The Speed of Culture: Leading Puma Into the Digital Age

Head of emerging marketing tech Ivan Dashkov on AR, digital goods and more

Leaders from Glossier, Shopify, Mastercard and more will take the stage at Brandweek to share what strategies set them apart and how they incorporate the most valued emerging trends. Register to join us this September 23–26 in Phoenix, Arizona.

In this episode of The Speed of Culture, host Matt Britton sits down with Ivan Dashkov, head of emerging marketing tech at Puma Group, to explore the evolving landscape of digital innovation in the fashion industry. They discuss the profound impacts of virtual and augmented reality, the rise of digital fashion and Puma’s exciting new partnership with Meta.

As the digital age reshapes how we interact with the world, the fashion industry stands at the forefront, integrating cutting-edge technologies to transform consumer experiences and product engagement.

This evolving digital landscape not only challenges traditional business models but also offers opportunities for brands to innovate and connect with their audience. Dashkov discusses how these technological advancements are influencing marketing strategies and consumer interactions in this dynamic field.

Dashkov is a visionary in the realm of digital marketing. Tasked with propelling the 75-year-old brand into contemporary digital arenas, he has successfully established Puma as a frontrunner in the digital asset space. His leadership has extended Puma’s reach into gaming and metaverse platforms, including Meta and Roblox.

His career began at the NBA, where he led groundbreaking digital and social initiatives, exploring then-nascent platforms such as Reddit, Vine and Snapchat. With a proven track record of innovative strategies and creative executions, Dashkov continues to drive Puma’s evolution at the intersection of technology and sports apparel.

Key takeaways:

00:01:02-00:01:23 The Future of VR and Its Impact on Marketing Dashkov discusses the growing importance of VR in marketing, particularly for brands like Puma. With the rise of headset sales and interest in augmented reality, Puma is positioning itself to take advantage of this trend by incorporating VR into its marketing strategies. Brands should consider how emerging technologies can be integrated into their marketing strategies to enhance consumer interaction and brand visibility​​.

00:09:17-00:10:28 Puma’s Innovative Partnership With Meta — Puma’s collaboration with Meta focuses on digital activations like the inclusion in Meta’s avatar store and a VR campaign in Germany, termed “the world’s smallest gym.” This partnership exemplifies how Puma uses strategic collaborations to enhance its digital presence and create unique customer experiences. Brands can learn from Puma’s approach by exploring partnerships that align with technological advances and marketing goals to enhance brand engagement in digital spaces​​.

00:11:01-00:11:42 Engaging Physical and Digital Spaces — The physical components of Puma’s VR activations, such as creating small, co-branded workout pods, are key. These initiatives not only promote the brand, but also bridge the gap between digital interaction and physical presence. For brands, it’s essential to blend digital and physical marketing strategies to create comprehensive experiences that resonate with modern consumers and utilize the strengths of both realms effectively​​.

00:22:13-00:22:35 Building a Team of Innovators — Dashkov reflects on the importance of assembling a team capable of pushing innovative boundaries. Brands should strive to foster a culture of innovation by recruiting and empowering individuals who are not only skilled but are also willing to explore and adopt new technologies and strategies​​.

00:22:40-00:22:48 Cultural Influence and Brand Evolution — Dashkov uses the mantra “forever faster” to describe Puma’s ethos of continuous innovation and adaptation. Brands should embrace change and look for opportunities to innovate, ensuring they remain relevant and engaging to their target audiences​​.