The opening of Puma's sensational flagship in Manhattan marks a safe "return" to the US sports brand market. But that doesn't mean budgets will necessarily shift to live retail or experience – the chief marker now plans to donate more money in traditional media and broadcast.
The Fifth Avenue store, which opened on Wednesday (August 28), has been in development for two years. Clothes from the entire brand's streetwear, performance sports, exclusive fashion and children's collections are displayed at low densities across the two floors.
immersion in mind.
Customers are invited to grab a coffee from the upstairs bar, sample football exercises in an immersive digital training experience and spend time with the rotating schedule of artists and cult brands who have been invited to host events and customization experiences in the room.
Marketing and product development teams also see the store's ability as a real-life research center ̵
"We have been focused on engaging consumers with our social platforms … for the past 10 years," said Adam Petrick, Puma's global director of branding and marketing. "But being able to have stores that you can engage one-on-one with consumers in a shopping environment – watch them shop your product and see what they don't like – is invaluable."
Petrick, a Puma marketing loyalist, described the flagship as a symbol of Puma's focus on and – "back to" – the US market.
"Our presence with wholesalers is increasing and improving, and this serves not only as a platform to get product across, but also as a visualization or embodiment of our presence in this market, and especially New York," he said .
Puma has registered promising growth in recent quarters. Sales for the full year increased by 17.6% at the end of February 2019, aided by double-digit growth in EMEA, APAC and America. The latter's revenue increased by 16.9% – a success partially accredited to the withdrawal in the basketball court.
Nevertheless, the brand is still dwarfed by Nike's dominance, and is constantly competing for what remains of the US market share with Adidas and Under Armor.
So now, after spending a few years expanding its grassroots authenticity in the street scene with a series of talented celebrity partnerships (Rihanna is the most notable), Petrick is preparing to reinforce this "credibility" with an increase in media spending.
"We have created great products and [inking] good partnerships with great ambassadors all over the world," he said. "What we need to do now is create awareness for our brand.
" Stores will be a piece of it, and they are a component of getting the word out from city to city. But if I look at our overall mix, it is the place where we are likely to grow the fastest, traditional media. As we grow, and when we need to reach a broader market segment, we need to spend a little more on awareness and catching the eyeballs. "
He added:" What I'm surprised is that very few people know what Puma is doing. The awareness is high, but the actual understanding of all the things we do on a daily basis is not as high as I want it to be. "
This is exactly why Puma gave its $ 300 million global media account to Havas at the end of 2018. The French holding company has been tasked with investing in" infrastructure, procedures and policies "for the brand's paid media practices to increase awareness of the market, especially outside urban areas.
Deal will also see Puma take advantage of Havas & # 39; s relationship with Vivendi-owned affiliates, as it aims to leverage "the culture of the sport". Access to talent through partners like Universal Music will still be crucial to the brand's focus going forward, regardless of how much it spends on media.
"If we were to say & # 39; OK, that phase [of connecting with culture] is done, now we just have to commercialize & # 39; it would be disaster, & # 39; said Petrick." We never would.
"Instead, we take the truth about what we have built over the last 10 years and just get it in front of more people."