Scrolling through a steady stream of sunset photos, puppies with children, and last Saturday’s party snaps, Instagram leaves room for little in between. Until you come across a @lululemon post – simple, effective and inspiring, it makes working out look like…fun!
Technical run and yoga clothing manufacturer and retailer Lululemon Athletica has placed their core value of serving the community at the centre of their marketing strategy, by taking local athletic patrons and turning them into heroic social media icons, inspiring millions to get up, get fit and feel good about themselves.
I pause in front of a candid photo of @jackson_faith, one of the Lululemon ‘brand ambassadors’, balancing on a kettlebell weight. Her face is etched in concentration as the caption reads: “Replace the word ‘try’ with ‘I will’”. In a world where we have become immune to and uninspired by airbrushed photos of models with perfectly sculpted bodies, I find myself believing in her, I am empowered by her strength and delighted that she looks like people I actually know and can identify with. Lululemon is bringing a strong sense of realism to their philosophy of improving body and mind through exercise, and thus are able to connect, engage and foster an unprecedented level of trust with their audience.
Lululemon ambassadors are athletic leaders who share the brand’s passion and dedication for elevating the level of health and fitness in our communities.
Ms. Lindsay Udell – Head of PR, Lululemon Aus/NZ
They reflect the brand’s culture, share their core values and test their products to the limits. Having such committed people on board means Lululemon is never short of incredible feedback that motivates them to create the best product possible for athletes and yogis.
The ambassador program itself – Lindsay continues – exists as a way to celebrate and promote these amazing people. Our stores select their own ambassadors from their local community and work with them to host complimentary in-store classes, including yoga and running groups.
Ambassadors are one of the main contributing factors to the enhancement of Lululemon’s credibility as a leading voice in the fitness arena. Currently there are 302 stores worldwide, each with 2-4 ambassadors at any one time – that’s a lot of reps!
Bellow Lindsay explains more about this successful model.
So what characteristics make a great Lululemon ambassador?
It’s all about finding the right people being those athletic leaders in the community who share our core values of quality, product, integrity, balance, entrepreneurship, greatness and fun.
Authenticity is key and sometimes these characteristics can be difficult to scout out. What are the potential difficulties of implementing the ambassador program?
It’s important to us that the relationship works for both parties. Being part of the ambassador program should be something they want and that something that will support their visions and goals as a professional. I compare searching for ambassadors to making friends. Sometimes they walk into the store, introduce themselves to the store team and a relationship flourishes from there. Other times, an educator from one of our stores happens to take their class or do a session with them, think they are incredible, introduce themselves, and invite them in-store to start building a relationship with the entire team. Our ambassador relationships grows from true authentic connection between an athletic leader in the community and a local store team.
Perhaps the success of this program also lies in ambassadors promoting our brand on their social media channels. Multi-platform posts have been instrumental in the way the company communicates with the audience at large, and in the way the ambassador gets exposure as a fitness leader.
Finally, tell us about a memorable moment with one of your brand ambassadors. Why is this so special?
The best part is seeing the look of excitement on an ambassador’s face when they see their poster go up in store, when they see themselves up on our website, or when you show them a full page ad featuring them. The moment when they realize that they truly are our local hero.
Local heroes are all around, talent is around the corner, and thanks to a community-driven approach Lululemon has managed to champion these individuals and penetrate a market that thrives on quality, information and inspiration.