Power to the She…& to the SEO

Assignment Snapshot: Pick a favorite multinational company and create a list of 10 keywords you think should be associated with that company and its products. Do a Google Search of those keywords and see where in the results (if at all) you find the company you selected. Go to the company’s site and review their coding to see if any of the words you selected appear on their homepage

If you know me, have read this blog at all or seen some of my discussion posts for the Social Media Masters Program at University of Florida, then you know I am an aspiring yogi. It started after the birth of my first child when I was very overweight and fighting the baby blues. I’ve written about this journey in the Namaste section of this blog so I won’t dive into it here. Part of that journey though, was discovering the Athleta brand. They are yoga clothes for normal people like me. While in my head I may look like this:

yoga pretty

The reality looks more like this:

twister

SO WHAT IS ATHLETA?

logo

 According to Athleta, they are  Gap Inc.’s premier fitness and lifestyle brand in the rapidly growing women’s active apparel market. Athleta offers high-quality, stylish, and functional apparel, footwear, and accessories across a  wide variety of sports and fitness activities, including crossover apparel and casualwear. Athleta products are found online, in stores, and through catalogs.  Athleta, the premier name in women’s fitness  fashion, values inspiring an active lifestyle from yoga to running to cross-fit. Athleta values motivating others and tapping into our collective power as women. Their slogan or tag line is Power to the She. Athleta was founded in 1998 in Petaluma, California. It started as a catalogue business that grew into online sales and was purchased by Gap Inc. in 2008 for $150 million. Since Gap Inc. acquired Athleta, they have opened  over 80 brick and mortar stores. (as of September 2014)

Ten keywords or keyword phrases for Search Engine Optimization:

  • Womens fitness clothing
  • Womens yoga clothing
  • Discount yoga clothing
  • Womens fitness fashion
  • Yoga clothing
  • Running clothing
  • Athletic clothing
  • Yoga pants
  • Sportswear
  • Yoga brands

I performed a Google search of each keyword phrase. The gallery below shows each result (click on image for larger view):

Athleta chooses to pay for Yoga Brands, Yoga Clothing, Womens Yoga Clothing and Athletic Clothing. Priority appears to be expansion and fighting the perception that they are only a yoga brand based on their purchase of the top spot, left rail for the keyword phrase “Athletic Clothing.” They still clearly emphasize yoga based on these searches and you see they paid for a top right rail spot for the keyword phrase “Womens Yoga Clothing.”

In reviewing their homepage, some of the keywords appear directly on the page visible to all. First, in the title of the site captured above the URL (see below) you will see “Womens” “Yoga Clothing” and “Run Clothing”.

The words “Fashion” and “Sport” also appear on the homepage. Looking at their site, they are really focused on performance, style and versatility. If I were going to redo my list, I would consider adding these in but with clothing or fashion also included.

In looking at the site’s HTML and alt tags, I found the following (click to view larger image):

Under metadata the description reads:

“The ultimate performance apparel for women. Shop Athleta yoga clothing, running clothing, swimwear & more online and in stores. Clothing designed and tested by and for women athletes.”

The metadata description is formatted well for SEO based on some of my choices. Below you will see the keywords that Athleta uses in the metadata above. The bold ones align with my choices above :

  • Athleta
  • athletica
  • womens yoga clothing
  • swimwear
  • running clothing
  • athletic clothing
  • workout clothing
  • exercise clothing
  • swimwear
  • tankini
  • bikini
  • one piece swimsuit
  • yoga pants
  • yoga tops
  • running tops
  • running shorts
  • skort
  • golf clothing
  • tennis clothing
  • special sizes
  • petite sizes
  • plus sizes
  • tall sizes
  • organic cotton
  • tights
  • yoga tights
  • run tights

They wisely use a common misspelling of their brand “Athletica”, the importance of which was discussed in lecture this week. Given the look and layout of their homepage, I would also consider adding performance wear and athletic style to keyword phrase choices.

Overall, based on this metadata and my Google searches, Athleta does a nice job capitalizing on SEO for the customer they want to target.

For me, the love affair is about comfort and price. I’m not a size zero and I want to practice without being half-naked. Athleta clothes accomplish this for me and I’m grateful for that.

