The Vancouver born company has at its core… A CORE!
Early this year I stated that two companies were forcing the male dominated sportswear market to adjust and do a better job. In that post I explained that lululemon and Victoria’s Secret were,
“making sportswear pay attention. Women have been overlooked in the sports marketing arena. In the last few years it’s become important to pay attention to that market as women are actually moving the trend of fitness from solitary training to group related activities.”
The quote derived from the very close attention adidas has been giving women’s sports. From Stella McCartney to Avenue A the brand has been doing a very good job of targeting women utilizing subscription boxes and campaigns. This isn’t about adidas. It’s about lululemon who took a beating during the first quarter this year, but bounced back during the second when every brand (except adidas) took a beatdown.
What happened with lululemon? Why was the brand able to correct itself so quickly. I’ve been screaming that people relying on data for fashion and trends can only see the past. Sportswear, like high fashion, or any fashion industry, is built on the moment and emotion. As important as data is, any person with the numbers can tell that something isn’t selling. In order for companies to adapt to this new retail environment a detailed look at how to exist and maintain customer loyalty has to revolve around marketing. I could get into details about sportswear and marketing, but I will say this Nike used to state directly that they were a marketing company. In the last few years Nike became lazy in reaching its customer (that’s another story). I’ve been explaining how adidas is acquiring customers consistently on this site. Just use the search bar.
Unfortunately I haven’t been doing the same coverage for lululemon except in passing as you can read in the article above. This disrespect is the same that has been shown by the male dominated sports market.
On to the question, “Why is lululemon winning?” The answer can be seen in the last three months. We have to analyze the last three months because until this point lululemon was acting like the “big boys” in acquiring customers.
The company didn’t have to work as hard at its marketing and generation of content. lululemon used synecdoche. The brand was yoga, and yoga was the brand. It’s a similar integration that Nike used to become synonymous with traditional sports. With such a close alignment with a growing movement all they had to do was post pictures of influencers and maintain a connection to yoga and they could sell stuff. As the casual athletic movement grew and any brand that could make sportswear made it, the area became cluttered. Finding your customer becomes more difficult when people can go to Marshalls and find sportswear for a fraction of the cost.
In this last quarter Q2 2017, the company looked to adidas and reinvented its marketing and social approach. They launched campaigns. A quick look at every aspect of their social media and their website and you will see a huge spike in video. Video is the medium of marketing for today’s customer. Along with their video campaigns they crafted slogans and then followed those slogans up with content that supported the movement. The “This is Yoga” campaign was launched at the end of the 1st quarter and shows that lululemon pulled a card from adidas’ book of marketing. They didn’t use traditional models and images. They crafted a narrative and then on social they took the time to respond to their followers directly. Below is an exchange from their Facebook page: