AUSTIN, TX: Under Armour, the sporting apparel and accessories group, believes keeping its brand "fluid" has been a key contributor to its long-term success.
Kevin Plank, Under Armour's Founder/CEO, discussed this subject during a keynote session at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016.
More specifically, he argued the company's development of a digital portfolio – which includes the HealthBox, a sleep, fitness, health and wellness tracking kit, and four digital apps – indicates it is not constrained by a sportswear heritage.
"Brands ebb and flow. The evolution of your brand: it must be fluid," said Plank. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Under Armour uses digital data to build a "fluid" brand.)
"It's a completely dynamic thing. There is nothing static about a brand. I wasn't thinking about a connected fitness strategy ten years ago. But that has ebbed and flowed and evolved with us as we've gone and as we've grown."
Having begun by making a t-shirt reducing sweat levels for college football players, before going on to manufacture a variety of sporting footwear and apparel, the company has grown into a wide range of categories.
"It was this one product," Plank said. "And my consumer pulled me to all these other places that gave us the privilege to be able to sell other things. And it took us from being a product-based company to being an idea.
"What brought us into this entire world where we are now was that the consumer, I believe, asked us to go here. And at times it was our job to anticipate the question that the consumer wanted to ask us."
The underlying principle that unites Under Armour's increasingly expansive portfolio, according to Plank, is a clear focus on improving "performance" for the customer.
"I do like being defined as a 'performance company'. I think it's completely unlimiting; it's an untethered approach to the way that we see the ability to define our company," he said.
"No matter what we do, everything comes back to relying on the brand. And the brand is something that must be protected. The brand is something that must be curated."
Data sourced from Warc