‘Pedaling’ Evangelism

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How does a brand make the leap from customer loyalty to advocacy — or even evangelism? Do the many brands vying for shoppers’ affection make it harder? Or is it easier because we live in a connected world where social media opens the door for more frequent and widespread interaction?

An answer would likely require more research than speculation, but indulge me while I share the results of a survey of one.

I recently attended the Power Zone Pack’s Home Ride Invasion at the mother ship. Translation: I spent three days with some 200 like-minded Peloton home riders who are devoted to the Power Zone method of training and converged on the brand’s headquarters in New York City to attend classes and indulge in evening cocktails and dinner. The group is just one of many “tribes” of Peloton riders that have formed. Each group, whether Pelowinos (who share a passion for wine), Peloton 50+ Pelo-Babes, Peloton Road Riders or the numerous tribes that support each instructor, have cult-like followings.

I live on Long Island, so the commitment to attend an event in New York was not extraordinary. What blew me away was the number of attendees from all over the United States. I met fellow riders from Chicago, Wisconsin and Arizona and swapped stories with people I’d just met about how a bike that goes nowhere is changing my life. The event wasn’t organized by Peloton; it was the brainchild of a devoted Peloton rider who, with a handful of friends, put together the weekend’s activities.

How did this happen? How did I become an evangelist for Peloton?

Maybe it’s because I ride nearly every day. Surely the encouragement and positive dialogue from Peloton instructors has made a positive impact. And the level of support from fellow riders who celebrate achievements with virtual high fives or a message of “congrats” on social media reinforce my loyalty to this brand.

The initial purchase was predicated on numerous life factors; clearly, my husband and I bought into the promise of a healthier lifestyle. But I truly believe we’ve stuck with the program because of the community — a passionate and positive tribe of strangers who hold each other accountable, cheer each other on and support each other in ways otherwise reserved for longtime friendships.

In July, Peloton announced it had eclipsed 100,000 members on its Facebook Official Peloton Member page. Earlier in the month an epic “All For One” ride attracted some 18,488 riders who all got on their home bikes at the same time to celebrate unity, summer and this ever-growing community. During the ride, 11,439 riders sent 113,921 high fives; it was a feeling that’s hard to put into words. The brand has earned a Net Promoter score of 91, higher than Apple and Netflix.

What can retailers learn from all this? I don’t believe loyalty can be measured by amassing points to achieve rewards. Ultimately, it comes down to finding a way to cultivate emotional loyalty and build a community. Today’s consumer is looking for more personal interaction; they want to feel like a valued member of a group.

Are you up for the challenge?

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