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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Building customer loyalty and adapting to market changes are essential for success in the sports apparel and footwear industry.
  2. Under Armour has the opportunity to leverage its authenticity in sports performance while tapping into untapped markets such as sports style, footwear, and the women's market to increase brand heat and success.
  3. Under Armour targets female consumers by involving female athletes, social influencers, and actresses who are passionate about athletics, emphasizing the importance of trying on clothes, and recognizing the value of women leaders.
  4. Product segmentation, client engagement, and collaboration are essential for driving growth in the retail industry, as emphasized by Under Armour CEO Stephanie Linnartz.
  5. Balancing passion and openness to change can foster a successful founder-CEO relationship, driving the growth and success of the company.
  6. Stephanie Linnartz aims to create a loyalty program for Under Armour that goes beyond points, offering unique experiences and exclusive access to maintain relevance and impact in the market.

📝 Podcast Summary

Evolving competition in sports apparel and footwear industry

The competitive landscape in the sports apparel and footwear industry is evolving beyond the traditional players like Nike and Adidas. Smaller brands, such as Lulus and Hokas, are rapidly growing and gaining market share. Under Armour, under the leadership of CEO Stephanie Linnartz, is leaning more into sports style and shoes in order to stay competitive. Linnartz emphasizes the importance of cultural currency for a brand and explores opportunities to leverage social influencers and celebrities to tell the brand's story. Additionally, she brings valuable insights from her experience at Marriott, focusing on product segmentation and brand strategy. Ultimately, for any company looking to scale, building customer loyalty and adapting to changing market dynamics are key factors for success.

Expanding Under Armour's Brand and Market Potential

Under Armour is uniquely positioned to win in the competitive landscape of sports apparel and footwear. With a presence in over a hundred countries, thousands of stores, schools, and athletes beyond Steph Curry, Under Armour has established authenticity and credibility in the world of sports. Athletes, athletic directors, and coaches love the brand for its performance aspect. However, there is still untapped potential for growth, particularly in sports style, footwear, and the women's market. By embracing a more fashionable approach and expanding into new spaces, Under Armour can build cultural currency and increase its brand heat. With the addition of designer John Varvatos as the chief design officer, Under Armour aims to stretch and grow, offering shoes that can be worn with jeans for everyday wear. Overall, there is an opportunity for Under Armour to leverage its strengths while exploring new avenues for success.

Under Armour's Approach to Female Consumers and Marketing Strategies

Under Armour has recognized the untapped opportunity in serving women athletes. Female athletics is gaining significant viewership, with record-breaking crowds and millions of viewers for events like volleyball tournaments and NCAA finals. To grow the brand for female consumers, Under Armour believes in the importance of trying on the clothes themselves, understanding the fit, finish, and feel. They aim to market to women differently by leveraging female athletes as ambassadors and collaborating with social influencers and actresses who have a passion for athletics. The impact of social influencers like Taylor Swift is undeniable, with the ability to drive sales and generate brand love through platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Under Armour values diversity and recognizes the unique perspectives and experiences that women leaders bring to the table.

Importance of product segmentation, client engagement, and collaboration in driving growth according to Under Armour CEO.

Stephanie Linnartz, CEO of Under Armour, emphasizes the importance of product segmentation and client engagement to drive growth. Coming from her experience at Marriott International, Linnartz understands the significance of having multiple brands catering to different customer segments. She aims to apply similar principles to Under Armour, ensuring better segmentation within the product pyramid. Additionally, Linnartz recognizes the importance of hospitality and service in the retail industry, comparing it to the hotel business. She believes that creating an emotional connection with customers is vital, just as it is in the hotel industry. Lastly, Linnartz highlights the value of working alongside a founder, such as Kevin Plank, and the collaborative efforts required to succeed as a new CEO.

A founder's influence can have both positive and challenging aspects. In the case of Under Armour, the relationship between CEO Patrik Frisk and founder Kevin Plank has started off well, with Plank's passion and entrepreneurial spirit serving as a great asset. However, it can sometimes be difficult for founders to let go or accept change, which adds complexity to the CEO role. Despite this, Frisk and Plank are finding their way together, utilizing each other's strengths and working collaboratively. A key unexpected aspect has been Plank's openness to new ideas and experiments. Additionally, Frisk highlights the importance of pacing oneself in the CEO role, balancing long-term success with incremental wins. Ultimately, the focus is on strengthening Under Armour and creating more opportunities for its employees.

Loyalty programs and emotional connections for customer engagement

Stephanie Linnartz understands the power of loyalty programs and how they can drive customer engagement. Drawing from her experience in creating the successful Marriott Bonvoy program, she recognizes the importance of creating an emotional connection with customers. While Under Armour is just starting its journey with the launch of Under Armour Rewards, Linnartz plans to make the loyalty program about more than just earning points for merchandise. She aims to make it sticky and emotional by offering unique experiences with athletes and exclusive access to new products. By focusing on loyalty and customer engagement, Linnartz believes that Under Armour can become the cornerstone of consumer strategy and maintain its relevance and impact in the ever-evolving market.