Under armour’s underdog strategy to becoming the Anti-Adidas
In the introduction of Can You Say What Your Strategy Is? By David J. Collis and Michael G.Rukstad, they list a very common question for most of the successful company cannot articulate in a very simple statement which is what’s the objective, scope and advantage of their business. In light of the knowledge that company that has a clear and simple statement of strategy are likely to be successful compared with those that never even have one. Thus, the article identifies three vital elements to create your own strategy statement-objective, scope, and advantage. In this post, I am going to extend the idea by discussing about under armour.
Nike has ruled the sportswear sector for years but Under Armour has slowly been eating into Nike's market share and is now the second most-popular athletic apparel brand in America. Adidas lags behind at number three. According to the data of Sterne Agee and SportScanInfo news, for the U.S. market, Adidas sales fell 23% to $1 billion 100 million in 2015, while Under Armour Inc.’s sales rose by 20% to $1 billion 200 million. However, Nike still occupies the first with $8 billion 900 million. Facing such a strong competitor, under armour take a strategy by considering itself an “underdog brand”. Under armour’s marketing manager Adrienne Lofton repeatedly stressed that UR is a not an optimistic company. They work with athletes most people wouldn't or didn't draft in the first round, or who they wouldn't traditionally give a prima ballerina title to. This strategy is different with the traditional sports clothing brand’s strategy which likely to cooperate with most successful players. For example, Stephen Curry helps UA with a deal that has been paying off tremendously. It can be anticipated that the personal influence of Curry will bring $160 million to UA in 2017. From my perspective, thinking about not a wonderful athlete, but a normal human being, which decrease the distance between UA and customer and convey a message that you must work hard to achieve your goals — a methodology that certainly sees benefits, whether you're an athlete, a businessman, or a student.
After UA defining the objective, they focus on identifying advantages of the brand. As we known, UA started with sports tights and football protective gear and its products has a very strong influence and competitiveness in these fields. Unlike Nike and Adidas, with particularly wide product range, UA mainly focus on sports tights. On the other hand, UA has a clear market positioning which defines the main customer is the professional athletes, young people, and sports enthusiasts.
To sum up, the success reasons of Under Armour can be sorted into three points:
1. Refusing to imitate the marketing strategy of competitors and create their own unique brand value.
2. Concentrate on developing the quality of the product until the product is different from competitors.
3. Clear market positioning and clear target customers.