This new app from Puma was launched recently in Japan to help promote the launch of a new running shoe by the brand. On the face of it, this app could look like a late effort to go up against the hugely successful Nike+ app that was launched way back in 2006, or dismissed as just another fitness tracker app clogging up the App Store.
But the guys at Puma are smarter than that.
What lies behind this particular digital product extension is a bold and clever brand positioning. Where Nike+ is all about tracking your progress to meet fitness goals and maximise performance, Puma’s Run Navi is instead designed to harness people’s natural enjoyment of running and being outdoors. Along with the fitness goals people want to achieve, people also have an emotional connection to running. Puma wants to harness this non-performance aspect of exercise by aligning itself to the non-physical, ‘extra’ benefits of running through Run Navi. Essentially, this is Puma’s attempt to be the brand that owns enjoyable fitness experiences.
Run Navi is another great example of using a digital layer to add to the consumer experience and extend the benefits of a product. The best digital executions serve a purpose and tie into an overall brand or product strategy – you can’t just do something to be seen to be doing something. Run Navi is a great example of this, as clearly the app was carefully designed to do some heavy-lifting for the brand to achieve a particular positioning outcome. Run Navi wouldn’t have been downloaded 100,000 times in three weeks if it was created because someone stood up and said “Oh crap, Nike+ is killing it so we better do something too!”.
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