How The Lululemon Brand Became Iconic In Athletic Wear
Think of the names of five popular athletic wear brands. Did Lululemon make it to your list? Then you’re not alone. After all, Lululemon has established itself as a go-to brand in a fiercely competitive market within a short time.
In fact, in the U.S. market, the Lululemon brand awareness is at 52%. This has been possible because, beyond just apparel, Lululemon embodies a lifestyle centered around wellness, mindfulness, and a sense of community. With its unique blend of fashion and functionality, Lululemon has become an iconic name in the world of athletic wear.
So, if you are looking for some branding insights, the evolution of the Lululemon brand is definitely a great source of inspiration. Join us as we explore the many marketing campaigns and strategies that the brand uses, the design formats, the advertising platforms, and other little details that have helped the brand reach where it is today.
- 10 Marketing ideas to steal from the Lululemon brand
- 1. Staying true to its origins
- 2. Lululemon’s unique influencer approach
- 3. It takes community building seriously
- 4. Always on the mark with topical marketing
- 5. Give your customers a backstage pass
- 6. Taking video marketing seriously
- 7. Never afraid to take a stand
- 8. Incorporating inclusivity
- 9. Tackling competition like a pro
- 10. The importance of an omnichannel presence
- Inspired by the Lululemon brand – revolutionize your brand’s visual storytelling with KIMP
10 Marketing ideas to steal from the Lululemon brand
1. Staying true to its origins
Did you know that Lululemon once started out as a yoga studio? From there, the brand has steadily grown and now stands as one of the most popular multinational athleisure companies. However, the brand’s commitment to fitness remains unwavering. From focusing on the many faces of fitness to working with fitness ambassadors, the brand does everything on-theme.
Additionally, during COVID when the idea of home workouts started gaining popularity, Lululemon acquired Mirror, a fitness startup known for its interactive workout mirrors. With this, the Lululemon brand was no more just about athletic wear but also about home workouts and fitness training. This is yet another way in which the brand stays true to its origins.
Preserving your brand’s origins and telling your brand’s story have two main benefits.
- It helps customers understand your brand and appreciate it a little more.
- It helps build credibility through the consistency you display.
Brand storytelling works better when you incorporate visuals to deliver the message. These can be static image carousels or videos that give customers an overview of the journey so far.
So, remember to use your social media space and other marketing platforms to let your customers know about critical brand milestones that have shaped your brand.
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2. Lululemon’s unique influencer approach
While most global brands work with well-known celebrities in their respective niches, Lululemon takes a refreshing approach. Here are a few things that Lululemon does differently:
- It works with micro-influencers. While people love seeing their favorite celebrity in ads, nearly 82% of consumers are more likely to connect with and engage with a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers tend to be more authentically connected to the relatively smaller following. Consequently, the trust factor is stronger, increasing the chances of conversion.
- Lululemon keeps it real. The brand is particular about choosing brand ambassadors whose values align with its own. By doing this, it maintains authenticity in these influencer collaborations.
Take the brand’s collaboration with Nick Foles for example. American football quarterback, Nick Foles is a free agent. Not your regular celebrity sports figure with millions of followers on social media. Yet, he has a very authentic presence and actively engages with his fans. These are the kinds of authentic influencers Lululemon works with.
Anyone else feel the tension in the air or is that just me? This isn’t that news. But it’s big news. I’m @lululemonmen’s new elite ambassador. Like me, they’re all about community, mindfulness and #thesweatlife. Excited for what’s ahead. Stay tuned for that other announcement. pic.twitter.com/XYUT0xDMNf— Nick Foles (@NickFoles) March 11, 2019
When choosing whom to collaborate with, choose someone whom your target audience trusts and connects with easily. Ideally, these individuals should perfectly fit the description of your target customer persona. This makes it easier to get your message across to your audience. Keep this in mind when selecting people to feature in your brand videos and influencers to work with.
3. It takes community building seriously
Take a look at any customer post that talks about Lululemon products or brand experiences. They all feel like they come from like-minded individuals happily sharing their stories with those in their community. This unified representation of the brand by its customers comes from years of consistent community-building efforts.