#IWill ~ A Social Media Engagement Idea for Athleta

(DISCLAIMER: This is a piece of fiction. It is an idea generated for my Intro to Social Media class. Athleta has no knowledge of this or endorsement of it to my knowledge)

The #IWill Campaign

OBJECTIVES:

There are two specific objectives for this campaign:

  • Increase followers on Pinterest by 15%  (approximately 2250)
  • Increase followers on Instagram by 15%  (approximately 4800)

The two specific objectives of this campaign align with our key long-term goals of increasing brand awareness in our target market, expanding brand awareness to a younger demographic and converting brand awareness into purchase.

THE #IWill CAMPAIGN:

Athleta proudly states the values of their brand as

1. Inspiring an active lifestyle

2. Motivating others

3. Tapping into our collective power as a group (women)

In the spirit of those values, I propose the #IWill campaign. There’s always that voice inside us saying “I can do better” or “I can do more”. It may keep us awake some nights. It may talk to us when we are on the mat, out for a run or swimming. It may creep in while we work. Whatever It is ~ Athleta is calling on you to harness the Power to the She.  Make the commitment.  Take a personal pledge and promise yourself this is the year it happens. This is the year you say “I Will”:

  • #IWill get stronger
  • #IWill dive the Great Barrier Reef
  • #IWill be more patient
  • #IWill survive
  • #IWill learn to swim
  • #IWill get that promotion
  • #IWill master that asana
  • #IWill get a job
  • #IWill finish my degree
  • #IWill play more with my daughter
  • #IWill be Present

The #IWill Contest will last 30 days. Consumers should begin by following Athleta on Pinterest and Instagram. They should then post a photo with their #IWill declaration and encourage their sisters, mothers, daughters, girlfriends, workout buddies and colleagues to do the same. Entries can be as simple as holding a sign or as elaborate as imagination allows. There are no rules just declarations.  Be creative and make the commitment. Each person should tag the photo or video with #IWill #PowertotheShe. There will be a one entry per day limit.

In addition to catalog and in-store promotion of the #IWill Campaign, Athleta will push out teasers and promotion on all social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, main company site, Athleta Chi blog) driving traffic towards Pinterest and Instagram for two weeks leading up to the campaign. We will also email blast our subscribers once a week in the 2 weeks before the campaign. That email will include a “share” button so the email can be sent to others. The complete social push will continue during the event. People will be encouraged to both post, “Like” and Pin entries. The executive leadership of Athleta will post their own #IWill declaration to encourage community, empower and give a little nudge!

INCENTIVES: (Because even the most motivated need some extra motivation)

  • 20% coupon/online code just for posting your photo/video and entering the contest (limit two for contest duration)
  • Top 5 entries (defined by most “Likes”) will receive a $200 Athleta Gift Card
  • Grand Prize for the entry with the most “Likes”: Two round trip plane tickets and two nights’ hotel accommodations to attend Athleta’s Summer Solstice 2015 in Times Square & $500 to blow in NYC!

(This campaign could be repeated in January capitalizing on New Year’s Resolutions and the beginning-of-the-year increase in fitness activity)

CHANNEL FOCUS:

Pinterest: The channel is perfect for the #IWill campaign’s target market. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • In a 2014 report, Business Insider Intelligence identified Pinterest users as “high-income and very interested in using the site for shopping inspiration.” (Cooper Smith)
  • 83% of Pinterest users are women
  • 45% are in the 34 to 55 year-old demographic
  • 32% are in the 18 to 34 year-old demographic
  • 50% of U.S. moms who use Pinterest would follow a brand if rewards were offered to them
  • 81% of U.S. women online trust Pinterest as a reliable source for information and advice
  • The average Pinterest user has a household income of $100,000 or greater
  • Pinterest grabs about 41% of e-commerce (Salman Aslam)

Instagram: A strategic decision was made to include Instagram in this campaign to expand into the younger demographic and because Instagram is seeing significant popularity growth. Here are the numbers considered for this decision:

  • 68% of Instagram users are female
  • 37% are in the 18 to 29 year-old demographic
  • 18% are in the 34 to 49 year-old demographic
  • 57% of users access the site daily. It is second only to Facebook in frequency of site use
  • 150 million active users with 8500 likes per second and 1.2 billion likes daily
  • Retail and fashion brands are the most common in the top 10 largest Instagram communities (Jenn Herman)

TARGET MARKET:  Women. 24 to 55 years-old. Household Income: $80,000 to $105,000

TARGET PERSONA:

MEET AVERY FRANKLIN, our Athleta Persona.

