Julia Schatz, Senior Account Executive
Lululemon has faced their fair share of PR obstacles this year (think see-through yoga pants) so one might expect me to write about their crisis management. However, in the spirit on the holidays, I chose to focus on a recent campaign Lululemon’s PR team has done very well. Despite my personal beliefs about the brand and their products, I believe in giving credit where credit is due and Lulu has earned it with their holiday-inspired initiative.
Their #nohumbug holiday challenge encourages employees and customers to do something kind for others during the holiday season. Throughout this campaign, Lulu has done what so many brands are constantly trying to figure out how to do: create a seamless transition between their social media and traditional public relations and marketing campaigns.
The challenge is described on the company blog:
“Let’s be real, the next six weeks have the potential to be really hectic and stressful. We designed the #NoHumbug challenge to help us stay focused on what really matters (like love, laughter and eggnog). Join the #NoHumbug 31-day challenge and help us spread the love!
“Tweet and Instagram your daily acts of kindness and inspire others to do the same. We want to hear from you! From dogs wearing antlers to botched baking, share it all with #nohumbug.”
The challenge, which started online, was such a great success that the company decided to give each store a designated amount of cash to do good in the community. Each Lululemon location was given the money Dec. 2, and it was up to employees to brainstorm what to do with it between then and December 24.
I learned about the #nohumbug challenge after reading a story about how a Chicago Lululemon employee paid a parking ticket for a woman who had parked outside their store. They left cash, a candy cane and a note: “Sorry you got a ticket. We got this covered. Happy holidays! –Lululemon Halsted #nohumbug.”
“It’s a really fun thing that started with the hashtag and has taken on a life of its own,” said Nina Gardner, area community manager for Lululemon, in DNAinfo Chicago.
The #nohumbug challenge is inherently meant to gain goodwill. However, by taking the challenge offline, the campaign’s success resulted in other benefits for the company as well.
Taking the #nohumbug call to action offline by providing funds to each store to participate in the challenge showed that corporate was willing to put their money where their mouth is while empowering its employees to demonstrate the company vision and values exemplified through this challenge.
A key part of any good campaign strategy is to secure your base and expand. Brands should know that employees are their best advocates and that they are an essential part of communicating your company’s message. The #nohumbug campaign successfully found a unique way to use their employees to execute the campaign from the ground up.
Empowering employees also allowed the store to interact with customers and within the communities near existing store locations. Adding this personal touch that can only be created by face-to-face interaction helped bring the campaign to a level it could have never reached on social media alone.
Further, unlike most marketing or PR campaigns, employees’ random acts of kindness were not targeted to any specific consumer demographic or target audience. The exposure generated by these random acts of kindness allowed the campaign to create brand awareness among those who may have never heard of LuluLemon and helped reinforce positive brand association with those who have. Therefore, the reach of the campaign helped the company gain public goodwill with both existing consumers as well as an entirely new group of potential customers.
The fact that I learned about the campaign from a local news story generated by just one of these random acts of kindness means that this social media campaign has transformed into a successful public relations strategy. This campaign should be looked to as an example for PR pros in the future as a template for creating strategies that seamlessly incorporate digital and traditional tactics.