Puma announced strong earnings in its quarterly report Thursday, a signifier that its recent partnerships with influencers like Rihanna and Usain Bolt have helped bolster the heritage brand.
The German retailer reported that its earnings before taxes rose 47 percent to $66 million, outperforming analyst estimates and hitting the higher end of its forecast for the year. The brand is largely attributing its success to a series of new and continued partnerships that have generated buzz for the company. With the help of celebrity influencers and campaigns focused on empowerment, the brand has continued to reinvigorate itself to consumers.
Among Puma’s biggest efforts of the quarter was its collaboration with Rihanna, who has been a brand ambassador since 2014. The singer’s Fenty x Puma collection, which she presented at Paris Fashion Week, launched in September to significant fanfare. The furor over the collection was also reflective of the continued rise of streetwear—consumers are clamoring for the products, and department stores like Neiman Marcus are featuring offerings like Rihanna’s in their stores. Puma also launched its “Do You” campaign with Cara Delevingne in the third quarter, an effort centered on inspiring confidence in women around the world.
Puma isn’t the only athletic retailer employing the use of notable figures and inspirational messaging to push product. Reebok teamed up with Gigi Hadid, announcing the model as the latest face of its #PerfectNever campaign which launched in July starting with athlete Ronda Rousey. Thomas Rankin, CEO of visual intelligence platform Dash Hudson, said that such partnerships help brands continue to evolve to meet consumer interests.
“Product collaborations with celebrities and influencers are a great way for a brand to reinvent itself, or create a product that targets a specific niche,” Rankin said. “With Rihanna, Puma got the combination of her next-level cool factor, as well as a gateway into luxe streetwear.”
The brand also continued to ride the coattails of Olympic runner Usain Bolt’s success in the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro during the third quarter. Bolt, who has been sponsored by Puma since the 2012 Beijing Olympics, worked with the brand on a customized line of shoes and apparel, as well as a “Boltmoji” keyboard.
Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden noted in the report that celebrity spokespeople and influencers have been an important catalyst to generating awareness around new products, enticing consumers to purchase full price apparel.
“New product lines … have shown to be ‘right’ for the consumers and our marketing. Personalities like Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Cara Delevingne and, of course, the unbelievable performance of Usain Bolt, have increased our brand heat,” he said. “More consumers are buying our new products at full price and retailers are therefore more satisfied with us. It is now our job to use this momentum to get more of the right Puma products on their shelves.”