Under Armour, Inc. is a well-known sportswear manufacturing company in the United States that competes with a number of different brands, such as Nike and Adidas, Converse and Puma, New Balance and Lululemon Athletica, that are recognized throughout the entire world.
Even though a given business corporation is one of the leading manufacturers of sports apparel that get ground and enjoy a great success across the entire globe, there are some challenges they face as a result of the high, intense, and even aggressive rivalry among the competitors in the current sportswear market. In order to have a thorough understanding of company’s role in the current sports apparel industry, as well as to determine its’ market share, first of all, it is necessary to have good background knowledge about Under Armour.
Additionally, a list of important criteria includes the issues of strategic planning, strategic management, and key factors for business success. In an attempt to evaluate the latest economic performance of the company, it would be advantageous to create the SWOT analysis and take into consideration the value-added chain of this particular brand. All the information that can be found in both types of business analysis helps the company’s stakeholders identify the major weaknesses of their corporation, and as a result, implement certain innovations to have a remarkable competitive advantage on the current market. Apparently, it is very important since every leading sportswear manufacturing corporation takes significant efforts to stay ahead of the companies developing the same product – a high-quality gear for athletes across the world. In this case, Under Armour, Inc. exerts the intensive efforts to be ‘one jump ahead’ of a variety of similar business companies that own the most popular sports apparel brands such as Nike and Adidas.
25th September 1996 is the official date of setting-up of a well-known American company that deals with manufacturing high-quality sportswear. The founder of Under Armour, Inc. is a former football player who is known as Kevin Plank. Being a 23-years-old student at the University of Maryland, the athlete was the captain of its football team during a long period of time. Despite the fact that this prominent figure was passionate about American football, he had the makings of developing in the entrepreneurship activities. During the first year, a small business owner managed to earn $17,000 even though he hadn’t a suitable workplace and spent long hours in the basement of his grandmother. Since Plank was a former footballer, he had a thorough understanding of the athletes’ basic needs; one of the examples is the creating of a new product on the sportswear market – a T-shirt made of a synthetic fabric that is known as great water-wicking material.
Even though the prototype of the T-shirt invented by Plank was considerably successful, the head of the company continued to develop his product. In a few years, he began to manufacture the ‘football jersey’ using the microfibers; this particular textile material was a real catch for the athletes since they stayed dry and cool during football matches. The interesting thing is that this technology, which was introduced by the former captain of the students’ football team, was used by many companies owning the most valuable brands in the world. The first and foremost business deal that resulted in rapid growth of Under Armour in popularity was the sale of 10 T-shirts ordered by the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). After that, Plank got an opportunity to work with a variety of institutions and organizations related to the area of professional football. Among them, one can find Arizona State, NC State, and even National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Company’s Current State of Market
Taking into account the intense competition in the current sports apparel market, it should be noted that Under Armour, Inc. led by a prolific American businessman takes significant efforts in order to remain competitive in this specific apparel manufacturing industry. Even though modern economists make a point that Under Armour, Inc. experienced a remarkable sales decline over the last few years, the recent news report a great increase in the company’s capital stock. Currently, this corporation is frequently regarded as an outstanding upstart in the Sports Apparel Industry; even though Under Armour, Inc. has already been existing on the market for three decades, its market share still is not enough to sidestep the two leading athletic brands – Nike and Adidas. Despite this fact, Plank positions his corporation as one of the best clothing manufacturing companies that own the highest quality brands.
According to the recent economic reports, Under Armour, Inc. followed an upward trend since its market shares have increased by 30 % over the last year. The rapid development in this particular industry is almost impossible since the rest of high-performance manufacturers do not forge ahead as well. For instance, some sporting goods retailers – like Amazon and Walmart – tend to develop an increasingly diversified product in order to drive extra business and fight off the existing competition. To minimize the adverse effects of the fast-growing retail sporting goods business, Under Armour, Inc. has implemented a range of strategic innovations through the complete business restructure. During the recent interview, David Bergman, the Chief Financial Officer of Under Armour, Inc. mentioned that they set some new objectives in the company’s business plan. Among them, one can find the issues of smart functioning, fast manufacturing, global shifting from ‘traditional’ human resources model, and efficient optimization of the additional costs needed to achieve the pricing perfection. In his statement, Bergman has admitted that he has no doubts regarding the full potential of Under Armour, Inc. that can be achieved as a result of the recent implementation of certain internal company policies and procedures.
