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Macron's strategy to become the best brand in Europe

It has been the leading sports brand in Italy for years and there must be a reason for this

Macron's strategy to become the best brand in Europe It has been the leading sports brand in Italy for years and there must be a reason for this

If there is one brand that has climbed position after position in recent years, until it quietly and unexpectedly arrives in the European top three, that brand is certainly Macron. The figures speak for themselves: according to the "Club licensing benchmarking report" financial year 2019, published by UEFA at the beginning of 2020, Macron is the third most important brand, just behind the giants Nike and adidas, with a market share of 10%. A surprising result for a brand that in recent years has had the merit of breaking the hegemony of adidas and becoming the official supplier of referee uniforms for all UEFA competitions, an action that will not have a huge economic return but will certainly have an image. Despite the pandemic, Macron has opened a new, sustainable 55,000 square metre headquarters near Bologna, the full expression of its new 'green' philosophy 'Macron 4 The Planet'. Over the years, the brand has followed a very different strategy to its current competitors, focusing more on smaller clubs, avoiding sponsorship of individual athletes and diversifying its investments in various sports in addition to football.

The particularity of the Emilia-based brand's roster is the type of teams: most are medium or small clubs that cannot aspire to an elite contract with a big brand, but neither do they want to settle for a basic supply. The most obvious example is Verona, who during their sponsorship with Nike only wore standard template models for years. But Verona is just the latest addition to a long list of clubs that have been snapped up by PUMA, adidas and Nike in recent years, including Levante, Cadiz, Reading, Nottingham Forest and Blackburn to name but a few. If until last season there wasn't much experimentalism in Macron's patterns, from this season the approach seems to have changed and the new jerseys presented are proof of that. Patterns and textures inspired by architecture, like the Bologna shirt, a tribute to the city and its symbols: the Two Towers and the bricks. From this year all kits are made of Eco-Softlock fabric, made from recycled plastic, as pointed out in Lazio's revised presentation. 

Macron, unlike the many brands that have tried to challenge the duopoly of Nike and adidas in recent years, such as New Balance and PUMA, has renounced lifestyle products and great testimonials, focusing exclusively on performance. Unlike PUMA and New Balance, the Italian brand has never tried to wrest big athletes from the competition (see Neymar or Sterling who moved from Nike to PUMA and New Balance) a move consistent with the company's core business. Representing themselves autonomously is something that the big sports brands have already been doing radically in recent years, slowly moving away from the figure of the testimonial and focusing more on the collective. This is a key that has helped Macron, as can already be seen, to expand in terms of contacts and territory but not in terms of status, doing perhaps too little to improve positioning and reputation.

Rewinding and going back in time, only jerseys such as Napoli's camo jersey, Lazio's flagship jersey from the 2014-15 season or the total black jersey from the following season, Real Sociedad's third jersey from 2019-20, Bologna's third kit from 2018/19 or Sporting Lisbon's away jersey from this season represent the only brave attempts to break a pattern that has so far always remained monotonous and a design idea that is far too basic. Courageous attempts but which have not always achieved the desired or at least sought-after popularity. This year, even though the brand has not changed its philosophy, it seems to have embarked on a new path starting with the first jerseys, breaking away from the anonymity that hovers around the symbol that identifies Macron, linking up with various trends such as the architectural one launched by PUMA Football a few years ago with the third Italy jersey, inspired by the Renaissance movement. Like the Verona shirt this year dedicated to Dante Alighieri, which demonstrates the transversal nature of the brand, capable of keeping up with the times and venturing into other areas that are not strictly footballing without at the same time distorting the image of the club. 

A plan of action that may or may not be convincing, but Macron is one of the Italian excellences in sportswear and this year confirms once again that it is the tech brand with the largest number of clubs in the top Italian league. A new rise that bodes well, hoping that the textures and designs we've seen so far are just an appetizer for something much bigger.