She is a 36 year-old mother of two and an advertising executive living in a suburb of San Diego, California. Her husband is a loan officer for a national mortgage company. Their children are 6 and 8 years-old, their annual household income is 105k and they have 2 dogs. Avery works 40+ hours a week but still has time for 3 different fitness classes, her daughter’s gymnastics, son’s soccer and volunteering at the homeless women’s shelter once a month.  She is a member of two women’s professional societies where she recently served as President of one. She holds a bachelors and MBA and attended undergraduate on an athletic scholarship. For fun, she writes a blog about nutrition and keeping food tasty but healthy for children. She tweets daily tips and offers an email subscription to recipes. She likes running 3Ks with her family a couple times of year and they enjoy Saturday trips to the beach to surf and play volleyball. She doesn’t attend church every weekend but considers herself a person of faith. Her chapel is the outdoors.

PERSONAGFX

  • She’s organized, scheduled but knows how to go off-grid.
  • She wants more out of her sports.
  • She wants more out of her life.
  • She cares about appearance on the outside and soul on the inside.
  • She doesn’t believe her husband’s t-shirt is perfect for working out.
  • She doesn’t think her yoga pants have to be black.
  • She’s not afraid of 4 inch heels.
  • She doesn’t think quality always comes with a high price tag.
  • She believes her husband is her partner, not the center of her universe.
  • She believes strength and power is sexy.
  • She believes strength and power are feminine.
  • She’s passionate about her yoga, her running, her barre class, her walks with the dogs and weekend family hikes.
  • She likes to read but only if under the sun or stars.
  • She likes the occasional happy hour with the girls post-yoga class.
  • She wants her daughter to see the world as a wide-open canvas for her to paint her own masterpiece.
  • She’s raising her son to respect all as equal.
  • She’s never more than 4 feet from her iphone and checks mobile Facebook twice a day.
  • She’s a groupon junkie and takes pride in her Yelp! reviews.
  • She’s been known to tuck her MacAir into her gym bag and blog from the local coffee joint.
  • She derives her self-worth from her happy family, successful career and staying healthy.
  • She believes in healthy eating but likes her ice cream now and then.
  • She believes in giving back.
  • She believes in fun.
  • Being active IS her meditation.

CALL TO ACTION:

Go public with that inner voice. Make this the year you say #IWill. Pin a photo on the Athleta Pinterest #IWill Board and/or on your Instagram page with your #IWill declaration. Tag your entry with #IWill #PowertotheShe.

Submissions will be accepted from Tuesday, July 1, 2014 12:00am through Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:59pm. Only one entry per person per day.  You can “Like” and Share as much as you want! (In fact, we encourage that!)

OUTCOMES/MEASUREMENT:

We will measure the success of this campaign by compiling the following data:

  • Track follows on Pinterest and Instagram
  • Track submissions on Pinterest and Instagram
  • Track Likes of entries on Pinterest and Instagram
  • Track Likes of non-entries on Pinterest and Instagram
  • Track Re-Pins of entries on Pinterest
  • Track overall traffic on company site, blog, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In for the duration of the contest
  • Track the use of the online code and in-store coupon and look at conversion to purchase rate
  • Track email blast to see how many were shared

Sources:

Cooper Smith. (April 14, 2014). This is the Behavior on Pinterest that Makes the Social Network So Attractive to Marketers. Retrieved June, 21 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/demographics-on-pinterest-that-make-the-social-network-attractive-to-marketers-2014-4

Salman Aslam. (January 31, 2014). 30 Reasons to Market Your Business on Pinterest in 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2014,  http://www.business2community.com/infographics/30-reasons-market-business-pinterest-2014-infographic-0763727#!17mol

Jenn Herman. (February 17, 2014). Instagram Statistics for 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2014, http://jennstrends.com/instagram-statistics-for-2014/

Keeping “Power to the She” Consistent

There is no question that 2013 was a breakout year for Athleta. So much so that the Chairman and CEO of parent company Gap Inc. recently said, “…It looks like Athleta is on its path to becoming the fourth iconic brand within Gap Inc.’s portfolio.” (Jeff Quackenbush) The three other brands he’s referring to are Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic. I have worn all these brands during various periods of my life but Athleta is where I have found my second skin these days.

When it comes to maintaining its brand in an integrated world, Athleta does an excellent job. As you can see on its main company site and across key social channels, it maintains the same logo, imagery and title fonts.   It’s aesthetically cohesive and consistent. Occasionally, there will be a different image on one channel over another as you see below with Google+ but the subject is always the same: A strong, fit and active woman.

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On each page you will find a simple two sentence mission statement, something very key to success as outlined in this week’s reading Branding Your Website.

