Establishing a brand that resonates with students should be high on the priority list of any studio owner. YogaWorks is one of the most well-known yoga brands in the U.S., with over 30 years in existence and dozens of locations across the U.S. According to Rosanna McCollough, the president and CEO of YogaWorks, a lot of time and effort was put into designing a logo that represented YogaWorks well.
“The shape and the colors that were connected recall the cycles of the sun and moon — it’s playful and it brings joy, and it’s a vibrant green to nod to our commitment to our environment, our community and our overall consciousness of our larger world and our obligation to it,” explained McCollough.
But the CEO added what really resonates with the hundreds of thousands of students who walk through YogaWorks studios during any given month, is the product experience.
“Logos and names are intentional, but they mean nothing unless you enjoy that product experience,” she said. “That logo and those set of words combined together have come to represent exceptional teaching, high-quality customer service, and a safe and inclusive environment.”
McCollough also said while product visibility is important on their website and through mobile apps, she recognizes that so much of how the YogaWorks brand is promoted is through old-fashioned word-of-mouth. “People seek the advice of others they trust, so they’re going to ask their friends, ‘Where have you taken a great class? Who is a great teacher? I’m thinking about yoga,’” she said.
For that reason, McCollough said she thinks cultivating a brand has become a social learning environment, where students seek the opinions of their peers who have done their own research through time and trial, to uncover the best experience they can — which is why, she reiterated, the way your studio makes someone feel will always trump a creative logo or other marketing strategy.
Kimberly Wilson, the founder and creative director of Tranquil Space, located in Arlington, Virginia, defines what a brand is much like McCollough would.
“To me, a brand is what someone thinks or feels when they hear your business name,” said Wilson. “Since the studio began in my living room back in 1999, the brand has been about community, creativity, compassion and creating an experience. I used to describe my vision for Tranquil Space as Cheers, sans drink.”
Even since the days of practicing and teaching from her living room, Wilson said she worked overtime to ensure the Tranquil Space brand resonated with its students.
“When we were still in my living room, I invited students over for movie nights to sip wine and watch female-centric films and served cookies and homemade chai after each class,” she said. “From a strategic perspective, I focused on staying true to our values as we grew from my living room to two studio locations serving over 1,000 yogis per week. Our team of 50 talented teachers are all trained through the studio, which helps keep a consistent experience.”
Wilson also admires the brand strategies practiced at other companies like clothing store Anthropologie, which she said has a strong brand because they create a total experience. “The lit scented candles, creative displays and strategically placed artsy books nurture the senses and invite the shopper to dream,” she explained.
As the Tranquil Space brand continues to evolve, Wilson said she believes the growth she’s already seen stems from a desire to spread tranquility through various means and in ways that she, too, would appreciate receiving as a consumer. “All with a deep focus on experience, consistency and details,” she said.