3 Companies Thriving Thanks to WFH
Covid may have put the whole world on pause, but there was no stopping these brands from experiencing exceptional growth. Read on to see how Peloton, Slack and Lululemon are giving the people what they want, and seeing big results because of it.
The Global Pandemic has been awful, but it’s also given us the gift of perspective.
From our families and friends to the camaraderie that comes from an unvirtual happy hour, we’ve all been missing important parts of our pre-corona existence. The good(ish) news is that some brands have really been stepping up to help us fill the void. And while there’s nothing that can replace true, in-your-face human connection, they’re trying — and in many cases seeing success.
We’ve more than forgiven any marketing blunders of the past from Peloton; we’re groveling to get our butts on their Wi-Fi-enabled, touch-screen-tablet-sporting bikes and treadmills. But it wasn’t just gym closures that put them ahead of the game in our current reality.
Peloton knew how to put all the components of the digital ecosystem together and continues to evolve them alongside available technology. From hardware to software to their app and user experience, everything is seamlessly integrated from top to bottom. Throw in their livestream and on-demand classes for a mere $12.99 a month, and they’ve easily established themselves as the Netflix of fitness. And the workout junkies are bingeing accordingly — Peloton surpassed over 1 million Connected Fitness users as of May 2020.
But can we rewind and reminisce for a moment about the good ol’ days — back in 2019 — when we had the luxury of being collectively upset about their unfortunate patriarchy-pushing holiday spot? Peloton’s incredible surge in popularity so soon after this marketing misstep shows the bounce back that can happen when a product actually speaks for itself. Peloton crossed the 2020 fiscal finish line with $1.83 billion in sales compared to $915 million in 2019.
In the pandemic world we’re living in, we’re letting our fingers do the talking, and not solely for collaborating with colleagues. Slack has become the venue for our kitchen chatter, hallway “How are ya”s and midday coffee walks. It’s literally picked up (the slack?) where our in-person office connections left off. But given all the options in this space, why does it seem to be winning the messaging platform popularity contest?
Slack was built as an internal tool for the development of an online game. As with any internal tool worth its weight in gifs, it’s built to solve a need by the very people who will benefit most from it. Thoughtfulness is inherent in its very existence, whereas other messaging platforms were created to “launch a messaging platform” — a situation where thoughtful pivots are likely missed for the sake of getting an MVP out the door. And yet, it’s those deviations from the script that end up making a product feel purposely designed over simply fulfilling a purpose.
Slack’s consumer-centricity was inherent in its design, but the company also carried it through to their marketing efforts. They launched with a free version that they still maintain and currently offer free or discounted plan upgrades for nonprofits. And in an era where consumers are turning away from large corporations in favor of the consumer-loving scrappy startup, Slack is getting our thumbs up, high fives, and tears of joy on the regular. So it’s no surprise that their stock is soaring, now worth over $20 billion. That’s a 68% increase since it was introduced in June.
Here’s to the brave ones — the ones that have put on real, I-can-go-out-in-public-like-this clothes during our WFH reality. This isn’t about you, though. This is about those of us who have reimagined our style to complement our sternums. Those of us who want the ability to squeeze in some movement between back-to-back Zoom meetings. We know — now more than ever — that athleisure is where it’s at.
And Lululemon was ready to make lemonade out of this casual everyday existence. They’ve managed to experience big growth this year, despite an overall poor showing by the apparel industry at large. So why have we continued to shill out the big bucks for their product given the state of the economy?
Lululemon is arguably the most popular apparel company built on the notion of community. You can see it at the retail level — where stores double as yoga studios — and their “for the greater good” mentality that echoes through social media, local sponsorships, and their focus on consumer feedback. If Peloton connected the digital ecosystem, Lululemon used the same principle of connection to appeal to their tribe of spiritually active sweat seekers. That, coupled with a high-quality product that quickly gained badge value, made us look forward to pulling on those $120 leggings. They show others how we value health and community and potentially even our financial well-being — weaving all this context into a light and oh-so-breathable fabric.
Lululemon’s efforts continue to pay off, too. They recently shelled out $500 million (during a global pandemic, mind you) to buy the at-home fitness company, Mirror. The purchase seems an obvious choice to add to their collection of workout-related offerings — and a potential play to emulate the success of Peloton. In Q2, Lululemon’s direct-to-consumer revenue saw results, increasing 155%. Pandemic progress? No sweat.