Fashion

Ultimate guide of Puma Brand no 1

Puma Brand: A Great Sporting Attire Company

Introduction

Puma is one of the oldest, and easily recognizable sportswear companies in the world that has made quite a name for itself. Germany based Puma was established in 1948 by two brothers named Rudolf and Adolf Dassler and has developed into one of the most prominent athletic footwear, apparel and associated accessories manufactures in the world over the last seven decades.

The Formstrip is a unique logo of Puma shoes and sportswear created by the founder Rudolf Dassler himself and is well known all across the globe. It established the sort and style, the fashion and performance trademarks of the brand. Sport and street culture has been well popularized by Puma through unique designs in sportswear, extraordinary advertising techniques and by associating itself with great world sportspersons across disciplines.

Puma currently still stands as a premier worldwide designer and marketer of sports fashion while continuing its tradition with the Olympics by supporting national teams for athletic track & field, football/soccer, cricket, golf, & motor racing. In this article, we delve into the companyâ history & culture as Puma enjoys over 70 years as a sportswear brand and sports company worldwide.

The Origins: Wring this company’s name, you will get the name Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, which translates into Brothers Dassler Shoe Factory in English.

Thus the story of the athletic shoe company PUMA begins in the tiny town of Herzogenaurach in Germany. It was there that in 1924 Rudi and Adi Dassler established a shoe manufacturing enterprise known as ‘Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik.

With the meager resources that they had including leftovers of material from which customers had returned their unwanted laundry, the Dassler brothers started making and selling spiked running shoes.

Lutz Dassler himself remembers that at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and the 1936 Berlin Games, the great black sprinter Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals wearing Dassler Brothers shoes with hand-wrought spikes.

The company received a broader recognition when some of the German athletes wore Dassler shoes during the 1936 Olympic in Berlin wearing a swastika emblem. Motion picture seen across the globe depicted Germany’s track & field legends wearing unique shoes with strips on the side.

War and Division: Puma and Adidas Timeline

This was a terrible phase during World War II, when Rudolf and Adolf Dassler fell out with each other and parted ways, effectively dividing the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory.

Rudolf Dassler crossed the Aurach River, that river to Herzogenaurach and founded a new company named Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler Puma claims the fastest sports shoes in the world this comes from the active dog.

Across the river, Adolf Dassler started his own company named Adi Dassler Adidas Sportschuhfabrik.This spread between Puma and Adidas for more than 60 years this polarized Herzogenourach .

Across the river, Adolf Dassler started his own company named ‘Adi Dassler Adidas Sportschuhfabrik .This spread between Puma and Adidas for more than 60 years this polarized Herzogenourach . The public was divided into groups with people choosing to either support Puma or Adidas regardless of the relationship that one had with the other.

Puma Shoemaking Innovations

Since the inception of Puma, Rudolf Dassler worked hard in introducing technological advancement to shoe designs for athletes. Since 1949, Dassler was able to provide the idea of screw in studs to adapt to various field situations. Puma began using vulcanization in shoe production and this gave it stability that was much higher than that of its competitors.

When young German soccer talent Helmut Rahn got an ankle sprained in 1952, Dassler began creating special protective soccer boots with extra ankle support could be added. Rahn came back into the field and went down the history books when he scored in the last minutes to give Germany the much needed victory over more fancied Hungary in the final of the 1954 World Cup – the Miracle of Bern. Rahn appropriately used boots from Puma that were customized to enhance the power of the kick, thus given the nickname of Rahn Crackers.

The brand consciousness of Puma received further boost through such technical features as the development of aggressive apparel and athletic accessories with an aim of enhancing athleticism.

He notes that in 1952, Puma came up with the first football boot with screw-in studs that are easily replaceable depending on the type of pitch being used. Puma chose to launch the Atom which if one of the first soccer boots, made from kangaroo leather that became standard due its softness and durability.

Examples of early visionaries in Marketing & Fashion

In addition to footwear innovation, Puma extended marketing campaigns and communication style to unambiguously position it as a sports-inspired fashion brand.

A prime example of this was the ‘springing puma’ logo that Puma had initiated in 1958 which conveyed the idea of movement for a competitive spirit. Puma was the first to use promotional gimmicks of using footage from sporting superstars such as the footballers Pelé, Eusébio, Johan Cruyff among others in the 1960s. This became even more evident in later campaigns that involved endorsements of Maradona, Linford Christie and Serena Williams.

