When Kevin Plank founded Under Armour, he focused on one product: a compression shirt for football players. Plank brought tenacity and vision to his work, transforming Under Armour from these humble beginnings into a $4 billion brand. In a recent profile of Plank, Inc. Magazine illuminated the unique leadership style that’s once again revolutionizing Under Armour. Here are three tips from Plank, the walk-on football player turned CEO:
Foster Entrepreneurial Spirit
Although Under Armour recently surpassed Adidas as the second-largest sportswear maker in the U.S., Kevin Plank stills thinks like an entrepreneur. Visitors to Under Armour’s Baltimore campus see the sentences, “Think like an entrepreneur. Create like an innovator. Perform like a teammate.” written along the walls of corporate headquarters. This entrepreneurial spirit keeps Under Armour agile and employees engaged.
Lead With Digital
Traditional retail companies often struggle to transition to digital, but Kevin Plank saw mobile applications as the clearest way to take the lead in the industry. Under Armour invested $1 billion acquiring three activity- and diet-tracking mobile apps. Plank believes that integrating personal data into clothing lines will underscore Under Armour’s mission to empower athletes — so far they have 150 million users.
After two of Under Armour’s digital acquisitions failed to turn a profit, Plank took time to persuade hesitant team members that their new direction was the best idea for the company. His insistence on reaching a long-term goal — to build an application that’s a “one-stop shop for your health” — is bringing the company into a new era.
As digital transformation becomes more relevant to enterprise company, executives would benefit assessing Plank’s strategy. Although sometimes controversial, his approach connects a traditional sector to emerging technologies to meet long-term goals.