When Puma signed the Rs 100-crore deal with Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, eyebrows were raised about the return of such expensive celebrity endorsement pacts. Within a year of the deal, the sportswear brand has seen its sales grow. The company has also co-created the One8 athleisure brand with Kohli.
"We have created the whole philosophy of One8. We will have a far more intense and larger marketing around it. Last year, we launched the apparel-line, now we will also get into footwear," Debosmita Majumder, Marketing Head, Puma India told BestMediaInfo in an interview.
"The idea is to develop more interesting products that are more Virat-style and we bring in the Pumaness," she said.
On the back of the partnership with the Indian cricket team captain, Puma is eyeing to make India one of its top five global markets in the next two years.
The brand that spends 70% of its ad budget on digital advertising believes that it doesn't make sense to spend on Indian Premier League to reach out to consumers.
"It doesnâ€™t make sense for us to spend that kind of crazy money. Probably, if my brand would have been in distress, I would have considered IPL," Majumder said.
Puma signed a Rs 100-crore deal with Virat Kohli last year. It is one of the most expensive celebrity endorsement deals. How's the partnership coming along?
Itâ€™s been phenomenal for us. There is a two-pronged approach for this. One is that he is the ambassador for Puma. He will also be co-creating the line that is called One8. It has been a soothing success and we've got very encouraging feedback. Results in the sales have all been pretty good. The idea is to develop more interesting products which are more Virat-style and we bring in the Pumaness. While we do that, he will also be the face of our online campaigns. It has been one of our best associations. He clearly knows what has to be delivered and he works for the brand.
One8 is Viratâ€™s athleisure brand in partnership with Puma. What is Pumaâ€™s role in this partnership?
We created the whole philosophy of One8 and what he should stand for. This year we will have a far more intense and larger marketing around it. Last year, we launched the apparel line, now we will also get into footwear.
How differentiated is Pumaâ€™s positioning in comparison to other sports apparel brands in India?
Whoever is in the business of sports has to talk about sports and training. Pumaâ€™s style has always been at the forefront and how we do things. In terms of style, I donâ€™t think anyone comes close to what we do. We continue to produce very innovative and stylish products. We are more active in the athleisure space. Our kind of apparel gives you the flexibility that you can wear it outside.
How much of a believer is Puma in data-driven marketing and what weightage is given to data in comparison to real consumer interaction and learnings?
Both go hand-in-hand. For a brand like us that is talking to young consumers, we choose to stay in the digital space. You can measure everything on digital. You need data to arrive at an insight. Also, every marketer has to go with his instinct.
Consumers behave differently on different social media handles like Facebook and Instagram. How do you communicate to the same consumer on different platforms?
Thatâ€™s why we create a lot of snackable content. Something that we will put out on Instagram, we will not put out on Twitter. If I have to advertise on YouTube, I will create content according to the way consumers consume content on it as opposed to Hotstar.
Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden recently said that India will be among top five global markets for Puma. How far are you from this goal?
Itâ€™s in the process. All the global markets are encouraging markets. It will take a couple of years for India to reach the top five. While the competition is thinking of shutting shop, we are thinking of adding 30 more stores this year.
How much of the total spend is allocated to the digital front?
We spend 70% of our total advertising spend on the digital platform and 30% of the marketing budget is on the activation front.
How do you communicate to consumers in non-metros as compared to the ones in metros?
The non-metros are very much up there. We are talking about the young generation. The non-metros youngsters follow what someone in the city is doing. Itâ€™s not much difference. Itâ€™s not the older generation we are speaking to. Itâ€™s actually the urban ones for which we have to constantly think to create something disruptive. They are saturated and exposed to the global trends. They are bombarded with so many brands. We have to give them something different to attract their attention. Tier 2 and 3 consumers are more accepting and open in comparison to the Tier 1 consumers.
Since you're a big spender on digital, how concerned are you about digital ad frauds?
For a niche brand like us, ad frauds are not much of a concern. We work with far smaller budgets. We are very practical and the spillage is less.
Any plans to associate with IPL?
It doesnâ€™t make sense for us to spend that kind of crazy money. Also, we donâ€™t have any launch during that time. The cost of associating with IPL is very high. Probably, if my brand would have been in distress, I would have considered IPL.