As Puma continued to pursue great performance, design innovations did not stop at the performance features. That is how sports-specific apparel such as Puma’s iconic warm-up suits had a significant sales appeal outside of their practical application. It remains a testament to Puma’s overall success with today’s youth that the lifestyle branding and fashion influence was so impressively effective.

This article looks at the history of Puma and focuses on the golden period of dominance during the Olympic games.

Throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, Rudolf Dassler marketed Puma as the official Olympic shoemaker through technology in athletic shoes, sponsorship of world-class athletes and national teams.

The major recognition came due to Emil Zátopek, a Czech long-distance runner who won three gold medals at the Helsinki Olympics held in 1952, and he was wearing Puma shoes. Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas, once took a notorious PR approach to attract Zátopek by offering to pay him 10,000 Deutsche Marks to run in Adidas shoes. Zátopek, to that demand, continued to win three more gold medals at 1956 Melbourne Olympics – still in Pumas.

Puma endorsed America track icon Jesse Owens who defied the racial superiority of Hitler by winning 4 golds at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In the 1960 Rome Olympics it was almost like Puma backed a nearly a whole team from Ethiopia who was ruling the track in long distance races.

In this year, marathon race was won by Abebe Bikila who was running shoe less with Puma shoes on his feet, a sensational story which took Puma the shoe maker to higher level of fame.

The shoe remained popular throughout the Olympics and Puma enjoyed another Olympic triumph when sprint legend Tommie Smith and his team-mate John Carlos responded to the Mexican anthem with the Black Power salute following their medal win in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Both Americans wore Suedes, the first Puma rippled rubber sole shoe; that provided visibility when the human rights struggle was at its pinnacle in one of the historical events.

By the 1972 Munich Olympics, a staggering eighty percent of all track medallists of both the short and the long distance category wore gold laced Puma Shoes. From the era of the 50’s and 60’s with Zátopek to Ethiopia’s Bikila and the US’s Smith/Carlos, Puma dominated the Olympic centurion iconography of the twentieth century.

The Turnaround – Rebuilding Puma for the 21st Century

Following the death of Rudolf Dassler in 1974, Puma had a difficult time defining its brand and establishing a recognizable identity from Adidas and a rising Nike. It came very close to suffering a same fate, and it did not help to be acquired by Luxembourg based CDP in 1989.

Then in 1993, Jochen Zeitz was appointed at the young age of 30 as the company CEO to work on reversing the fortunes of Puma. These changes were crucial in allowing Zeitz to refashion Puma as a sportswear company that is attuned to the music scene, fashion conscience, and pop-culture tastes.

During Zeitz tenure from 1993 to 2011, Puma transformed into an athletic shoe and fashion icon company grounded in sporting apparel and embraced by the masses as a symbol of urban fashion and pop culture.

Some initiatives that re-energized Puma under Zeitz:

They include the “Formstrip” logo which was reintroduced in the Sneakerboot range in 2008, and the “Springende Puma” which was also revived in 2008. Lettuce explain what happened to Rudolf Dassler’s designs from the 1980s until the time Zeitz picked up this retro branding.
Although Puma launched its African national football teams sponsorship in 1990 and 1994 World Cup, it was mostly endorsed worldwide by Cameroonian legend Roger Milla.

To tap into entertainment/fashion culture, Puma made celebrity endorsements by partnering with entertainers like Madonna, athletes and singers; Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and rappers Jay-Z.

The strategy was to shift Puma back to the role of challenger to sportstyle giants Nike and Adidas. By adapting viral and guerilla tactics, and developing wider ties with the fashion designers Alexander McQueen, Ferrari, Mihara Yasuhiro and others Puma successfully activated its brand.

Furthermore, the ad campaign of operating both with references to the athletic background and interacting with mainstream pop culture allowed Puma to leave behind old associations and return to its status of a Global sports brand icon.

Recent Success & Developments : The developments since 2010

This marked the start of the good performance of Puma under Jochen Zeitz as a result of which Puma continued to excel in the early part of this century. A brief highlight of some of the major events that have taken place in the company since 2010 includes:

-The most notable change Puma implemented in 2013 was the concept of reshaping the Global sports branding by teaming up with the fixture designer Yves Béhar to design unique futuristic concept retail stores based on the idea of experience rather than stock. Béhar’s awarded store designs revolutionized the concept of presentation of performance, fashion merchandise.

