Puma sees basketball and retail stores as the ways to fuel its rapid growth
If sportswear had a prestige category, it would be basketball sneakers.
A strong basketball business can grab shoppers’ attention and put a halo around a brand’s products.
Puma partnered with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z last year as it returned to the U.S. basketball market after being on sidelines for two decades. The category is a key part of its global strategy, despite it already being dominated by giants like Nike and Adidas.
“Partnering with Jay-Z made a lot of sense to us because we believe that basketball is the sport that most merges the worlds of culture, hip hop, art and fashion,” said Adam Petrick, Puma’s director of global brand and marketing, in an exclusive interview with CNBC. “We are really just trying to tell great stories, get in the space of the consumer, be relevant, be competitive and try and do something interesting.”
Puma has enlisted its own all-star lineup of influencers including Jay-Z, Selena Gomez, Meek Mill and Rihanna as well as social media stars known in Asian markets.
The company has also signed a deal with esports brand Cloud 9, to provide uniforms for gamers and apparel for fans. According to Morgan Stanley, 194 million people are expected to watch esports in 2019 and 79% are under the age of 35 years old. Petrick says the collaborative marketing strategy is all part of the company’s quest to reach millennial consumers.