 “The premier fitness fashion brand for women who see being healthy and fit as vital to life. Power to the She.”

Athleta’s website features social buttons connecting its consumer to some of its social channels including a button drawing attention to its mobile site:

Additionally, the mobile site is very user friendly. I have placed orders with ease on both my iPad and my Android phone. Having a sleek, clean mobile site that is consistent with the brand is key. It’s an understatement to say mobile is the future:

“Although most online purchases still occur via PCs, Digiday believes commerce will be among the industries most affected by the rise of mobile. Global e-commerce sales made via mobile devices are expected to top $638 billion in 2018, according to a forecast from Goldman Sachs. For perspective, that was roughly the entire size of the world’s e-commerce market in 2013. Goldman predicts that tablet, not smartphones, will be the primary drivers of mobile commerce growth. (Cooper Smith)

(You can read Digiday’s entire Mobile Forecast Report HERE)

Push & Pull:

Athleta combines push and pull marketing in many ways. On their company site, a consumer gets “pulled” with an option to receive emails and/or the catalog. Those emails and catalogs are then “pushed” out and might include upcoming sales, events in your city or just a product highlight. Below is an example of one I received recently that is both sale and product highlight:

Athleta also utilizes traditional push marketing such as billboards and advertising kiosks in malls:

When I recently visited my local Athleta store I saw this in the window ~ a little push marketing with a local social media twist:

Athleta leverages all their social channels as brand enforcers ~ not a one-stop shop.  Athleta wisely houses all ability to purchase online on its company website only. It uses its social channels as a pull strategy by showcasing the brand message and linking to the main company site. It’s most effective pull strategy in my opinion is its blog: Athleta Chi

The blog is a forum for women to discuss fitness, sports, wellness, travel, exchange recipes, view demo videos, learn, bond and share empowering, inspirational stories. Athleta wisely incorporates a “Fit Style” category which will take you to their product lines but it’s not shoved down your throat. You can also respond to the push marketing technique of opting in to receive a pull via “Chi-mail” (above right).

Marketing & Branding through Events:

Athleta has several partnerships, some they showcase right on their homepage including the Mudderella and Esprit De She. These events along with Athleta’s participation at expos for various 5ks and other races are another form of pull marketing. Women who participate in these events are exposed to Athleta in a supportive role. They get an opportunity to see the brand at work out in the community.

Recommendations:

The Athleta website is clean, beautifully laid out and reflective of their brand. Athleta’s relationship with Lifetime for Esprit De She & Mudderella are partnerships with like-minded brands of strength, empowerment, health and well-being. In creating partnerships with like-minded companies, Athleta stays true to its “Power to the She” brand message. In further analyzing their integrated marketing and brand, I have a few recommendations where Athleta could be a bit more consistent and drive consumers back to their main website.

  • Athleta is on more social channels than they link to on their company website. The social media consumer is widespread and consumers are loyal to different channels. There is an opportunity to measure click-through and see what social channels Athleta consumers are interested in. A recent loyalty social survey revealed “These channels are powerful and should not be ignored. Gather intelligence from these channels and aggressively seek opportunities to influence the conversation.” (Jim Tierney) Additionally we already know that having your brand on Google+ increases your chances of showing up in Google search results – so why not flaunt your Google-ness? (Kristin Curtiss)  I recommend adding icons for You Tube and Google+. Loyal customers make loyal and knowledgeable employees. I would add a LinkedIn button as well. Then, I recommend making buttons consistent across the blog, company website and social channels that allow other social buttons. For example, on Athleta’s You Tube page (click below) there is a Google+ button but You Tube allows Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog buttons as well.

YouTube:

  • On Athleta’s main website, I also recommend moving the location of the social/sharing buttons “above the fold” similar to what Athleta does on its blog. As you can see below, on the main company site the social buttons are buried at the bottom of the page. This may be strategic with the thought being not to leave the main company site, however, the company wisely has purchasing ability housed on the main site. Sending potential customers to their social channels will only increase brand awareness and potentially strengthen a consumer connection. It’s a worthy gamble.

“BELOW THE FOLD” (on the main site)                 “ABOVE THE FOLD” (on the blog site)

  • As discussed above, Athleta has a beautiful and informative blog for women empowerment and community.  Interestingly though, Athleta does not link to their blog on their Pinterest page in any prominent way (see below)

Pinterest:

We know that Pinterest is dominated by women. 94% of all activity on Pinterest is by women. (Craig Smith) This is a missed opportunity to expose women to a brand- defining blog. Additionally, the blog is not featured on their Twitter page either. I would add prominent links on both these channels above the fold.

