The visual design and the way the staff interact with each other make people believe that this is a brand that wants to make the world a better place from the beginning, not just to sell goods.
An important role in the community is the brand ambassador. Educators around the world liaise and maintain relationships with local yoga teachers, fitness instructors and opinion leaders to build a team of brand ambassadors based in the stores.
Lululemon refers to these people as brand ambassadors.
The difference between the brand ambassador and internet celebrity is that brand ambassadors have more of an offline word of mouth and community influence. Through the brand ambassador’s network and social circle, sharing the feeling of wearing clothes such as workout sets and luluemon tops during sports, lululemon has found an extremely low cost and efficient channel of influence.
According to the publicly available official website information to do a count, lululemon has a total of 1,533 ambassadors worldwide (data as of 2019), the brand ambassador system consists of 3 tiers：
-35 elite ambassadors → International level star athletes
-9 global yoga ambassadors → Top masters in global yoga area
-1,489 store ambassadors → Sports opinion leaders in various cities, especially like to sign up founders of small studios.
Among the ambassadors of the store, are they all yoga instructors? I will roughly count the ratio.
-Yoga Pilates barre and other static course instructor accounted for about 30%.
-Training fitness trainers accounted for 30%.
About 300 people in sports such as runner, cycling, rugby, triathlon, and powerlifting.
-The rest include photographers, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and other non-athlete professions.
It is reported that the number of store ambassadors will be expanded from the original 3 places in one store from 2019, which means lululemon will invest more resources to do localized community operation. Store educators, brand ambassadors and consumers together constitute lululemon’s brand community, which is different from the community marketing based on WeChat group that is currently favored in the marketing world, this community is extremely offline and can better make people remember the joy of wearing lululemon athletic wear.
How exactly does this system work?
The first step is to find the right person for the ambassador. Educators visit stores outside of work hours each week, depending on the job, 2-3 new stores and 3-4 old stores per month. Expenses for store visits and campaigns can be reimbursed as employee benefits. This step is mainly based on finding your own network, contacting candidates and getting to know them during store visit classes.
About six months to finalize the intention, some up to 1 year 2 years. Regarding the selection criteria, each city has its own criteria, which broadly include the candidate and brand spirit fit, professionalism, venue level, temperament and other comprehensive considerations. Through an internal staff class, an external user community class, after the event, the final need for regional managers to meet, headquarters approval, once a year review whether to renew the contract.
The ambassadors’ benefits include a special portrait photo on the wall, social media such as Weibo WeChat promotion as part of the community culture, and a $2,000 annual clothing quota benefit (which is similar to the amount of contracted coaches for other sports brands), new product fittings + giveaways (quarterly unconventional), and occasional outing group building.
Community events are held once a week at each store, about 50/50 between in-store and out-store. Ambassadors are invited to come and complete the classes taught by the Hot Sweat Community, and there are usually non-ambassador coaches available for classes. Every quarter there is an Ambassadors day, where the store manager and all the ambassadors of the store go out to exercise.
The overall feeling down, lululemon’s ambassador is similar to the contracted coach of other sports brands, but because of the existence of educator, the relationship between brand-store-educator-ambassador is very close. Sometimes when I stroll around the store and see the ambassador coming, the store staff will take the initiative to go up and greet him warmly.
In the midst of the recent epidemic, lululemon officials have also announced a 2 million dollars global grant fund, using money to help gyms that have suspended operations due to the epidemic.
This community operation system has several features.
1.The whole operation system is built on lululemon’s unique organizational structure, without high quality educator, only rely on ordinary sales is completely unsustainable.
2.The workload is huge, and you should know that this is something that hundreds of stores around the world are doing every week. In most brands, only a few people in the marketing department at the headquarters are responsible for liaising with the contracted coaches and community operation functions, so it is impossible to absorb the maintenance of more than 1,000 ambassadors and the operation of local community activities.
3. The granularity is extremely fine, each ambassador has his own habits and way of doing things, there is no way to communicate with all ambassadors through a one-size-fits-all approach.
This requires the educators who are detailed to each store to slowly build and maintain the relationship in their daily life. After all, no good coach is short of that $10,000 yoga leggings, what everyone needs is respect, recognition, and brand empathy. This is the unparalleled magic of lululemon yoga!
Post time: Apr-01-2022