Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank’s Top 8 Quotes
Kevin Plank, famed founder of Under Armour, has always been happy to talk about his experience with entrepreneurship, his own work ethic, and how he sees the business world. That has led to a wealth of Plank quotes, and some are quite insightful. Below, we’ve rounded up several of our favorites, and just why business leaders should keep them in mind today.
“It begins with one entrepreneur and one idea and their ability to communicate and their ability to build a great team.”
It’s important to remember that leading a business doesn’t happen unless you start trying. Entrepreneurs that are working on their first venture are often worried that they aren’t good leads or won’t be able to make effective business decisions. But to succeed, you have to take the idea that you love and build on it. You have to be willing to make some mistakes and learn while doing things – that’s part of what it means to build a team and create a successful business.
“When you see most companies get big, they want to shout about all they’ve done. But the consumer wants to know: ‘What have you done for me lately?’”
Good brands begin by treating customers right, and don’t forget it for as long as they last. A key aspect of that is empathy for the customer. People interested in your products won’t know what’s going on inside your business. They won’t hear you talking to your team. They won’t hear what you said to the last customer, or the next customer. Their only experience is what you tell them directly through brand content, and what they think of your products and services.
This is why it’s so important to understand that your brand is about experience, about product quality, about customer service – and everything else you do. Kevin Plank has some more excellent quotes about this concept that we’ll dig into below.
“Brand is not a product, that’s for sure. It’s not one item. It’s an idea, it’s a theory, it’s a meaning, it’s how you carry yourself.”
Leaders who understand this concept will understand how to speak to customers, and how to make the right marketing decisions. It’s also important to note that this definition of branding is relatively new, and one of the ways Plank was ahead of his time. Over the years, the idea of a business “brand” has become more and more inclusive, branching out from including just marketing content to including everything that a business is and does. Leaders are brand managers – they don’t have a choice. But that also creates lots of opportunities.
“Great brands are like great stories…our job is to make sure that every chapter of our stories makes sense…”
It’s also important for leaders to understand that there are two visions at work in a company – there’s how the company sees itself, and how customers see the company. When these two visions align – when the company understands the story it’s telling and the response to it – then leaders can make effective decisions. When the two visions don’t agree, when customers have a different concept of the company than how the company views itself, then businesses will make poor decisions. Tell your brand story, but also study customer reactions and opinions!
“I wake up in the morning and I think about one brand. I don’t have enough time to wake up twice and think about two.
Don’t spread yourself too thin! Focus on the business that you are trying to grow. Don’t get distracted by side ideas and “solutions” that sound good but keep you from managing the core of your business. When in doubt, practice your delegation so that you can continue to focus on what’s important.
“The companies that win are the ones that communicate best.”
The great thing about business communication is that improving it in one area tends to improve communication in other areas as well. Remember, as a leader you are giving cues on how you want your team to communicate. This in turn affects how your team will communicate with customers. If you work on your communication skills, your entire brand will benefit – and you’ll be able to manage your team more effectively. So don’t forget to set expectations about clear, thoughtful communication throughout the company.
I end every meeting the same – this is what I heard, this is what I think, and here’s what we’re going to do.”
Always remember that your team needs direction, not just platitudes. A meeting is only effective if it ends with clear direction, a plan of action, a timeline, and everyone knowing their roles. If a meeting can’t end like that, then it’s a waste of time. As the leader, it’s your job to give meetings meaning.
“Motivation, passion, and focus have to come from the top.”
There’s really not much more that needs to be said about this quote, which makes it an excellent way to end. Leaders don’t just put together teams and make decisions. They offer an example with everything they do about how the company should work.
Read More: Under Armour’s Startup Story