  • Another recommendation I would make for consistency would be adding the main website www.athleta.com to the top of its Facebook and Instagram pages. It is on the Facebook page, but you have to click the “About” link in order to access the company site. On Instagram, the only link featured prominently takes you to the Athleta Chi blog (see below). I think promoting the blog is great but I would advocate prominent links to both the main website AND the Athleta Chi blog.

Instagram:

  • While Athleta has a beautiful mobile site, at this time they don’t have an option to receive text message alerts about new stores opening, sales or other events. I recommend creating this option for consumers. It allows the company to target a customer who is clearly interested.
  • Athleta should consider a Twitter and Pinterest Widget on its website.
  • Finally, IthinkAthleta can offer a more integrated brick and mortar experience. I recently made a purchase and noticed there is no social media imagery in the store promoting their channels. When I paid for my purchase, the sales team did not ask for my email to send me my receipt (and then have my email on file!). My purchase was packaged in an awesome reusable, recycled bag but there was no website signage on the bag at all.  Lastly, I noted on my receipt at the very bottom there was a line about “Liking on Facebook” but that required a purchase to even reach that touch point. The below gallery is a visual of my experience:

Overall Thoughts:

Athleta could be a little more consistent in their social media integration, blog promotion and driving back to their main site for purchasing. That said, the company does a great job of keeping its brand message consistent on all its channels. They are all about creating a strong, empowered community for women and it is reflected in word and image beautifully throughout their pages. Each channel lives up to giving “Power to the She”.

Sources:

Jeff Quackenbush. (February 28, 2014). Gap calls 2013 ‘breakout year for Athleta’. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/88434/gap-calls-2013-breakout-year-for-athleta/

Cooper Smith. (April 2, 2014). US E-Commerce Growth is Now Far Outpacing Overall Retail Sales. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/us-e-commerce-growth-is-now-far-outpacing-overall-retail-sales-2014-4

Jim Tierney. (May 9, 2014). Social Intelligence: An Opportunity for Loyalty Marketers. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://loyalty360.org/resources/article/social-intelligence-an-opportunity-for-loyalty-marketers

Kristin Curtiss. (February 6, 2014). Google Plus: Your New SEO Valentine. Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/google-plus-seo/

Craig Smith. (March 4, 2014). By the Numbers: 80 Amazing Pinterest Statistics (Updated June 2014). Retrieved June 7, 2014, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats/#.U5S5H_ldWnY

 

Power to the She…& Me

I’ve been on quite a journey the last two years:  A scary, amazing, life-altering journey. I became a mom. Twice.

To understand my journey, you would have to know I was an athlete all my life. My right arm paid for my degree. I could throw a pretty fast curve ball back in the day! I grew up in a competitive, fitness-oriented family. My older brother went to Ohio State on a football scholarship, my younger brother was a collegiate baseball player, my sister played tennis and ran track and my father made a business of training NFL, NBA and MLB players.

I’ve been pretty lucky. I’m one of those people who has enjoyed success…on the field, in the classroom, in the newsroom and at home. Don’t get me wrong. I worked my butt off for it! It wasn’t handed to me but with that success comes an expectation that you are always going to be at the top of your game.

So what does this have to do with this week’s assignment? Everything.

Like many moms, I gained weight. 60 pounds to be exact. I also quit my job in week 8 of my maternity leave. I could not fathom leaving my child and felt broadcast journalism was changing. It all seemed irrelevant. So I threw myself into motherhood…and then 9 months later was pregnant again.

This time was different. About 4 months after my first child Gracen was born, I was suffering a bit of an identity crisis. I had always been an accomplished television producer, making my own money, doing my own thing and now I wasn’t. I felt small. I felt worthless. I was a little lost. I needed a reset.

A friend and cancer survivor who had found peace in yoga introduced me to her teacher.  On a cold December day, I signed up for a private lesson and life was never the same.

When you are feeling like I was and looking like I thought I looked, it takes everything you have to feel comfortable in your own skin. Enter Athleta.

