[Interview] Understanding Puma’s global voice on social media with Issac John, Head – Marketing

Social Samosa gets in conversation with Issac John, Head of Marketing, Puma – India to understand the nuances of aligning to a global brand voice, while adapting to various markets individually on social media.

Puma has had its own share of campaign controversies. What have been your learnings in terms of social media crisis management from them?

The key tool to handling a social media crisis is social listening. A brand needs to know who is speaking and what are they speaking about? We figure out whether they’re talking about a campaign, product or service. Understand the grievance and then respond. Having said that, we have a quick response system. Our agency makes sure that the turnaround time of reverting is quick.

Who is your digital agency?

We work with a very prominent digital agency. However, we are not keen on revealing the name as it then leads to poaching.

As a sports merchandising brand, what are the trends witnessed in the social media space?

One of the latest trends witnessed in the space is that users are now talking about their personal fitness regime. Five years ago no one speak about how many calories they burn in a day or how many kilometres did they jog.

Another, trend seen in the space is that people are now going beyond cricket. For instance, earlier there was not much talk around the opening of football match series. However, ISL received great online traction during the year.

How are you leveraging these trends?

To leverage the fitness trend, we have the Puma Urban Stampede. Through the initiative, we integrate online and offline, allowing consumers to participate in the fitness focussed campaign and speak about it online. We also have a property called, Ignite Your City run. We are on top of the fitness trend.

What does Puma stand for on social media? Please define your global voice

Our global voice is confident, joyful and brave. We don’t want to talk down the consumers; we want to talk to them. We also don’t want to talk about the brand by selling services or products on social media.

How much per cent of your total marketing mix is reserved for social media?

Almost 12 to 15 per cent of our marketing mix is reserved for social media.

Influencer marketing is the new bling in social media. What is Puma’s stand on it?

The key to efficient influencer marketing is engaging with relevant influencers. We interact with Girish Mallya to keep the conversations around our brand relevant.

Brands constantly leverage trends. What does Puma keep in mind to avoid force fits?

The best way to avoid force fits it to speak about relevant subjects. Talk to the consumer on topics that they want to discuss and not other way round.


A writer by Karma, grammar Nazi by heart and traveler by hope, Saloni loves to pen about anything under the sun. With six years of journalism experience under her kitty, Saloni has tried hands on various beats including – Social Media, e-commerce, Mobile, Indian radio, Advertising, Food and Travel. Writing for various national and international publications has given Saloni an understanding of the science of social media.