Have you visited a Lululemon store – or did you do so in pre-pandemic time when we felt free to go where and when we wanted? If so you may recall having something of a red carpet experience. There, you’re a guest treated to personalized service not by sales staff but attentive, knowledgeable ‘educators’… even personal shoppers. Clearly, this is not for everyone. But then, Lululemon is very clear – they don’t want to cater to everyone. And therein lies the success of this brand!
Buying is instinctual, brand loyalty is emotional.
Let’s take shoes. Sneakers can be trendy, comfy and supportive, and can even help improve performance because of the technical enhancements that constantly go into creating better sports shoes. Needless to say, a lot of companies such as Reebok, Adidas, and Nike are doing R&D into making better sneakers. Lots of companies such as Skechers or Fila or even Dior and Prada concentrate on creating really good-looking sneakers as well. So why do people pick one particular brand and then buy numerous pairs of that brand? Why does someone have, say, three hundred Nike shoes?
Is it Michael Jordan? Is it the way that the shoes fit and feel? Is it the way that the person feels – trendy, sporty – wearing that distinctive Nike brand logo? Do they just like being associated with that ‘just do it’ attitude? Is it that those Air Jordans really help to improve performance and timings? It could be all of those things; it could be just one of those things. It is emotional. In fact, it may not even be logical or rational. Why does that guy want 300 pairs of Nike shoes?
Why your brand doesn’t need to be all things to all people.
As I explain in the video above, finding and catering to your customers in the market is like aiming at a dartboard. Do you aim for your dart to land anywhere on the board or just the bullseye? Coming back to the Lululemon brand, this was a standalone store in 2000. In just 15 years this had grown to 350 locations, making this the fastest-growing brand of athletic wear. That cultish following of the company is despite the fact that its product price point is much higher than that of other comparable brands. So what gives?
The fact is, Lululemon offers not just a product, but a whole experience. This is aimed at the discerning buyer who is health and fitness conscious, and who enjoys belonging to a community of like-minded people. As importantly, this is a person who doesn’t mind paying for it. This is about that health nut who, after spin class pops into their fave Lululemon store just to check out what’s new.
So Lululemon isn’t trying to appeal to all the people who work out, only a specific segment among them. And they do it so well that their ideal audience doesn’t mind paying more for that ‘red carpet experience’. So, they actually created a niche for themselves in a seemingly saturated and crowded athleisure space. They carved out a Blue Ocean market for themselves within the existing Red Ocean by catering not to the entire market space, but to a specific mindset within that market space.
As we have seen with so many successful brands, it is all about finding and tapping into a whole new market for products. It is about tapping into the mindset of a part of the population inside that marketplace that hasn’t been tapped into yet. Your brand can do this too! Check out this episode of Inspiration to Millions to find out how you can stop chasing customers and start attracting them to the presence of your brand.