Athleta came to be in 1998 as a catalog company specializing in yoga clothing. Gap Inc. acquired them in 2008 and they evolved into athletic wear, every day clothes, swimwear and accessories adding online sales and brick and mortar stores to their successful catalog business. (GapInc.com & Bloomberg.com)

Athleta is more than a business though. They are a modern brand as defined in What is BRANDING? published by the Norwich Business School.  As you see in that clip, brands of today are finding information, sharing films, selling stuff, making friends and adding to knowledge.  Athleta accomplishes all of this utilizing the channels below and integrating a consistent, solid and straightforward brand message: Power to the She

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ You Tube

Google+ ~ Athleta Chi (Blog) ~ Athleta Website ~ Catalog ~ Email

With Power to the She, Athleta celebrates the busy lives women lead and how they make fitness a priority. They promise to put performance first and comfort a close second. (Maddy Lucier) I would add that “Power to the She” extends beyond making fitness a priority – it makes well being and empowerment a priority.

Guarantee

At its basic core, Athleta is a business with a product that it guarantees.

I know this to be 100% true. I had a short sleeve sweatshirt I just loved but after about 5 times wearing it, there were very discernible  arm  pit stains. Yuck! This was not typical of Athleta’s clothing so I returned it. No questions asked. Brands guarantee quality.

According to the Norwich Business School, Brands also instill values that lead to action. If you go to the parent company website at  Gap Inc. you will read the following about Athleta:

At Athleta, we design the ultimate performance apparel and gear for every active woman, from the weekend warrior to the committed yogini to the fiercely driven competitive athlete. And as women athletes, we road-test, court-test and water-test everything ourselves to be sure each item we offer features the perfect balance: performance and style

Another key aspect of a successful brand is Ownership.  Athleta lives this in the people who design and create the product. The corporate leadership of Athleta seeks to understand their customer by looking within. They take this introspection and make it a call to action:

Athleta exemplifies communications planning as we read about in Brand Media Strategy this week because their message is clear and uniform across all their platforms.

They engage and reward:

They engage and educate:

And what you see on Twitter…is what you see on Facebook…is what you see on Pinterest…is what you see on Instagram…is what you see on You Tube…is what you see on Google+ …is what you see on the company’s website. Each campaign and message lives on each platform:

Our journey this week also told us that Brand is Confidence. Brand is Passion. Brand is Belonging. Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman once said, “when people use your brand as a verb, that is remarkable”. (brainyquote.com). I would add that when people forget your Brand is trying to sell them something, that is remarkable as well. Athleta does just this by creating a forum for confidence, passion and a sense of belonging. They call it Athleta Chi. It’s a blog devoted to “connecting women to the energy of inspiration.” You can opt to receive inspirational emails as well. The blog features recipes, how-tos, travel information, training videos, health guidance and a forum for people like you and me to chat, engage and belong.

So what about that post-partum, overweight, insecure, somewhat lost new mom? 

I’m getting to that.

The most important thing I consider in a “brand” is me. After all as our class this week reinforced “You” make a brand. “You” unmake a brand.  Yoga is intimidating as hell. I always avoided it because it seemed clique-ish. It was for skinny girls that could put their heads in places I never wanted to go.  Heck, I couldn’t even touch the ground when I started without hearing something shred inside me.  As silly as it sounds, Athleta made it easier to start. I found a comfortable skin.

After I tried Athleta clothes for my yoga practice, I stayed with it because I found the “experience” of Athleta resonated. The women weren’t stick figures with untouchable goals and unrealistic representations. They were real. They were like me:  Normal, Unique, Curvy, Curvy-er in some areas more than others.  In the social community on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, I found women of all design…including me:

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I now own Athleta clothes of all kinds including the bathing suit below. (I really should own stock in the company!)  The catalog arrives and it’s like Christmas. I get an email for a sale and I can’t resist. Yes, I am their target customer…and I am a brand loyalist.

It’s more though. I turn the pages and I see where I have been, where I am and where I want to be. I’ve lost 57 pounds. I can bend over and touch the floor with flat palms.  I stand a little taller.  I smile more. I breathe deeper. It’s not about the clothes…it’s about the community.  It’s Power to the She…and Me.

Yogaonabeach

Sources:

http://www.gapinc.com/content/gapinc/html/aboutus/ourbrands/Athleta.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-17/gap-s-athleta-stalks-lululemon-one-yoga-store-at-a-time.html

http://www.stack.com/2012/01/12/athleta-power-to-the-she-campaign/

Maddy Lucier. (January 12, 2012) Athleta’s Power to the She Campaign Celebrates Female Athletes. Retrieved June 1, 2014, http://www.stack.com/2012/01/12/athleta-power-to-the-she-campaign/

Antony Young. (2010). A Shift From Media Planning to Communications Planning. Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/meg_whitman.html