUMA and Rihanna done? …

…Very well actually.

The first PUMA x Rihanna sneaker collection ‘The Creeper’ “has been extremely successful and most retailers have sold out within hours or days.” claims the PUMA CEO – in fact, last month PUMA released the second wave of Creepers in new colourways for fans that missed out on the first batch.

In PUMA’s financial report, it states that Rihanna’s Creepers have given them a much-needed boost in finances. Altogether, PUMA’s revenue reached €914.4 million (about $981 million) for the quarter ending Sept 30, a 3% increase from the same time last year – mainly thanks to Rihanna (so we’re told).

Despite Rihanna helping to generate some success for PUMA, it doesn’t hide the fact they are struggling. PUMA has a long way to go before they can catch up to their competitors.

I’d love for PUMA to dive deeper into their mission statement – They want to be the Fastest sports brand…but to do what? Fastest to innovate? Fastest to market? This has led to confusion in the tag line too – ‘Forever Faster’.

The mission statement and tagline derives directly from the brand positioning – does this suggest that PUMA’s brand positioning need to change in order for us to get to the core of the brand  and truly understand what their ambitions are?
I believe yes – because it is only then, that we can define the mission statement and tagline in a way where everyone can innately pick up on what the brand is all about and also allow them to differentiate themselves from competitors.

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