Under Armour is one of the fastest growing sports and apparel brands in the world. Under Armour was started in 1996 by Kevin Plank a former high school and college football player. When Kevin played football, he hated how the cotton t-shirts that he wore became soaked with sweat. It was uncomfortable and he believed the extra weight hurt an athlete’s performance. To solve the problem, he developed a microfiber shirt that would wick way moisture and stay light even if the wearer sweat heavily.
From the beginning Kevin Plank and Under Armour were focused on a singular purpose to make athletes better. From that innovation, designed for elite athletes, Under Armour has evolved into well over a $1 Billion consumer brand. They are passionate about developing innovative products for athletes. Consumers love Under Armour products and the logo can be seen anywhere young athletes are competing.
Under Armour’s integrated marketing strategy is built around selling its products to high-performing athletes and teams on the high school, college and professional levels. This strategy is executed through outfitting agreements, professional and collegiate sponsorships, individual athletes agreements and by selling directly to team managers and individual athletes. Tom Brady, Buster Posey and Bryce Harper are a few of the athletes that Under Armour sponsors. Their goal is to have Under Armour products seen on the field. A key difference from Nike has been Under Armour’s focus on the team rather than the individual. Everything Under Armour does is designed to build the brand’s authenticity. The brand delivers it message on television, through social media, grass roots sponsorship such as UA Freedom and its support of the Wounded Warrior Project and in-store shops and presentation. Under Armour has built strong unaided awareness and consumer preference through these efforts.
A couple of nights ago when I was working out I had the opportunity to watch the Under Armour High School All America game. This event was a showcase for young athletes as well as Under Armour’s innovative uniform and product design. The event also serves as a platform for uncommitted recruits to announce their college decisions. Several athletes announced where they will be playing college football next season. Under Armour also announced a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Which brand of apparel do you wear when you work out Under Armour or Nike?