How about a merger?
Have you seen Misty Copeland in the Under Armour advertisement? She dared to be a ballerina with a body of a basketball player. And guess what she succeeded. It’s an age-old story of an underdog who won against all odds or beliefs or expectations.
The claim is very strong – I will what I want, says pretty much what Just do it says, yet it is a more powerful monologue whereas Just do it could be perceived as an order coming from someone else. Yes, it is an inspiring brand story but would I buy a tracksuit just based on that inspiring story. Yes, I would. Especially after I looked at their offer. Their sports clothing looks amazing. It is both feminine and sporty.
The brand Under Armor is kicking a lot of sports brands’ butts. Namely, Nike, and adidas can’t show this much femininity or this much design taste when it comes to tops, hoodies and tights. But UA has a weak point, they are still a newcomer in the sneaker business. This is where they will tread with caution, in other words lower their prices, or seriously work on their brand strategy.
According to the Baltimore Business Journal UA grew its sales 30% in June 2014, to capture 2.8% of the total market. Nike and its Jordan brand made up for 60% of all shoes sold in June.
The important part of UA brand story is the theme of reinvention. This brand reinvented the t-shirt with wicked fabric that keeps perspiration off you and regulates your body heat. Their brand promise in the ad states that the sneaker comes from the brand that reinvented the t-shirt and that the sneaker is made entirely in the clothing factory. This part about making a sneaker in the clothing factory is where they lost me. Why would I want such sneakers, what’s so special about that? Where are sneakers usually made? I suppose in the shoe factory. I would trust the shoe factory more with the shoes.
UA should build on what they have that is relevant to the consumers, one way is to say we have pretty shoes (which is so true yet lame) or to reinvent a part of it (back in the day I got Jordans because I thought I would jump higher).
I like the spirit of the UA brand. It reminds me of the feeling Nike used to give me a few decades ago. UA has that spirit springing from the CEO, it is just too bad it is lost on the sneakers.
If all else fails, UA can merge with Nike and they both can profit from each other’s strengths or ‘I got what you need and you got what I need’ strategy.