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How Macron became the first sports brand in Italy

What's behind the rise of a brand that is conquering the football market

How Macron became the first sports brand in Italy What's behind the rise of a brand that is conquering the football market

Among the brands that are making their way into one of the most competitive worlds of sport business there is an Italian excellence. Macron, for the fifth year in a row, is confirmed as the technical sponsor with the largest number of clubs in the Italian football league thanks to agreements with Bologna, Lazio, Udinese, Verona and Sampdoria. The Emilian company has experienced exponential growth over the last 10 years, with projects and ideas that have in fact changed the reputation and consideration of the brand. A growth that goes beyond national borders: Deportivo La Coruña, Club Brugge, Stoke City, Millwall, Real Sociedad, Stella Rossa are just some of the 21 teams that will wear Macron at European level, as well as national teams such as Belarus, Andorra, San Marino and Albania. They are not top-tier clubs and federations, but the strong bond with the local community is enough for Macron to build something interesting.

The "Club licensing benchmarking report: financial year 2019" published by UEFA in the first months of 2020 confirms the rise of the brand from Bologna which is positioned behind the giants Nike and adidas worldwide, with a market share of 10%. To reach such a significant slice, Macron followed a different approach than the big competitor brands, looking at the fashion football scene from a different perspective: when everyone proposed the lifestyle off the pitch, the Italian brand remained faithful to its DNA, continuing to produce only products designed and created for sport.

It is precisely the strategic approach that is very distant from the mainstream, from the choices that Nike and adidas make to establish themselves or that PUMA puts in place to earn a place among the main "sisters" of technical sponsorships. If on the one hand Beaverton and Herzogenaurach focus on a lifestyle approach, energy and resources are dedicated to campaigns that follow the trend of the football shirt outside the sporting context, on the other hand there are those who attack the market differently, preferring an approach more performance and technician with strategies and objectives that seem to go against the trend.

Macron, unlike the many brands that in recent years have tried to worry the duopoly of Nike and adidas (for info ask New Balance), has very clear and precise ideas. The more than 250 football clients - including clubs, federations and organizations from 59 different countries - are indeed a symptom of great health, but also synonymous with a winning approach and strategy. Betting everything on the performance aspects is a conscious choice, even if this means giving up a patina of visibility and fashion that often attracts the largest slice of this market. Also in terms of coordinated image, Macron has always preferred to leave the management of the image of the shirts to the clubs, relegating the coordinated image of the brand itself to the background. Even the choice of not having individual faces - no player is the testimonial of the brand - but only and exclusively the teams goes in this precise direction.

Even from a purely stylistic point of view, Macron productions always lack that aesthetic component to make a good good uniform a super uniform. The Napoli camouflage shirt, the Lazio flag shirt for the 2014/15 season, the Real Sociedad third shirt from 2019-20, the Bologna 2018/19 third kit or the Sporting Lisbon away shirt for next season are the only ones Macron's attempts at courage, the only examples of breaking a pattern and an overly basic design idea.

Macron's strategies are not so far from those of the big brands of the outdoor fashion industry. Salewa, Arc'teryx and Patagonia are three brands that have never walked the path of the mainstream - the one that takes the performance product out of the sporting context - showing the world an integrity that other companies do not have or that they have strategically put aside. A relative weakness has turned into a strength. A path that Macron knows well, who consciously renounces a more fashion approach to get a grip on clubs and provide them with the best possible performance product.

An action plan that can convince or not, that can be shared or not in a world that tends to bring together parallel universes and make distant worlds communicate, but the numbers remain, the great results of Italian excellence remain and above all, it remains the winning strategy of one of the rising brands.