As we discussed just now, one way in which Lululemon strengthens its community is by working with local ambassadors who are the heart and soul of their communities. These influencers do not just promote the brand’s products on social media but also host running groups, conduct yoga classes, organize wellness workshops, etc. With this buying into the Lululemon brand feels like joining a community of fitness enthusiasts.
Let’s not forget about the incredible events that Lululemon hosts to foster its community spirit. Take the Sweatlife Festival for example. Hosted in different locations, this event is something that fitness enthusiasts around the world look out for.
Additionally, the social media mentions and media coverage these events attract help expand the community steadily.
4. Always on the mark with topical marketing
Topical marketing is an underrated strategy in the world of marketing. Talking about what everyone is talking about is one of the easiest ways to fit in, be seen, and be heard on social media. Topical marketing gives you that advantage. Lululemon knows this well and never misses a chance to strike up conversations with its customers.
Mother’s Day discounts, Yoga Day events, you name them – Lululemon has them. So, when there is an International holiday or even a social media holiday that most people love discussing, Lululemon comes up with the most creative ways to engage in the conversation.
For example, Lululemon recently announced its new running initiative called FURTER. This is a multi-day running marathon where the brand’s ambassadors are to push their limits and possibly break records. The idea here is more than just a week-long event. The brand is also reportedly working on conducting research on the unmet needs of women.
The genuine interest that the brand has shown and the work that has been initiated in the background have already earned a lot of media coverage for the Lululemon brand.
Another inspiring topical marketing campaign from Lululemon is its Earth Day initiative of bringing plant-based nylon. The brand announced the same on its social media page with a quick demonstration of the idea.
One thing is clear from Lululemon’s approach to topical marketing. And that is, actions really do speak louder than words, especially for brands. Because a simple ad and a one-time discount don’t make much of a difference when compared to genuine efforts in the relevant direction.
5. Give your customers a backstage pass
When you want customers to appreciate your work, you need to show them what happens behind the scenes. That’s why several brands make it a point to take customers backstage. Social media makes this so much simpler. Lululemon knows this idea well and actively integrates it into its marketing strategy.
Take a look at the below video for example.
The video achieves 3 things:
- It evokes curiosity over the featured product (Blissfeel Trail shoes)
- The video captures the thought process behind the product which in turn adds value to the idea.
- Finally, it establishes the theme (nature-inspired)
These are just a few things possible with behind-the-scenes videos.
As you can see in the above example, a simple process video of your work goes a long way in establishing authenticity. Do not be afraid to share raw unedited footage that captures the human side of your brand and your processes. Instagram Stories is a great place to share this.
And in case you need help editing these videos to create a professional long-form video for your YouTube channel or website, get a KIMP Video subscription.
Talking about video content, Lululemon is always ahead in its game when it comes to leveraging videos in marketing. Let’s talk about the types of videos the brand uses to promote and engage.
6. Taking video marketing seriously
You must have noticed Lululemon’s use of motion graphics and video content in general in most of the examples we cited so far. After all, when 91% of consumers want to see more videos from brands, brands need to work on delivering what their customers want!
Lululemon delivers variety in its video content sharing informative, entertaining, and promotional content.
For example, when it comes to promoting its products, the brand uses creative lifestyle videos instead of regular product videos.
The brand also quickly hops on to trends from TikTok and Reels in order to engage its audience. Getting on the trend also helps brands increase their chances of going viral.
Additionally, if you observe all the videos shared by Lululemon on social media, you’ll notice a few things:
- The products speak for themselves.
- There’s a story in every video – one that clearly conveys the message.
- The brand puts its ambassadors in the front seat. The focus of the videos is on their lifestyles, their experiences. The below video for example, rather than focusing on the traits of the Align dress, its fabric and fit, it focuses on how the dress comfortably lets the mother carry on with her day. It, therefore, effectively paints the picture of the target audience for the dress.
