Puma's Basketball Return About More Than Just Sneaker Sales
Puma Global Dir for Brand & Marketing Adam Petrick said that the company "getting back into the market for performance basketball sneakers was 'table stakes' for a broader goal, which is as much about branding and culture as it is about selling basketball products," according to Marc Bain of QUARTZ. The timing of Puma's "relaunch in basketball could hardly have seemed worse," as sales of performance basketball shoes in the U.S. have been "sliding for years." However, Petrick said that the "reentry into basketball was an inflection point" for Puma. Petrick: "That was the thing that really kickstarted the growth again in the U.S. territory." He added that in the '00s, Puma had "wandered too far from its roots in major sports, expanding into golf, motorsports, sailing, and beyond." Bain noted in the U.S., which was a "top priority for growth" for Puma, it became "clear that basketball offered a better platform than any other sport, largely because of the cachet and brand-building ability the NBA and its athletes have." When Puma considered reentering the basketball market, the company "asked Jay-Z his thoughts -- and then if he would be interested in working on the project." Now, Jay-Z "helps Puma basketball make decisions on everything from the tone of voice it uses, to how it works with athletes, to the events it holds." Petrick said that "despite the softness in the market," performance basketball shoes are "part of Puma's plan to keep growing" (QZ.com, 5/1).