Youthful stars shape Cobra-Puma’s identity

Alexis Thompson made her professional debut at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

It always helps to know who you are.

A sense of identity is critical to an individual’s well being – and perhaps, even more so for a company’s brand.

The signing of promising phenom Alexis “Lexi” Thompson by Cobra (and merger partner Puma Golf) is another indication that the equipment maker fully grasps what it wants to be: A brand for a new generation of dynamic and energetic golfers.

Cobra took on that personality with the recruitment of players such as Ian Poulter and Camilo Villegas, and enhanced it when it merged with Puma, which had signed another young standout, Rickie Fowler, to an apparel deal.

Akin to an NBA team that has created a nucleus of stellar young talent, Cobra and Puma are assembling a tour staff that soon could be the envy of many. Their recruiting strategy also includes key international picks; Cobra’s team includes Villegas (Colombia) and Poulter (England), and Puma has apparel deals with Johan Edfors and Anna Nordqvist (both of Sweden).

Such selections parallel Cobra and Puma’s goal to become a more global brand. Indeed, according to Bob Philion, president of Cobra-Puma Golf, one major reason for the merger was to enable Cobra and Puma to capitalize on each other’s geographic strengths. For example, Puma intends to capitalize on Cobra’s U.S. distribution, and Cobra plans to piggy-back on Puma’s popularity in Japan.

For Cobra, in particular, its clear brand focus has been a long-time coming. In the aftermath of the company’s hey-day with endorser Greg Norman, Cobra endured a stretch when it suffered a case of schizophrenia. The company developed multiple personalities chasing a different group of consumers seemingly every year, including Gen-Xers, women and seniors.

Its pairing with Thompson signals Cobra has found itself again.

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