"Belief is Key"

Interview with Abhishek Ganguly on PUMA being the no. 1 brand in India

May 10, 2019

Interview with Abhishek Ganguly on PUMA being the no. 1 brand in India

May 10, 2019

“When we started our subsidiary in India in 2006, we were the last among other global brands like Nike or Adidas to enter the Indian market.

It is phenomenal that we still managed to become the No.1 Brand in the country, not just among sports brands but also compared to other global apparel and lifestyle brands.”

Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director PUMA India, and his team have done quite a job: PUMA is THE brand in India, visibly. “You will find more people wearing PUMA than any other brand,” says Rakesh Rahar, Regional Retail Manager South.

How did they do it? What does that mean for the future of PUMA India? And how can other PUMA teams be as successful as the PUMA India team? Abhishek Ganguly has told us!

First of all: How do you measure that PUMA is the no.1 brand?

As a part of compliance, every private limited company has to file their audited yearly profit & loss account (P&L) and balance sheet with the Registrar of Companies, a governing body. They then publish it on their repository which can be downloaded by anyone. This is also the source that everyone, including local media use.


What is the “secret” behind PUMA’s success in India?

1. Operating the business right and a passionate team

In the past with regulations, restrictions and complicated tax regime, India hasn’t been an easy market to master. Operating a business right is the critical success formula. I believe, we have got that part right. We have been successful in keeping the global brand essence with localized operations. Building a successful team which has been extremely passionate, engaged and loyal has been hallmark of our success. We also have had a much more stable leadership team compared to other companies.

2. Brand Presence

We have 270 Full Price Stores and 80 Factory Outlet Centers in India, including owned & operated and partner stores. Our brand presence in the market is extremely compelling. And of late, ecommerce is growing extremely fast, where too we have a direct to consumer focus.

3. Content and Engagement oriented Marketing

Our marketing has been very differentiated reducing our customer acquisition cost while increasing PUMA’s relevance in the minds of the young consumers. We haven’t focused on traditional advertising. Our marketing is very content and engagement oriented and we have invested in social and digital platforms. Our influencer outreach has been unique and successful and so have been our events and activations. We have an 8-year partnership with Virat Kohli, who is the Indian cricket captain and the most influential personality for the Indian youth today.


What is PUMA doing better than its competitors?

Our business model is different, hence not overtly dependent on one channel or on select customers.  We are a multi-channel brand: we have own stores, partner stores, own e-com, wholesale e-com where we invoice online sellers, multi brand, focused distribution channel for certain categories etc. It is a complete hybrid structure. Our product distribution is very channel focused.

Over the years, we have built the team, which I would say is the best in the industry today. We have hired a lot of talented young people with immense potential. The culture in the company is very distinct. We have a highly engaged and motivated team, not just in our corporate office, but also in our stores. We have one of the lowest attritions in our sector.

PUMA is also the only company in our segment, which is in the Top 100 Best Places to work, ranking 53rd in 2018 across all companies in India.

How does that team contribute to the success?

We would not be where we are without our people led success story. And we can’t continue to be a great brand with a fantastic business, unless we continue to have the environment where people excel. There is a firm belief that a happy team creates great business results to be happy about. It’s a cycle which one must try and get into.



PUMA has been the no. 1 brand in India for a few years now. How have you secured that position over such a long period of time?

Two things which might seem contradictory have been core to our success: Focus and Reimagining the future. We are extremely focused in leveraging current opportunities, but on the other side we are always looking for opportunities to stay future relevant. An example of reimagining the future is the way our business model has evolved and as a result, the share of our direct to consumer business has been increasing every year.

Given the fact that India is one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies: What does that mean for PUMA’s success in India now and in the future?

In my opinion, India has a burgeoning economy to its advantage. The future of the country is extremely positive. By 2030, India will be among the Top 3 GDP’s of the world and by 2025 the most populous country. The great thing is that sports culture is growing very fast. Also, Sportswear is becoming the go-to trend. Consumers style Sportswear for different occasions like for travel, in the office, on streets, colleges, hangouts and as evening wear, more than ever.

Given these, PUMA is in a great position as the leading brand. 26% market share with a strong brand image, sets us up for future opportunities.

How is PUMA India going to secure the no.1 position?

  • Focusing on our brand’s strengths.
  • Introducing new products continuously with focus on always staying interesting
  • Also looking ahead into the future and taking actions accordingly: I strongly believe what gets us here, won’t just keep us here.
  • Focus on people to be at the heart of our strategy and be the best company with regards to execution
  • Staying relevant and fresh as a brand is of paramount importance


What is your personal tip for others to be as successful as you and PUMA India are?

We are progressing fabulously as a company and in some of the more evolved markets in the world. I would just say that belief is key. We are an awesome brand and of late, we have been churning out some of the best products and great marketing stories. We in India believe that we have all the ammunition and intent to stay strong as a brand. We like to focus on what we have and make that strong rather than dwelling over what we don’t have.

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