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How Puma is turning to startups in its bid to become ‘the fastest sports brand in the world’

Puma is hoping that by forging partnerships with startups operating “in the fusion of marketing and technology” it can better engage with consumers as it continues its strategy to become ‘the fastest sports brand in the world’.

Following a reposition in 2013 where Puma announced its new brand strategy, the sports brand has since rolled out campaigns under the mantra 'Forever Faster', a statement it hopes deals with various startups will help it achieve.

The brand has already worked with Seenit, an app that allows fans to view branded content in real time that has been created by influencers. For Puma, the platform allowed the brand to encourage its influencers to shoot content around the Trapstar launch event at the end of 2015. Throughout the night, editors tied short videos together that were then shared by the influencers to their social channels, to make the content quick, consumable and shareable.

Speaking to The Drum Ruth How, head of marketing and communications, said by partnering with startups Puma wants to overcome both the challenge and exploit the opportunity of disrupting its consumers.

“Puma’s mantra is we are 'Forever Faster' and that is an external consumer facing proposition but it also permeates throughout the company. What that means to the marketing team is that we are always looking for the best way or the newest way to disrupt the consumer and engage with them. Working with startups and tech innovation in marketing is a really great way of finding new ways to do that and better deliver that brand message.

“The challenge for us is that disruption, and engaging with the consumer is a business challenge, but it’s also the biggest opportunity. [We look at] how can we do that and what’s coming up in the fusion of marketing and technology that can help with that consumer engagement piece because really that’s where so much of our target market lives and breathes in the digital space.”

In terms of ROI, How said that because of the types of startups Puma is working with – namely in the social space – the brand is looking at it from the qualitative side so how many people have engaged with the content. Puma is also working with a platform called My Appy, which aggregates all of Puma’s consumer social media conversations and brings it in to one space so the brand can monitor how the content is being engaged with and what user generated content is created off the back of that.

“My philosophy is that startups are out there on the cutting edge of whatever field they’re in and they’re pushing the envelope they are driving whatever is new or innovative,” added How. “For me and my team the opportunity to partner with [startup incubator] Collider provides us with great ways of seeing what is coming at the same time as helping the startups figure out what their business proposition is”.