The article highlights the point that this lack of cool factor starts at the top with Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank. Mr Plank came under fire after he appeared on CNBC praising Donald Trump. These comments, according to the article make it almost impossible for Under Armour to effectively build a cool urban lifestyle brand in the foreseeable future.
Kevin Plank’s comments don’t live in a vacuum, as some of the brand’s most notable spokespeople like Misty Copeland and Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson have come out against Plank’s comments. It can’t be good if you have some of the biggest stars with huge social media followings coming out against your brand. The Rock has close to 80 millionInstagram followers making him one of the biggest voices on social media.
The Business Insider article also points out the fact that Millenials and Generation Z are different from previous generations in the sense that these generational cohorts want brands to be transparent about their stands on social issues. If a brand’s values don’t match the customer’s values, with so many consumer choices, it’s never been easier for customers to take their business elsewhere.
With a fractured customer base, Under Armour’s political beliefs aren’t the only thing that is dragging the brand down. Again, the business Insider article highlights a major issue that Kevin Plank sees as Under Armour’s central deficiency. Kevin Plank himself thinks Under Armour products aren’t cool. Today’s consumer wants it all, they want products that look great, perform at the highest standards, last a long time and are fashionable. Mr Plank feels that Under Armour falls short on the fashion side. The company completely misread the surging market interest in athleisure and instead continued to rely on branded basic sportswear.
The problem with not moving quickly into the fashionable athleisure market means that sales have flat lined and the brand has begun selling in off-price markets, which may make it difficult to retain status as an upper echelon brand.