We’re all familiar with at least one of those brands – the once-dominant household names that either missed or failed to adapt to the changing realities of the marketplace and disappeared into history.
Maybe the company wasn’t prepared for the disruptive change that online movie streaming brought about, or struggled to find its place amid the emergence of digital photography or electronic books. Regardless, no consumer products company wants to be relegated to history in this fashion.
I’ve talked in my last two blog posts about how companies need to be willing make major transformations within their businesses to stay relevant and profitable in today’s highly dynamic digital economy, and how the digital core is central to that transformation. Today, let’s take a look at one brand that is living proof of how transformation is possible and why it’s so important from a customer-experience perspective.
Under Armour is one of the most recognizable brands in the sportswear industry. Born in 1996 with a single T-shirt designed to support athletic performance while providing greater comfort, Under Armour most recently posted its first $1 billion quarter in company history.
And while producing quality, high-performance sportswear may still be Under Armour’s hallmark, the company’s success has been also been fueled in recent years by embracing the digital fitness trend.
“I believe we are a technology company,” Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank told Bloomberg last year. “And if the phone is going to get integrated into the shirt, should that be a technology company making apparel or the apparel company starting to make technology? I choose the latter, and that’s exactly where I’m pushing my company.”
Indeed, in the same interview, Plank pointed to the fact that the company’s mobile business was nonexistent just a few years ago. Today, it accounts for more than half of Under Armour’s business.
At the heart of Under Armour’s technology push is the company’s mobile application, Map My Fitness. More than simply tracking people’s activity or sleep habits, the app takes a comprehensive approach to fitness tracking while providing meaningful interactions that are aimed at helping people better manage their fitness goals.
For example, the app can analyze a user’s sleep and provide dietary recommendations based on its analysis. It can track the different surface areas that a user ran on and then inform him or her when new running shoes may be needed, helping ease a common runner’s concern regarding when they should replace their shoes. It can even help a user manage all the travel plans for attending a marathon or give sales associates at an Under Armour store personalized product recommendations when the user walks into the store.
With this approach, Under Armour is doing more than delivering quality products. It’s delivering a fully immersive experience that understands and acts on a wide range of customer needs.
It’s a noteworthy example of a company capitalizing on new opportunities in the digital economy to completely redefine how it engages with its consumers – and who it is as a brand. It’s also an example of a company thriving in an era in which companies that aren’t willing to change and adapt are at risk of joining others in the history books.