Under Armour has room to grow

Under Armour is an American company that develops, markets, distributes and manufactures footwear, sports, and casual apparel based in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1996 by the CEO Kevin Plank (a former football player) who by the beginning of this year became the Executive chairman and brand chief, leaving the C-Suite role to Patrik Frisk (former COO) as a CEO.

  • Slogan “I will”
  • Mission statement “to make all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation.” 
  • Vision statement “to inspire you with performance solutions you never knew you needed and can’t imagine living without.”
  • Core values “love athletes, stand for equality, fight on together, create fearlessly, always connect, stay true, think beyond, and celebrate the wins.”

People started noticing the brand since the beginning, firstly, because they invented their own moisture-wicking apparel, which competitors like Adidas and Nike followed through and made the same type of apparel. Secondly, by the contract of big American football teams like Oakland Riders, NC State, Arizona State, making many others follow.

The products manufactured by Under Armour include athletic shoes, t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, pants, leggings, shorts and accessories such as bags, gloves, caps and protective gear for men, women and kids. They also produce uniforms for American football, basketball, golf and soccer. They now offer digital health and fitness apps built to connect people and drive performance.

Under Armour promotes its products by sponsorship agreements with many celebrity athletes, professional teams and college athletic teams, a field in which it competes with other sports apparel companies. However, for the last couple of years, their strategy has been to put the consumer at the center of everything they do: How is UA engaging customers? What do they see as their core strengths? How does UA deliver immersive experiences? What is their relationship with their brand?

Their primary goal for retail marketing strategy is to increase brand floor space dedicated to their products. Under Armour point of sale displays and concept shops enhance the brand’s presentation within their major retail accounts with a shop-in-shop approach, using dedicated floor space exclusively for UA products, including flooring, lighting, walls, displays and images.

They are combining the physical and digital product to help their customers achieve their fitness goals. For that, they just launched a connected shoe, the HOVR Infinite, which they designed with Dow Chemical, and connects to the UA MapMyRun app. The app uses machine learning to collect data from a sensor in the shoe’s footbed and calculates the stride length and cadence. After the first run, the app coaches the user on their running form. Another product that they have is the ArmourBox that you can use by going online and writing about your training schedule, your favorite shoe style, and your fitness goals. They then use advanced analytics to send the user new shoes or apparel on a subscription basis. Their future product and goals in clothing and footwear will provide that same user experience but with no digital phone nor watch, leaning on artificial intelligence and personalization.

The company appears to have substantial room to grow. In recent years Under Armour has acquired several fitness app companies as it seeks to integrate mobile technologies to bolster its brand. UA projects substantial growth in footwear sales and additional income streams from more sales directly to consumers. The company will also continue to enter new markets, most recently hiring a talented team to initiate a plan to enter the outdoor performance apparel market.

Direct competitors

Amongst their many competitors Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour are all in direct competition with one another in order to capture market share in this lucrative space.

  • Adidas is a multinational corporation, founded and headquartered in Germany, that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing and accessories. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second largest in the world, after Nike. While Adidas was initially known as a soccer brand, its ownership of TaylorMade and Reebok establishes it as a diversified player in athletic apparel and goods.
  • Nike is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. It is the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel, and major manufacturer of sports equipment.

All of the competitors that I mentioned are now facing a market change, they now want to focuse more on the user experience and best quality. By doing that, each brand in focusing in some sort of differentiation for example, Nike is advertising its clothing and shoe apparel with the help of the Women’s World Cup (strong effort in fighting for gender equality). Adidas is also advertising for gender equality, in this case, with Beyoncé.

Overall UA plans to continue to grow their business over the long term through increased sales of their apparel, footwear and accessories, expansion of the wholesale distribution, growth in direct to consumer sales channel and expansion in international markets. UA’s digital strategy is focused

on supporting these long-term objectives, emphasizing the connection and engagement with their consumers through multiple digital touch points, including through our Connected Fitness business.

Brief

The product objective is to allow general fitness enthusiast and athletes to set goals, track their progress and set new ones. The differentiating point of view is that any kind on fitness in the sum of smart training, nutrition, and motivation. They product must contain:

  • Goal setting
  • Training content
  • Tracker integration
  • Progress visualization and data
  • Nutrition advice
  • Community

The challenge is to develop a set of viable concepts for visualizing a user’s progress towards their goals. The concepts must:

  • Show a user’s current progress to goal
  • Show progress over a period of time
  • Reflect the product’s differentiating point of view
  • Be relevant to both, general fitness enthusiasts and competitive athletes
  • Answer challenges inherent to the category (why they abandon their training)
  • Digital products are a wasteful distraction