Creating diverse experiences for consumers is very beneficial: Debosmita Majumdar, PUMA India

PUMA isn’t just selling products, we are selling stories and concepts that have the power to inspire the youth in India, says Majumdar

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Dec 22, 2017 8:53 AM

PUMA, the German sports lifestyle brand is only 10 years old in India, but it has managed to grab one of the leading positions in the footwear category. According to Bjorn Gulden, CEO, Puma, India will be among the top five global markets for them. The German brand is now in an expansion mode and will heavily invest in its e-commerce platform in addition to opening new stores in 2018.

In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, Debosmita Majumdar, Head of Marketing, Puma India, spoke to us on how Puma is steadily reviving itself to stay ahead in the market. Excerpts: -

This year, PUMA CEO Bjorn Gulden said that India is expected to be one of the Puma's five largest sales market by 2020. What are your plans on this?

India is a very important market for us. Though we entered the market in 2006, much later than our counterparts, we grew to become one of the largest brands in the sports and lifestyle space. Our brand is very popular with our target consumer group i.e. the millennials and generation Z, as we always bring cutting-edge products that are high on style and performance. It is essential for us to always stay connected and relevant to our consumers. Edgy, fashion forward products, coupled with new and original consumer engagement channels, ensures we stay ahead of the game. We are seeing the success of our strategy, and will continue to engage with our consumers by bringing them the most unique experiences and innovative products.

There are several brands in the sports and lifestyle category. What is Puma doing differently to stand up against competition?

Our strategy is to engage with consumers through original, unconventional methods. We adopt unique routes and deliver exceptional campaigns to take our message out there. We partner with the right influencers who represent the true spirit of our brand, and help communicate with our TG. This ensures that we always stay in the minds of our consumer.

Youth has the ability to differentiate whether a brand is only ‘selling’ to them or engaging with them to contribute to their individual journeys. As a brand we focus on creating immersive experiences that excite consumers. For an example, we have brought in a number of sporting legends to engage with Indian sports enthusiasts, providing fans with unforgettable experiences that money can’t buy. Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Boris Becker, Robert Pires, and Thierry Henry – these are some of the legends that fans got to interact with. We also collaborated with Virat Kohli and launched his athleisure brand One8 - reflective of Virat’s personal beliefs.

Tell us about your ad spends in the recent months.

We believe that it is not all about the budget or ad spends but the way we choose to interact with our target audience is of key significance. Creating diverse, once in a lifetime experiences and exciting content for consumers reaps far more benefits than just putting budgets behind traditional marketing channels.

Tell us about the marketing strategy you follow.

We believe in doing things differently, rather than doing different things. We use digital medium a lot for all our communication, but we also combine this with creative on-ground activations to make more of an impact. This leads to conversations across platforms, strengthening our brand positioning in the consumers’ mind. PUMA isn’t just selling products, we are selling stories and concepts that have the power to inspire the youth in India.
We complement our initiatives with product-led advertising and influencer engagement, which creates interest among the fans and consumers. This in turn leads to immediate ROI in sales. From a pure brand perspective, such initiatives help sustain our leadership in India.

Puma as a brand relies heavily on digital. Which are your three favourite digital marketing tools?

Our consumers are extremely tech savvy and are connected on the go. Internet and mobile penetration has helped us to reach out to consumers instantly. And while we have used Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, the choice of digital mediums depends entirely on what we are aiming to achieve, and what the objective of the campaign is.

What are the growth plans? Any specific area you are looking to expand in?

PUMA will continue to invest in the Indian market as we believe it has tremendous potential to grow into one of our top five markets globally. Currently, we have 355 stores across 120 cities. In the last one-year, we have added 60 new stores, and plan to add 35 more in the coming year in Tier I, II and III cities. We plan to continue our investment in sports innovation and technology, with an equal focus on opening more number of stores with the ‘Forever Faster’ concept.

We are also making huge investments in technology to change our approach towards the market. We will invest heavily in building our e-commerce platform, as online is the future. We are concentrating on running our ecommerce platforms directly through our own website and through online market places. At present, 30% of our total sale comes from our e-commerce platform and are working towards increasing the size of the catalogue on our website as well as ensuring a better supply chain.

For 2018, what will be your key strategy to push the brand more in the market?

We have a strong standing in the market at present, with the right positioning in the minds of our consumers, great partnerships, and most importantly a great team to run the business. All this gives a greater push to the brand. Our key strategy would be to stay fresh and create interactive campaigns for our consumers. We will continue to push the limits and engage with our TG through unique channels and platforms to stay ahead of the game.

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