Yoga-centric Lululemon knows that products that inspire a new lifestyle resonate with consumers because they offer a promise of transformation, and they make customers feel like they're a part of a group.
For a relatively small but growing circle of fitness fanatics, glimpses of the Lululemon Athletica brand act as a signal.
Running by someone in a distinctive, neon-striped hoodie or seeing a co-worker bring lunch in the same reusable red shopping bag covered with the company manifesto — "friends are more important than money," "breathe deeply" — are both signs that two people have been initiated into the same tribe, one that worships healthy living, tight-knit communities and colorful athletic apparel.
The company's loyal followers rave like obsessive groupies. "Once you go Lululemon, you never go back," says 24-year-old Nitasha Khetarpal, of Valencia, Calif.
"It is the reason I started exercising again," says Anna Ferguson, 40, who works as a financial officer for a small company in Greensboro, N.C.
"Lululemon products have a way of making you want to work out," says 20-year-old Penn State junior Natalie Handali.
Via Russ Merz, Ph.D.