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Puma India’s unique communication strategy – Crazy or Desirable?

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Puma is one of the biggest international shoe brands in the world in the leagues of Nike, Reebok and Adidas. Puma India was set up in 2005 and this was an advantage for it as the German brand became one of the first international shoe brands in the country. But then in the last 5 years, how many times have you seen a Puma commercial or huge billboard advertisement or heard a jingle? I am sure you can count on your fingers. But that would surely not be the case with say a Reebok or a Nike!

Puma

What’s the difference with Puma?

Puma has always gone for a subtle branding and communication strategy to target its customers in the age groups 16-25 years – the ones who use their products the highest

Rather than go overboard with TV, Billboard or print advertising, Puma has always concentrated on digital as well as in – store branding and retailing. Positive word of mouth from satisfied customers is what Puma has always tried to achieve as its main communication strategy as this purchase is a high involvement category.

Puma’s strategy is built on left brained communication as it explains the concept of the brand at a level from which one can form opinions and conclusions. This gives an option for a person to be judgemental / non – judgemental.

So why such a narrow communication strategy?

Puma desires to be the brand for people who want something to show off as a status symbol or to satisfy their esteem needs. Early adopters would leave a brand they consider as desirable if it starts appearing anywhere and everywhere.

Rather than specially placing a product by its name in a movie, Puma India concentrates on building attention or awareness about the brand without mentioning the name. Since the brand appeals to fashion as well as sports conscious individuals, it strongly relies on digital advertising.

Future of Puma India?

Puma has tied up with Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers and is also the official kit supplier for the IPL. After starting many digital campaigns this year, Puma India plans to go for special TV innovations during the IPL next year.

What is most important in the long run for Puma is to communicate the legacy of the brand to the customers / prospective customers. Without that it would be really difficult for the brand to sustain itself and it may force it to go the conventional above the line advertising route!

Do you think such a narrow communication strategy for Puma India can work?

  1. sanu says

    let me make this clear,puma is not for every1!they are exclusive brand,like gucci,aarmani etc r for showoff uptown fasionable person,puma is for cool kids or wanabes aged between 17 to 25!u wont see ur college dean sportin latest puma kicks,do ya?cant say dat 4 reebok or as they make more jogging,lite sportst type shoes for elder.

  2. shantanu soam says

    Acording to my point of view PUMA is the great Brand but now- a- days every local company making same shoes style and even name also putting puma if we will see these shoes we cant say that is not puma shoes so company should chang some style and U.S.P. I was the consumer of puma shoes and t-shirts but now i left that bcoz i felt it.Puma company should understand this customer problems what the cusmer facing now a days. they should do copyright in india bcoz no one hv diffrent logo every one putting same logo..

  3. Amit says

    It’s Nothing new MTV follows the same segment of Youths. And in india less then 0.05% of the people in the age group of 16-25 have buying power to afford PUMA’s range of acceoseries . PUMA need to re invent his marketing strategy if he want to place yourself into mind of “value for money” buyers of india. India is certainly biggest market in the world for selling and PUMA is enterd too late to encash it.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Yeah you are right. Their narrow strategy may not really work in India if they want to compete with the likes of Reebok, Adidas and Nike..

  4. MOHIT FAUZDAR says

    I m in the favor of PUMA INDIA’S strategy because i bought PUMA shoes just because they are less common n believe i have all famous brands including ADIDAS,NIKE,WOODLAND,REEBOK but out of these PUMA is my favr8 one because i m getting full fill my show off need ” non of my friends has PUMA shoes and they look awesome and the comfort is also pretty good”………Reebok and Adidas are like local brands now days every one has shoes from these brands so for those who loves to be different from others PUMA IS THE BRAND and there are millions out there who loves to be different from others.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Yeah the strategy is good for a developed market but for a market like India which is continously changing, such a strategy may not really be in their best interests as it doesn’t give them too many options to work with. Though it has established itself as a brand which people would aspire to have, the fact that its presence is still less may work against it!

  5. Pooja Gupta says

    If Puma is really relying on word of mouth from satisfied customers to promote their brand, they are taking a huge risk. I bought Puma shoes, shifting my loyalty from Nike to a different brand for the first time….and all I can say is I regret it. Puma shoes lack the quality and the basic comfort of shoes.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Oh really? Didn’t know that quality of Puma shoes is bad. Probably what you are facing maybe a one off incident as normally their shoes are know for their comfort and quality. But yeah such a niche communication strategy may not really work for India which is still primarily dependent on mass advertising like TV, Print media etc.

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