The recent acquisition of Mirror by Lululemon is everything you need to know about fitness during COVID. The in-home workout equipment- a mirror and screen showcasing literally any type of exercise class- brings the community of group fitness home. The move indicates Lululemon’s understanding of the need for this community now more than ever. People are stressed. Physical health is important. Freetime is a thing of the past. And while it hints at the longevity of home workouts vs. studios, the purchase of this company in particular with its cult following by Lululemon, literally the architects of larger community within the fitness industry, says something we all desperately want to hear: group fitness isn’t going anywhere. People will come together and sweat no matter what.
The fitness studios who will survive this time are those who had a sense of community to begin with. This feeling of camaraderie is difficult to create after the fact, and nearly impossible to manufacture. It’s an organic, near spontaneous bubble surrounding a business, but one that studios can nurture with these grounding concepts:
Just as micro-influencers have replaced celebrities as the marketing mouthpiece of choice when spreading brand awareness, local celebrity fitness instructors are replacing star trainers in the workout world. Clients will follow an instructor from studio to studio (or from studio to zoom class) if they are relatable and inspirational. Businesses who give each individual instructor a voice and the space to shine can foster that cult following.
Exercise is one of the few things that we are judged on while in the act: a group setting means someone, everyone, is watching just how hard you work. One will almost always perform better, or at least try to, in front of an audience when it comes to exercise. That high achieved from pushing yourself to your highest potential cannot be replicated, but building out competitive scenarios to fuel the motivation will keep clients coming back. See how we helped Pure Barre launch their now annual Pure Madness campaign to drive sales and inspire healthy competition here.
The secret sauce to successful boutique or franchise studios is community, but the byproduct of this is accountability. Knowing someone is expecting you often gives you that needed final push to show up. Clearly defined goals, trackable progress and community, even digital, feeds loyalty and repeat clients.
There’s been a shift in the fitness industry over the last 15 years, palpable to those on both sides of the room. Fitness enthusiasts are no longer tied to a single gym of studio, a concept ClassPass launched into the mainstream. Gyms and studios have reacted to this open door policy by becoming more inclusive. When everyone is welcome, the barrier for entry is lowered to allow all levels of experience, widening the target demographic indefinitely.
One major setback to the fitness industry from the pandemic is the loss of foot traffic and word of mouth marketing. It’s tough to find new customers when nobody is walking by or meeting a friend for a fitness class. Enter Leg Up: easy digital marketing management for the wellness industry. Leg Up helps small studios find their audience and compete digitally with larger franchises and corporations, leveling the playing field and driving the right customers into classes.