7. Never afraid to take a stand
Lululemon manages to capture its human side through several of its campaigns. This is possible because it does not appear like a brand that’s there to promote its products but one that’s there to drive change, to take a stand.
For example, instead of the traditional campaigns for Pride Month, Lululemon “embraced Pride” by collaborating with other organizations to support LGBTQ2IA+ communities.
When brands lack a human touch, customers might find interactions with the brand similar to online friendships. There is a visible lack of depth and often a lack of emotional connection. To tackle this, depict your brand’s human side. Focus on your brand values, take a stand, and voice for a cause.
To do this, it’s not enough if you create a social media post communicating the message. It takes actual transition to business processes and actual measures toward the said cause. Do this and you will be able to make more meaningful connections with your target audience.
8. Incorporating inclusivity
An additional proof that Lululemon does not just voice its support for various causes but also takes steps to stand by them is the brand’s inclusive approach to marketing.
From working with ambassadors from various ethnicities to letting them talk about the disparity and struggles they face, the brand embraces inclusivity in every form.
Lululemon’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA) initiative focuses on nurturing an inclusive and diverse work culture and promoting equality.
Here’s what Calvin McDonald, CEO of Lululemon, said about IDEA:
“Our actions thus far include expanding the IDEA team globally, establishing employee-led resource groups (ERGs), and leveraging our brand and our voice to stand against hate and discrimination around the world.”
The IDEA initiative has been in progress in full swing since 2020 and is a good example of the brand’s inclusive approach. According to Deloitte, about 52% of consumers are known to be loyal to brands that act in favor of tackling social inequalities. So, incorporating an inclusive approach works in favor of your brand.
9. Tackling competition like a pro
When a brand achieves a significant status in its industry, there is one thing to look out for – copycat competitors. Additionally, there is also the problem of dupes ruining the reputation of your products.
There are many Lululemon dupes as well, in nearly every category the brand caters to.
Lululemon came up with the most creative way to tackle these dupes – the iconic Dupe Swap idea. This is a very popular topic on social media since there are not many brands that openly talk about dupe culture.
Dupe Swap allows customers to bring their Lululemon dupes to trade them in for originals. The below video shows customers queuing to get their dupes exchanged.
With this idea, the brand manages to leave an impression on skeptical consumers who had earlier settled with cheaper alternatives. And it made Lululemon a hot topic on social media with #lululemondupes gaining over 150 million views.
All of these show that Lululemon’s Dupe Swap idea is a good example of how you can creatively tackle competition while also strengthening your brand’s reputation.
Having a strong brand identity is one of the first steps to handle the competition. But yes, your competitors can copy your brand identity design, your brand logo, etc. But your marketing approach and campaigns that consistently carry your brand message and showcase your brand personality are all things that most people cannot copy.
So don’t forget to talk about your brand’s personality and your brand tone of voice in your brand guidelines so that all your brand visuals accurately represent them.
10. The importance of an omnichannel presence
To establish the Lululemon brand in a competitive market and also to keep up with its global audience, the brand has a strong omnichannel presence. Both for advertisement and engagement Lululemon uses diverse channels.
From billboards to emails and digital ads, the brand uses a diverse mix for its promotions.
One notable aspect of Lululemon’s omnichannel presence is the cohesive use of visuals and themes. Because cohesiveness helps users connect your various marketing visuals and gauge their association with your brand.
Human faces, a single product of focus, overlapping text, simple designs – a lot of such details are consistently maintained. The below screenshot shows a bunch of emails. Can you tell they are all from Lululemon? This instant recognition comes from the brand’s use of designs that feel visually consistent.
Inspired by the Lululemon brand – revolutionize your brand’s visual storytelling with KIMP
The Lululemon brand has proven itself to be different from most other athletic wear brands in so many ways. In spite of facing competition from the likes of Adidas and Nike, the brand has managed to retain its position in the market only through consistent branding and thoughtful marketing.
From the idea of the ads to the design and copy, every little detail is aligned with the brand’s unique personality. That’s how these brand visuals from Lululemon have managed to seamlessly fit into the brand’s marketing puzzle and act as drivers of its strong brand image.
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