CS Santio joined Puma group in 2013 as a chief executive officer, while the former chief commercial officer Bjoern Gulden was promoted to be the CEO of the company in 2014. As for Innovation Pipelines Santio as well as Gulden also ensured its continuation while narrowing down operations’ scope. According to the data, EBITDA profits, Puma has earned from the year 2014 to 2018 has grown tremendously four folds.

Rihanna was made Puma’s Global Ambassador in 2016 and as the Creative Director, she was tasked with handling Puma’s women’s fitness and training division. Fenty line by RiRi makes more than $1 billion sales annually because Rihanna’s approach to styling is generally clicks with the contemporary cultures most notably among Gen-z women.

Building on its most recent high performance where KERING who has ownership interest in Gucci among others is a French luxury goods corporation boosted its stake in Puma to an approximate of 86% by buying some stock for about $1 billion in 2018. It gives this a value of approximately 5.3 billion euros or nearly 6 billion USD in total.

Latest celebrity endorsements include Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, pop star the Weekend, professional golfer Rickie Fowler and other major female sporting personalities make Puma’s blend of performance sport style and entertainment.

For the year 2019, following the quadruple reverse strategy, Puma introduced premium vintage lines from the 1980s which remind the company’s sporting history and the nostalgia associated with the brand. Thus, today’s hype for athleisure retro streetwear proves Puma’s cultural relevance, successfully continuing the revival of its heritage brand.

Thus, preserving the tradition of sports shoes, but simultaneously experiencing the spirit of youth, Puma is creating new traditions in making sports history today as a technological and fashion trendsetter.

Why Puma remains competitive as the sport fashion brand

Puma story is like how Jesse Owens to Usain bolt Rudolf Dassler used to say ‘Puma will make the fastest shoe in the world’ this shows that actually Puma had some novelty value which it still retains to this day, even when the sports footwear and apparels market was not crowded with competitors, it was still possible to cling to a very catchy lifestyles association which very few marketers can perceive accurately. The reason why Puma remains cultural in the present?

First, it continues to have a credible and genuine strategic focus from a lifetime really spent purely on sports performance. And that hard won legitimacy sustains the brand status of Puma against newer rivals, who try to grab the spirit of sports lifestyle in a flash by merely hyping it up.

Also, in the past, Puma has demonstrated a successful strategic management in terms of icons becoming influencers, starting from Olympic champions and up to popular musicians. Celeb-driven collections such as Fenty by Rihanna make Puma look like a progressive company that breaks away from conventional fashion trends.

The fact that Puma shoes and apparels are stylish also stems from the quality engineering with risk taking designs that is applicable even outside the sports arena. However, to analyze Adidas and Nike’s competition and market share, Puma occupies an influential position that connoisseurs will know even without mentioning the Formstrip logo.

Last of all, Puma still holds a friendly ‘challenger’ image versus other bulkier rivals. The brand manages to subvert the public’s expectations in a humorous way by offering partnerships that are perceived as unconventional and sometimes even provocative, such as in cultural taboos in the Tommie Smith Olympic salute. The second strategic concept, which is controversy, also fits the theme of challenging the status quo that Rudolf Dassler started by maximizing visibility at Puma.

Conclusion

Whether on the soles of Puma sneakers or on a retro Puma suit, the Puma cat remains easily identifiable as the icon of athletic performance, aesthetic innovation, and countercultural expression. Puma shoes combine sporting performance, music taste, and celebrity endorsement, aspects that have shaped generations of athletes and casual enthusiasts since the brand’s inception in 1948.

It’s therefore amazing to know that shoes that have been worn by such great athletes as Jesse Owens, Tommie Smith, and Serena Williams have been Pumas for the last seventy years. As Rihanna is advancing the Puma’s vision and Usain Bolt is driving the innovation of new performance shoes, it is anticipated that the next 70 years will see even more in terms of sportstyle branding evolution.

In fact, Puma remains faithful to the original vision of Rudolf Dassler, as it is still running ahead – successfully combining sports technology, fashionable trends and pop culture being in line with any Global brand.

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