Basics of Strategic Planning and Strategic Management
Despite the fact that the notion of ‘strategic planning’ is a considerably broad term that may refer to various functional areas of the business corporation, it lays the foundation of a company’s ability to generate cash. The most important changes implemented by the stakeholders of Under Armour, Inc. can be found below.
- Development of a Superior Product that Would Grab World Attention
It is common knowledge that the modern youth evince great interest in the various types of athletic sports. As a result of such a growing tendency, the majority of experts forecast the higher demand for sports footwear, apparel, and equipment. Since Under Armour, Inc has already taken a different turn in the current world clothing industry, a ready market is a suitable condition for the enhanced performance of a company as well as for the rapid growth of the brand’s market share.
- Improve Business Image and Increase Brand Awareness
Business image is one of the critical factors that influence the company’s popularity on the market. Therefore, it is required to develop a set of marketing strategies since the success of every business corporation depends on the promotional efforts taken by the stakeholders.
- Use the Recent Advances in Manufacturing Technologies
In this case, all the technological innovations used in the manufacturing process not only contribute to the optimization of the workforce but also play a key role in enhancing the financial performance of the business corporation. Recently, the HR managers of Under Armour, Inc. have discharged 3 % of the company’s employees due to the issue of technological restructuring. At present, the major part of advanced manufacturing equipment provides business corporations with the numerous smart technological devices that are capable of replacing the employees and producing better results.
- Focus on Developing Women’s Athletic Apparel for Fitness
According to Chris Carroll, the former head of the marketing department of Under Armour, Inc., women who like buying sports apparel represent the key pillar needed for the future growth of their corporation. Having applied this particular marketing strategy, Under Armour introduced a few women-focused commercials featuring Gisele Bündchen and Misty Copeland. Since females are more likely to spend the enormous amount of money on clothing, shoes, and accessories, it is evident that creating the women’s clothing line may bring Under Armour, Inc. a significant market share in the current sportswear clothing industry.
- Concentrate on Current Footwear Industry
Even though Under Armour, Inc. failed to design distinguishing athletic footwear in the past, this particular business corporation has made an attempt to create a unique model of sports shoes using several innovative technologies. Being focused on the athletes’ needs, such as comfort and motivation, one of the leading American manufacturers made a decision to apply the footwear cushioning technology. The recent development of Under Armour, Inc. is the pair of ‘super-soft’ sports shoes that can ensure the owner a great shock absorbing system.
List of Key Factors Leading to Business Success
- Firstly, Under Armour, Inc. is acknowledged to be a reliable sports apparel manufacturer that creates a high-quality product on the current market.
- Secondly, the stakeholders of this particular business corporation are capable of satisfying the needs of their customers even though a significant part of their clients’ demands meeting the highest standard of quality.
- Thirdly, the use of technologically advanced devices in the manufacturing process plays a great role in the rapid development of Under Armour, Inc.
- Finally, stakeholders of Under Armour, Inc. focus their attention on the area of sports marketing; in this case, they are able to attract a greater number of potential customers through various marketing campaigns.
SWOT Analysis of Under Armour
The detailed SWOT analysis is a great tool that allows evaluating the performance of a business corporation as well as identifies its potential challenges and threats.
It is a well-known fact that Under Armour, Inc. is positioned as a high-quality brand that can be positioned as the innovative one. What is more important, this particular brand was found as a result of the great innovation idea. Analyzing the current business industry, one may note that the use of innovative technology is always associated with numerous benefits, which include the diversity of product and services, a variety of customer segment, and the continuous product offerings.
Despite the fact that Under Armour is a successful brand in the current sports apparel market, still, this particular business corporation has three main ‘soft spots.’ Among them, one can find the issues of outsourcing, geographical diversity, and athletic endorsement to the current market.
At present, the rapid development of the technology results in the adverse consequences for many companies and organization, Even though many business corporations have experienced the decline in sales recently, the field of sports apparel is not affected. Furthermore, the individuals’ interest in sports is a great opportunity for such businesses to advance their product and services. For instance, the development of different technology-based fitness devices will certainly have a resonance in modern society.
Firstly, high labor cost is one of the most important threats for Under Armour, Inc. Apart from that, this particular business corporation deals with manufacturing sports apparel; hence, it has a great number of competitors, such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance, and many others.