Skip to content

Everybody Searching for a Hero: Lessons Learned from Lululemon

Everybody Searching for a Hero: Lessons Learned from Lululemon

Lululemon has had a rough couple of years. The athletic leisurewear brand ran into trouble when their black yoga pants were too sheer, prompting a massive recall. Then Chip Wilson, founder and chairman of the brand’s board, was forced to step down after stating that not every woman has a body that looks good in Lululemon clothing.

Yet through it all, Lululemon’s customer base has stayed loyal. Composed of soccer Moms, meditation devotees and proficient juicers of organic produce, this core market is responsible for more than two billion dollars in annual revenue. Laurent Potdevin, Lululemon’s current CEO, credits this loyalty in part to the brand’s ability to listen closely to their customers and deliver exactly what they’re looking for.

The Local Hero: Who Does Your Customer Look Up To?

When asked by CBS News how the brand stays inspired, Potdevin replied, “We’ve got 1,500 ambassadors around the world. The ambassadors are the local heroes -the triathletes, yogis, runners. They’re all around the world. We have the ability to listen at a local level.”

Potdevin’s choices make sense. Lululemon’s customers value fitness and an active lifestyle. Running is both the oldest sport in the world, and one that has been experiencing tremendous growth. Running USA reports that the sport’s seen a 300% increase in participation rates since the 1990’s, with the largest percentage of that boom attributable to women between the ages of 25-44. Almost two thirds of half-marathon participants are women; when you consider the grueling Ironman competition, female participation rates have grown by 275%.

[Tweet “Running USA reports that the sport’s seen a 300% increase in participation rates since the 90’s.”]

The active athletes do garner their share of local renown and celebrity. People pay attention to them and what they’re doing. Lululemon has found them to be influential voices in their communities: while the urge to emulate their behavior may not extend to actually running miles and miles on a regular basis, they definitely have an impact on style choices.

Not All Heroes Run: Who Is Important To Your Marketplace?

Lululemon’s idea of identifying and connecting with local heroes transcends the athletic wear marketplace. Consider who the aspirational figures are in your customers’ lives. If you’re in the hardware industry, it could be a well-known local builder or the woodworker that wows everyone with their artistry. Fashion retailers know who the local style icons are – with any luck, they shop with you often already.

Lululemon actively listens to their local heroes, engaging with them on a personal level to identify trends as they emerge, get feedback about new products, and just get an overall sense of what’s going on in their lives. They use this information to continually refine their marketing in a way their overall customer base finds appealing. This is something smaller brands can do as well, by identifying and engaging with the relevant local heroes. In person conversation is always wonderful, but don’t miss the chance to follow these individuals on social media as well: many times influencers are also active on one or more platforms, sharing content that’s relevant to your target market.

If you’re not currently doing so, set a goal for yourself to identify and engage with at least one new local influencer each month. We all know networking takes time – Lululemon has been doing this since 1998! – but it’s a strategy that eventually delivers great rewards in terms of customer understanding and brand loyalty.

Share This:

Book FREE Trial

We know that getting back into fitness is tough! Let us help you achieve your weight boxing workouts.

Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office