How active brands are using experiences to engage consumers

Active brands creating cool consumer experiences

Active brands and consumer experiences.

The in-store fitness studio has been around for a while, pioneered by the likes of Sweaty Betty and LuluLemon.  Store based workouts have played a major role in redefining retail outlets from being stores into multifunctional venues. But more recently we have seen a surge in brands moving out of the studio and offsite, creating clubs and curating adventures to encourage understanding of the brand, its ethos and its product.

With a strong brand image and a distinctive voice across social media, Outdoor Voices build experiences to bring people together, allowing and encouraging them to experience the product first hand.  In tune with their characteristic hashtag #doingthings, events are kept varied with a focus on being active, getting social, having fun and, well, just doing things.

On our recent active trip to LA we visited their pop-up store in the swanky LA Grove shopping destination.  This colourful, curated experience acted as the epicenter for a number of pop-up events, creating a buzz around the brand and developing relationships with local studios ahead of opening a brick and mortar store in LA.

Likewise, to coincide with the launch of their recent hiker collection, Outdoor Voices announced the start of the OV hiker club. Kicking it off with a loop around the Hollywood Hills, like everything the brand does the focus was beyond fitness.  It was about encouraging activity but with a healthy dose of humour and charm, as opposed to cutthroat competition.

With a relaxed and varied array of events Outdoor Voices not only encourages its consumer base to try out the clothing and see how it works for themselves, but they also create a defined experience of the brand, encouraging another level of connection. After attending their pop-up yoga class at The Grove retail complex, we left with a solid understanding of the product, range and how most importantly the brand want you to use it, and have fun in it.

Cotopaxi is another US brand sharing an equal sense of fun but with a firm footing in the outdoors, carving their own unique way in the market with a focus on creating ‘Gear for Good’.  Encouraging sustainability and an engagement with communities and environments, in their words ‘we believe we can help make a positive impact on the world.’

Cotopaxi’s product range is a whirlwind of colour, bringing unique aesthetics to performance function.  Instead of keeping the fun solely in the product, Cotopaxi expanded to create their events series Questival. Now as popular in its own right as the brand itself, the event series encourages people to explore, discover and get outdoors, engaging in both their community and environment. Products are given out as part of the ticket and experience, allowing participants to use and get to know them throughout the 24hour Questival. Whilst at the same time being fully immersed in the diversity of experience which the brand stands for.

In combining experience with product, brands are able to heighten their consumer engagement, further immersing people in what the brand stands for and creating personal connections.  In the age of over saturation, it’s the authenticity which keeps customers coming back.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.