The High-end yoga pants maker Lululemon Athletica recently opened a Chicago Lincoln Park store where shoppers can get a work out in like at a traditional fitness studio. By the way if visitors forget their own work out gear, they can borrow a Lululemon outfit to sweat in and return; it’s washed between each use. Obviously consumers will have the chance to buy a new version when the workout’s over.
The location has two exercise rooms, a meditation area, and a cafe serving healthy smoothies, salads, kombucha, and beer actually. 6 - 10 fitness classes a day are offered for $25 each. This is part of a new strategy for the brand. In a recent meeting with analyst Lululemon outlined its plans to develop four different types of shops: a temporary, pop-up store; a 3,000-square-foot store; a 5,500-square-foot store; and then a 25,000-square-foot version, which the new Chicago location represents. Lulu's strategy is not just about store footprints, its about a new era of competition, differentiation, and hybrid brand creation. Hats off to our friends at LuLuLemon.
The Hybrid Health, Fitness, And Wellbeing Business Model Trend
Lululemon is not alone in its efforts to strategically redefine customer experience and its offerings. The multi-brand behemoth Equinox has launched and operates a luxury wellbeing travel service, a fitness lifestyle hotel, with a spa and restaurant, and three different health clubs brands; Blink, SoulCycle, and its flag ship Equinox. Its Furthermore lifestyle brand and its new fitness talent agency are still further evidence of its ambitious plan to create great differentiated hybrid brand experiences including blending physical and digital components.
Not to be outdone is the German based RSG Group, which has developed 14 brands (check them out) including new hybrid models as well. Its planned launch of the Mirai in 2023, a huge unique free fitness lifestyle experience, will be yet another new hybrid model example. The group's latest Steven Baker brand, named after the German bodybuilder turned baker, is actually an exclusive cake manufacturer specializes in creating “indulgence with no regrets” in the form of exclusive cheesecake creations and deserts. (A special note to the RSG Group founder and visionary Rainer Schaller, my great grandfather John Treitler was born in 1880 near Nuremberg, German and was an awesome baker himself. I love this brand and idea).
This is part of a trend I began addressing 5 years ago and coined it the "Hybrid Brand" phenomenon. This trend in business models and business strategy will represent various combinations of wellbeing, fitness, and other experiences designed around the customer. We will see more and more examples of this trend in the years to come for some very sound reasons if you just keep this in mind: the greatest health and fitness experiences have not been invented yet.
Where Will Other Hybrid Models Emerge From In Health, Fitness, And Wellbeing ?
The graphic below depicts the 7 main arenas which will combine and create new hybrid fitness and wellbeing models : nutrition, mindfulness, exercise, dwelling, health care, fashion, and digital. In the combination of mindful, exercise, and fashion, Bandier Gymshark and others have emerged. In the arena of health care, exercise, nutrition, and digital Diamandis' Human Longevity Inc. Health Nucleus concept is delivering integrated health solutions. There are many other examples. Whole new industries with new names like Human Enhancement will emerge from these hybrids and define completely new arenas of competition and growth; you can watch the video on this here.
This hybrid brand sector analysis will be expanded in the future to include sectors like entertainment and travel, leading to nine or more various components and examples of even more innovation to come.
Why Health, Fitness, And Wellbeing Brand Hybrid Experiences Will Matter More And More
Outside the obvious competitive dynamics, like differentiation, new hybrid fitness and wellbeing models and in fact whole new industries, will compete by creating great new experiences thus enhancing their brands. What does brand have to do with it ? It has to do with customers - to learn more ->> watch.
As the venerable Professor Scott Galloway, whom you need to follow if you have not already, has set forth in his content regarding brands (watch below), there are 3 ways you are going to make brand relevant and build it: 1. Attention via pre-purchase or largely advertising, 2. The purchase experience, and 3. The post purchase experience. As he explains below investment has shifted for businesses that want to build value from advertising to purchase and post purchase EXPERIENCE.
Basically the advertising world is collapsing and so wise businesses are focusing more and more on the later two aspects. Watch the micro class on brand below and keep this quote from Mr. Galloway in mind (you can listen below) "The gangster move of the last 20 years that created more shareholder value than any business decision in history was Steve Job's crazy irrational decision to zag while everyone was zigging take money out of advertising and allocate it to a medium that was dying and that was stores (from me ie: experiences)."
Technology Will Make Brand Experience Even More Important Across Industries
Here is a false narrative being pushed by some marketer's today; brand is dead. That is an oversimplification of many realities and it just doesn't apply. As the famous Gary Vaynerchuk has recently opined, brand and brand experience will become more and more essential to competitive advantage as so many commoditized services, products, and offerings are made available. As platform, particularly voice, becomes a key element of the competitive landscape the most successful value creators will shift to outstanding hybrid brand experiences to compete in the future, leading to a great deal of innovation in the years to come. Brand experience over everything. Watch Gary talk about it below.
So what are your thoughts on hybrid brand models being a big part of the future of health, fitness, and wellbeing?