What does it take for a fitness brand to become a global phenomenon? This Harvard Business Review article looks at the growing success of Zumba and how its founders anticipated and advanced cultural movements instead of chasing trends. At Flock our belief is that brands will only succeed if they look to the future and what their consumer will be needing and wanting. Zumba has clearly achieved this and there is certainly some learning for marketers from this fitness brand.
Zumba is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment and culture. Since its introduction in 2001, Zumba has become one of the largest and most successful dance-fitness programmes with more than 12 million people taking weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations globally. But how have they achieved this and how is it related to effective integrated marketing?
Below are some of the things that we think have had an impact on their marketing success.
Propinquinty is one of Flock’s favourite words; it is derived from the latin word propinquitas. which means proximity, nearness, kinship or similarity, i.e. super-relevancy. If a brand and consumer interact often, at the right time, the right place and the right context, the relationship is stronger and therefore more likely to develop into sales. Zumba has really understood this concept and incorporated it into the brand. They tapped into several emerging trends that combined, created the perfect conditions for it: emerging social networks and an increasing awareness of physical activity’s importance to health. What current trends could you incorporate into your marketing strategy?
2. Clear communication:
An essential part of a well-integrated marketing campaign is to clearly communicate the brand message to the consumer. However, it is important to remember that every platform has its own language. Social media alone speaks in various forms: short and punchy on Twitter, beautiful aspirational images on Pinterest, day-to-day lifestyle pictures on Instagram, and other rich content for Facebook, etc. Zumba has created a vast communications platform and numerous ways of interacting with the brand: music videos, DVDs, video games for Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation, magazines, branded apparel and accessories, clothing line, social media contests… This has created a large devoted following; some people have even tattooed the logo onto their bodies!
3. A great proposition and the emotional engagement to match it:
Using emotions is a key way of engaging with the consumer. We all love a good story and remember our favourite fairytales from childhood (and especially the moral of the story, or in brand language; ‘the proposition’) and some of the best marketing campaigns have been those that have used storytelling. Stories engage and influence an audience and trigger strong emotions. As we all know, we often buy for emotional reasons, rather than for rational reasons. Mr Perlman, CEO of Zumba (http://bit.ly/1GGfVsB) said he “wanted to turn Zumba into a brand where people felt that kind of free and electrifying joy” so came up with the tagline ‘Ditch the workout: join the party!’- what is not to like about that? This tagline represents the company’s entire proposition, which has made its success. This differentiation from other fitness offers is key in getting instant understanding of the brand and instant interest.
4. The right connections
What has proven very effective to increase brand awareness and gain some recognition for Zumba is celebrity endorsement. This may not be right for all brands, but Zumba has successfully used this kind of endorsement through their partnership with recording artist Pitbull. With his unlimited energy and upbeat music, Pitbull was the perfect face for Zumba. This partnership resulted in music and other content for the Zumba network and a specially choreographed workout as well as crucial exposure and PR. What connections or partnerships will further enhance your strategy?
The success of Zumba is, of course, not only the result of celebrity but also things such as very careful forward planning, organisation and a very clear understanding of their target audience. In order for a brand to resonate, it is important to scan the cultural environment for meaningful, long- lasting change that may have an impact on its audience. Keeping well informed of new technology, consumer tastes and behaviours and demographic changes are essential in order to keep ahead of competitors and ensure that services are relevant to the consumer.
Is your marketing in fit shape? Or do your dancers need further alignment? If you need help choreographing your marketing department, please do get in touch here.
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