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Under Armour: 'We make people better'

Change can drive growth but having strong, consistent values across the entire brand keeps customers engaged.

Speaking at the Drapers Fashion Forum in London, John Williams, regional director at Under Armour, made the case for the need to balance change with strong brand values to differentiate in a competitive market.

Williams told the delegates: “Our values are embodied in all our teams around the world and are so important to us. We can put all the plans we want in place, we can focus, we can change but ultimately it’s down to the will of our people, and them giving their all, day in and day out.”

Under Armour has made a successful return to the forefront of the sportswear industry, after having hit “a few headwinds in 2017”.

Its bounceback is something Williams attributes to its simple mission statement: “When you look at our vision, that speaks right to where we started as a business, and it’s what our customers love about Under Armour. We’re here to make our consumers, our athletes, our people better. It doesn’t matter by how much – even if it’s just 1%.”

That is not to say that the brand is not innovative, both with product and business strategy. Discussing the birth of Under Armour Williams divulged how it was “a business that was founded on a need, on a solution, on an innovation and not an entrepreneur that wanted to get rich quick”.

This is an approach the brand is still taking with product: last year it launched its Recovery range, which features Celliant infra-red technology to help restore muscle tissue, while other sports brands are still focused on preparation and performance.

Its new approach in Europe is to create borderless operating models by trading in customer groups, rather than regions. Williams said this “will deliver a much more focused route to the market, enhance the customer experience with Under Armour and bring us closer to our consumer”.

“As a brand Under Armour has to balance changing to meet the needs of the consumer by doing what we’ve always done: making sure that we are giving people something that they never knew they needed and can’t imagine living without.”

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