THE PUMA STORY – A BUSINESS FAIRY-TALE

Rolf-herbert Peters excellently chronicles the ups and downs of two of the most famous sports brands, Puma and Adidas, and how the near bankrupt Dassler family business was turned around by a visionary CEO. A book to be adopted as a rulebook for young entrepreneurs who start up almost in similar to the situations when Puma had almost no money.

The book begins with the Dassler family and how Adolf and Rudolf Dassler did business, together. It closely follows how the brothers went on to start their own businesses, Adidas and Puma. The business rivalry between the brands is made clear when the author explains how a machine was scrapped at Adidas, soon after it was at Puma. The brothers were on and endorsement war, getting on board the likes of Boris Becker, Pele, Diego Maradona, etc. It did give an edge to Puma over Adidas, but bled a lot of money. When Rudolf Dassler was done fighting with his brother, it was too late to realise that the company was in debt.

The author then elaborates on how the banks took over the brand and almost killed the already limping big cat. It was when the company was about to be bankrupt , that they brought in someone from Colgate. His name was Jochen Zeitz.

Zeitz was brought in as the head of marketing at Puma. He noticed that the company was not receptive to the much needed change, to even break even. He was determined to bring change. The superiors soon noticed it and the determination paid off. At a meeting with the stakeholders, he was asked if he could do it( be the CEO). And he agreed.

From then on, the brand underwent many changes. The licensing and other policies got revised. Production was shifted. Partnerships with designers were made. Extensive financial restructuring was done. An action plan was drawn to put the big cat on it heels, again. How Zeitz worked towards building Puma as a reputed brand rather than a company, is awesomely explained. He turns around the company from a loss making business to a popular and profitable one, well before the proposed end of the action plan.

The book ends with good times back at Puma. Zeitz is content at what Puma now is.

A book for every entrepreneur showing the ups and downs of entrepreneurial journey and how one of the most popular brands in the world, went from being almost bankrupt to profitable. It is a must read for young entrepreneurs who embrace the uncertainty of starting up a business, purely out of passion.

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