Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Only Thing Better Than Yoga Babes: Yoga Branding


Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...this post just spoke to me.  I don't even know if the points I will make would be worth the 0s and 1s it takes to type this, but there are two things that got me excited tonight.  They include:
  1. Chattarunga
  2. Branding
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, let's combine two things of awesomeness; things that make you well and things that make you money.  That is the best thing I heard all day since I found out it was supposed to be 80 degrees in Oregon on Monday.  In April.  Thank you global warming.  This is truly a day of the possimble.

For the record; yoga babes count too.  I just don't think anybody would read the rest of my post of it was listed.

Tonight's post inspiration comes from Fast Company's article on the rise and Harley Davidson-esque cult following of the one and only Lululemon.  I'm not going to lie; I think Harley Davidson is a little cooler.  And more dangerous.  And probably less healthy.  Hold up...scratch that.  I'll stick with yoga.  I don't look good in leather pants and I don't look good with road rash.  Then again, I don't look good in capris.  And I have tan lines if I go shirtless in yoga class.  Darn.  I'm going to stick to video games.

Since Lululemon started in 1998, it has grown from one tiny yoga apparel store to 100 storefronts, $340 million in revenue, and triple the sales per square foot compared to retailers like J. Crew and Abercrombie.  Although the revenues aren't on par with the Nikes and other athletic apparel companies of the world, it's still worth noting a tiny storefront puts up huge numbers and has a cult following similar to a yogi Michael Jordan doing a one-handed handstand at the yoga All-Star Pose-off.

I first heard of Lululemon on a trip to Seattle a few months ago.  A family friend said his daughter now worked for them, attended yoga classes as an ambassador as a relational marketer, made practically nothing, and lived in the trendiest part of Seattle.  Is that Gen Y or what??

What makes Lululemon so delicious?  I could pun and say its the flexibility of the organization or the raw peace of nirvana, but that would be a lie (and truthfulness is one of the eight pillars/limbs of yoga).  Then again, I'd probably be lying if they didn't follow at least a few pillars of yoga on their way to success.  If Gen Y holds up its end of the bargain (and why wouldn't we?  If we fail we'll just blame it on our parents), Lululemon should keep on its rise to the top.  I'll highlight some of the key points I love about Lululemon below:
  1. Recruiting influencers: Lululemon targets hot gyms and great instructors to increase brand authenticity and spread the word about its products.  At a grass roots level, you see very few companies that have done this as well as Lululemon.  As a bonus to the instructors, the portraits they throw up on the walls of the storefront increase loyalty and develop mutually beneficial relationships between influencers and the company itself.
  2. Finding great inspiration: First and foremost, Lululemon and its employees believe in what it stands for.  Second, they didn't care where they got it.  Just because you take inspiration from cults or psychological mumbo jumbo to create a company culture doesn't make you evil; it makes you smart for using the addictive techniques of Jim Jones and the like to create jobs, improve health, and impact communities.  I can't lie; I believe criminals are the most creative and best entrepreneurs in the world today.
  3. Hiring people who "drink the Kool-Aid": This doesn't mean hiring people who eat, breathe, and sleep yoga.  For Lululemon, it means hiring people who help drive its business AND believe in the message.  By hiring people who believe in the message, you create a motivated, dedicated, and loyal workforce.  Oh; did I mention they'll work for practically nothing?
Gen Y, eat your hearts out; this is the brand of our futures.  Health, wellness, goal actualization, achievement, and expensive product.  Oh wow.  Did I just raise the limit on my credit card?

That's all I've got for tonight; I'm going to throw on my manpris and go do some crow push ups.


- Mama said knock you out -  

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Great post Phil! I found out about lululemon while doing market research at Nike in 2005 - the're clothes are comfy cozy too. So behind the brand there are products that people love. And their ad campaigns are pretty sick. Have you seen the yoga bus?

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