The brand, the brand, the brand: 8 highlights from Under Armour’s CEO at SXSW

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A highlight keynote session at this year’s SXSW Interactive festival came from Under Armour CEO and founder, Kevin Plank. Inevitably well versed in how to play the media machine, this was one of the smoothest talks about brand building and transformation you’ll have ever seen.

“We went from being a products company to an ideas company,” he said as one of his opening gambits, and the reason why he predicts the business will grow from a $4 billion one today, to $7.5 billion by 2018. Connected fitness is a significant part of making that happen too.

Here are eight other quotable quotes you need to know from the hour-long interview:

  • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Culture is everything. For us it’s the brand; the brand, the brand, the brand. No matter what we do it comes back to relying on the brand. And this begins with the founders; the core individuals who got our company going”
  • “Over promise and then deliver. We already slept yesterday. Today we work. It’s an attitude of saying we’re going to find a way. That attitude is extremely important for Under Armour”
  • “I like being defined as a performance company. It’s unlimiting. It’s an untethered approach to the way we’re seen”
  • “A brand is a story. It has a beginning, middle and an end. Every product we build is like a chapter, every athlete we sign and every interaction we have. All of them are a chapter in our brand story”
  • “Wherever we’re going is an evolution… we’re not limiting that to apparel or footwear, but to the idea that anywhere our logo shows up it has to be the best. It just has to be the best”
  • “Our belief is data is the new oil. You think it’s a coincidence Google or Amazon is who you’d bet on? 40% of their revenue is attributed to purchase history… The companies who will win are those using math.”
  • “I always have in red pen: ‘Don’t forget to sell shirts and shoes’. We take you up on the loop-de-loop but then take you out through the gift shop. It’s about not forgetting that we sell shirts and shoes”
  • “We’re in the first innings of this game. We are just getting going [with connected fitness]… Our aim is to give you something and make it so you couldn’t live without it after”