Billionaire Under Armour founder Kevin Plank aims for nothing less than having his company become the US leader in sports apparel and equipment.
Under Armour is expected to report another successful year, with $3.91 billion in estimated 2015 revenue, up 27% from 2014, and $408 million in profit, up 15%, according to the Motley Fool.
But it was a lesson he learned when he was at the absolute bottom, with a product prototype and not a dime to his name, that has helped drive him through any hurdle.
Plank launched Under Armour with its flagship synthetic fiber athletic shirt in 1996 with his $16,000 in life savings. After he and his friend, and now Under Armour CMO, Kip Fulks found some collegiate customers, he partnered with a textile source and manufacturer to get the business going.
Plank soon found himself with $3,500 to his name and $6,000 of bills that needed to be paid. In what seemed like a good idea at the time, he took all but $100 out of the bank and headed over to Atlantic City to gamble. He lost every cent.
Plank found himself on his way home to Maryland from Atlantic City, stopped at the toll booth of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, begging for mercy from the toll operator. “It was the single worst moment of my life, having to face that poor toll booth operator, waiting for her two dollars,” he told “Shark Tank” investor Daymond John for Johns’ new book “The Power of Broke.”
“I was so broke, I couldn’t even check for loose change in the ashtray, in the seat cushions,” Plank said.
He told John that he couldn’t keep himself from crying. The whole experience stands out in his memory, however, because of what happened next.
A day after his blackjack trip, Plank dropped by his mom’s house for dinner. He told her the business was going great, but he was thinking that he’d just made the biggest mistake of his life.
After eating, he went to the post office to check the P.O. box he was using for Under Armour, and inside was a $7,500 check from the Georgia Institute of Technology — the athletic director had owed him the payment for awhile, but Plank didn’t expect to get it in time to cover his own bills.
As he told Men’s Journal about the moment in 2013, “That was the last time I doubted the company.” He told himself, “Wipe the tears away, stand up, be a man, run your business, find a way.”
It taught him two fundamental lessons that he continues to pass onto new entrepreneurs: Don’t blame forces outside of your control for misfortune, and tough it out in the early days rather than taking on investments and giving away equity.
He’s taken his optimistic view to Under Armour’s global team, as well. “Everywhere you go, you hear people talk about how the world is falling apart,” he told John. “Everybody is an expert. But at Under Armour, I want people to control what they can control. Leave the pontificating to everyone else. Leave all that negative talk to everyone else.”
Now here we go how Under-Armour Disrupt the sport Apparel Industry
Under Armour, founded in 1996 and projected to do more than $2B in sales this year, likes to do things differently. Recently, I chronicled the very original Under Armour storytailing concept in Shanghai, where it’s more story than store. I wasn’t able to find out how many stores Under Armour (UA) has in Japan (their store locator curiously omits Japan – see right), but in their flagship store in Shibuya, Tokyo, Under Armour has a storefront that stands out from a crowded crowd.
The storefront is black and matt. Inside, the store is on several levels. The environment is true to the brand (predominantly a masculine audience and range).
On the ground floor, they have installed an interactive kiosk. Not exactly mind blowing, but it features a flat top screen where you can program the videos you would like to see projected on the large screen hanging above.
The interface has decent functionality and you can reasonably easily flip through the other options. The films are all rather much of a sameness as far as I was concerned. The store did not propose wifi (shame) and none of the staff saw fit to engage with me as I fiddled with the screen (missed opportunity, notwithstanding my poor Japanese!). The other missed opportunity: to capture my data (opt in, of course).
GETTING DIGITAIL RIGHT
While I obviously cannot judge how successful this store is, there was a decent size crowd of shoppers (browsers?). Getting digital in retail (“digitail”) right is not an easy feat. Questions that need to be considered: (You can click to tweet out the recommendations you feel most pertinent with the accompanying link!)
- What purpose will the digital interface serve? i.e. why? Ensure a tight link between the digital activity and the brand’s business objectives.
- How will its performance be measured? (Quantitative and qualitative metrics)
- What content will be provided or created over the lifespan of the project? Consider the editorial calendar and frequency of update.
- How should the in-store staff be briefed / trained to leverage it?
- Where should the digital space / device be located in the store?
- How will bugs be dealt with when (not if) they occur?
Clearly, digital in retail is an evolving space. Too often, the activity is gimmicky or promotional in nature. Ultimately, I have no doubt that there will be some great opportunities for those brands and retailers which get it right. This post’s ambition is just to get the ball started in the right direction.
Now it’s real tactics that every retail business could learn to boost their customer in-store experience ( Utilize of LED Display and DIgital Signage)
As part of that brand experience, activate The Space created five distinct digital design elements for the Brand House:
1) Five-sided suspended LED cube – The five-sided LED structure was built with custom-made LED modules allowing for less than 3 mm on its edges, making it nearly on all five sides, according to Activate The Space. The Cube is suspended from the ceiling over the escalators approximately 24 feet from the first floor, and features 725 square feet of surface area.
2) 30-foot diameter LED ceiling structure – The 30-foot diameter ceiling structure LED also was made with custom LED modules. The LED Ceiling is suspended from the ceiling over the first-floor rotunda 50 feet in the air, and it features a 706-square-foot surface, a 30-foot diameter and a 94-foot circumference.
3) 30-foot diameter ring structure LED – The 30-foot ring structure LED, also of custom-made LED modules, is suspended between the floors in the entrance rotunda. The 94-foot in circumference display features 366 square feet of surface.
4) Optojump Interactive Experience – Activate The Space developed custom software to interpret the light sensors built into the Optojump to measure and display the height a person jumps, according to the company. It allows shoppers to register their score and receive an email about their experience, and the custom software was integrated with Activate The Space’s ~sedna presenter CMS. The firm provided all of the systems required, including a 46-inch 3M touchscreen display, an Apple Mac mini and the custom software.
5) Under Armour Record Kiosks – Activate The Space said it integrated ~sedna presenter onto Mac minis to retrieve screen data and run attraction loops from mobile devices running the UA Record app.
If you would like to examine the benefits of digital signage and LED display to your business and the specific metrics you can use to calculate the potential return on investment digital signage offers, contact us at below:
Can you think of any more reasons as to why you will benefit from digital signage?
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