Puma is undoubtedly one of the biggest sports brand in India right now. The German brand has achieved quite some success in the Indian market with consumers going completely crazy to own apparels of the brand.
Since entering the Indian market more than a decade back in 2006, Puma has gone on to establish it as one of the fiercest competitors in the Indian sports market. At a time when the market was going through a slowdown, Puma not only managed a 23% revenue growth in FY19 but also increased the sales gap with its competitors to over 14%.
A large part of Puma’s success in India has been due to some of their highly creative and successful marketing campaigns like Propah Lady which featured some strong female ambassadors like Mary Kom, Dutee Chand and others.
The Propah Lady is a marketing campaign which was released by Puma India in 2019. The campaign goes up against traditional, stereotypical idea of proper women and tries to reconceptualise it.
Speaking about the strong female presence in their marketing campaigns, Shreya Sachdev, the Head of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives of Puma India in a webinar with The Bridge said, “Not just the strong female ambassadors we hire, Puma as an organisation as well is probably one of the most gender equal organisations that you will see today, and the reason behind it is that unlike a lot of other organisations we don’t really chase gender ratio as a goal. So, I don’t think anyone at Puma will say let’s hire more women, because that’s one of the worst things you can do for gender ratio.”
Shreya asserted that it was an early realisation about the diversity in opinions women bring to the table. This, according to her, helped Puma a great deal in maintaining the gender ratio in the workspace.
“I think we at Puma realised early on that diversity of perspectives has been and will continue to be critical to our success. If you need to ensure that diversity of thought process then you need to ensure that the ecosystem your employees are working in is extremely accommodating and flexible which brings out the best in every employee you hire. We probably have more than 40% gender ratio in corporate, the leadership team is evenly split and you will see a lot of women in leadership roles that are traditionally thought to be not suitable for women,” she said.
The Marketing and Strategic Initiative Head maintained that this gender neutral working environment is what reflects brightly in their marketing campaigns like the Propah Lady and others.
“I think this reflects in our campaigns as well, because you have a bunch of extremely smart, hardworking, capable women who are sitting in a room and saying what we want to say to all the women out there, what we stand for as a brand. I think that really reflected on the Propah Lady campaign and how relevant it was. I mean, we all women are extremely tired of hearing women need to be empowered and I think we have realised that women exist in place that is inherently unequal and yet continue to go out there and do brilliant things.”
"Mary Kom, Dutee Chand overcame a lot of odds to reach where they are"
Shreya added that campaigns like Propah Lady is just their way of celebrating women, who despite all the odds they face go on to achieve great things every day.
“The likes of Mary and Dutee have overcome lot of odds to reach where they are and nobody had to tell them to be empowered, they just went out there and did their thing. It was just about that, it was celebrating these women who despite all odds go out there and achieve great things every day. I think that’s what made it successful. We as a brand spend time internalising the messages we want to give out to our consumers.”
Not only social impact, a campaign like that also helps Puma to leverage their sales as well. According to Shreya, after the Propah Lady campaign Puma witnessed an overnight increase in the percentage of women followers on social media and also led to increase in women’s business department.
“Overnight we saw a huge jump in percentage of followers on social, we also saw contribution of women’s business go up for us. So in all plains, I think, it was a very successful campaign.”
Women have been one of the most important driving forces behind the success of Puma in India. With a strong, creative team working behind the scenes and a very loyal customer base; it won’t be any surprise if Puma, much like their ambassadors Mary Kom and Dutee Chand, soon start shattering some records in the Indian market.
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Shreya Sachdev: https://instagram.com/sachdev.shreya?igshid=xfojvrq29xm4