In a previous post I detailed how Italian brand, Macron (not named after the new French President), has built its expanding success on creating bespoke kits for professional teams. In this post, BusinessOfSport.Net speaks further with Roberto Casolari, Sports Marketing Director at Macron, to talk about how the business is structured, its most important markets, its use of brand ambassadors and what the future holds.
Firstly, to understand Macron, you need to know that as a business is split into two specific divisions. This is much like most sports clothing brands, whereby one side of the business is purely commercial, an individual can buy a piece of apparel or a amateur team pays Macron to produce clothing. On the other side is sponsorship, whereby the brand seeks out new opportunities with teams across the world.
As Casolari explained: “The core business is teamwear sales, for amateur clubs and end consumers. In sports marketing [at the company] we get in touch with professional clubs, like football or rugby and we try to get a sponsorship there. By this sponsorship exposure we get visibility and we support our commercial team.”
Currently the commercial size of the business if worth 51% of sales, while team sponsorship is 46%. Most impressively is that sales now stand at €75 million, compared to €11 million in 2004, a 20% growth rate year on year.
The UK is of crucial importance to this growth.
“The company is growing in the UK overall. The UK is so important, again if you look at [our] sales. Overall sales, we think that Europe is our domestic market and the UK is our second biggest market.”
He continued: “It is a perfect fit for Macron as the market is very demanding and high profile.”
He cited the sponsorship of a number of teams in England as essential to their push into the UK market. “The numbers were fair and [it works] because of the geography. It is better for visibility, to have a team in London, one in north and one in midlands. This is better, than two clubs in London.”
The importance of the UK market has also seen the Italian brand create new clothing lines for very British sports.
“This year we started a collection for cricket, which wasn’t previously part of our offering. As the UK is a very important market, cricket was one sport we could cover for our commercial network in the UK.”
However, the brand isn’t standing still and made the decision to begin creating running apparel in 2015. Casolari explained how the decision came about.
“There were two main reasons. We have more than 100 worldwide Macron stores. [Secondly] running is also a fast growing market. The key to this market is using our main strengths in creating new quality, stylish, positioning Macron products.”
When asked if expansion into other sports was on the cards he said:
“In general, our range is good for all sports. We don’t do boxing, we don’t do MMA, but these people do need tracksuits [and we offer them].”
Finally, I asked if, with a French president boasting the same name as the brand if this had caused any difficulties. “For the benefit of our France stores, we did develop an ad campaign L’Equipe, but Macron is a sportswear brand after all.”
Given the brands massive rise in the past number of years, most people probably won’t be mixing the two up in future.