Published on October 5, 2020, at 8:00 p.m.
by Grace Evans.
When the United States was rapidly thrown into an indefinite quarantine, there was no premonition of how drastically lives would be affected. After a few weeks of social distancing, people began to focus on how to make their health and wellness a priority, without having access to their usual resources. Brands scrambled to find long-term solutions to reimagine consumers’ basic fitness needs.
Although health trends have steadily risen in popularity over the past decade, COVID-19 heightened the necessity of using workouts as a way to release the mental and physical stressors that have increased with forced lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders. According to BBC, fitness equipment sales rose 55% from January to March, and gyms began lending equipment to their members for a fee. To further capitalize on many consumers’ inability to work out outside of their homes, two brands have uniquely leveraged their digital markets to build brand loyalty.
Peloton is one brand that proved it understood consumers’ needs early on in the pandemic. On March 16, the company offered an extension on its free trial, recognizing the potential of the pandemic to create long-term habits among consumers. New subscribers could enjoy 90 days of free classes on the app, ranging from Peloton’s infamous cycling classes to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), yoga, strength training and stretching classes.
McKinsey reported that fitness companies’ “app downloads and new sign-ups have grown between 80% and more than 250% in recent months.” Consumers, lost without in-person workout classes and access to gyms, searched for new ways to exercise, and Peloton quickly stepped in to fill their needs. McKinsey also outlined four customer experience strategies that brands should utilize in the current times: “[focusing] on care and concern, [meeting] your customers where they are, [reimagining] the post-COVID-19 world and [building] agile capabilities for fluid times.” Peloton’s realization of the importance of creating new and innovative tactics to gain consumers demonstrates a mastery of all four of these strategies.
The Sculpt Society
Every morning, Megan Roup, the founder of The Sculpt Society, goes live on her app to teach a quick 10-to-45-minute workout that requires no more equipment than small weights and sliders. Roup’s business strategy is mainly digital, and she has amassed a cult following of influencers who promote TSS on their own platforms, including Sophia Richie, Elsa Hosk and Martha Hunt.
As consumers today spend more time and energy on their devices, brand awareness strategies like live workouts on Instagram and encouraging followers to share their own post-workout selfies build trust — by showing that a brand is a person, not a company — and increase social engagement. During a time when we crave socialization, even one-way interaction with a social media influencer can fulfill that need. Ad Roll noted that “brand awareness efforts can help increase customer lifetime value (CLV) and decrease customer acquisition costs (CAC).” Roup seems to have cracked the code on creating a relationship between her brand and her consumers that feels authentic and unpretentious, as well as a brand that has the ability to become a household name.
Creativity and originality are the keys to unlocking brand loyalty during the era of COVID-19. Traditional strategies and tactics will become a part of public relations’ past as long as brands continue to innovate and change with the times. Pandemics don’t last forever, but hopefully, consumers’ brand loyalty can.