I read an article today from Sanjeev Patel, from Aura Wellness Center on “The Problem with Teaching Yoga Fitness Classes”. Now stay with me on this post, it will relate to marketing…
Sanjeev highlights how yoga has changed in North America, due in part for the “need for speed” attitude that is mainstream in North America. He notes that instead of yoga being about mindfulness, it is changing to meet the needs of people who expect results – pronto. Sanjeev asks the question to yoga instructors, “Which way will you go?”
This got me thinking, can a single yoga instructor solve this problem? Or, should the yoga industry take back the word yoga? How do we solve this brand identity problem?
Brand Identity – How To Best Enter A New Market
It’s the nature of North America, in particular for the US – we see something that popular with the opportunity for growth and what do we do? We take it, own it and try to make money out of it. Even if this means we blend yoga with Zumba and call it Yoga Intense, Power Yoga or Yoga Dance, you get the idea.
However, entering a new market, in any market does mean that your product, image, message and sometimes even ingredients will change. It has too. Lucky are the products that don’t have to change, for example, a car is still a car in any market. For others, like the yoga industry is in a crisis. People are taking it and liquefying the product to the point that it may become unrecognizable.
Protect Your Product, Control The Brand
The main problem is that we keep calling these exercises Yoga when it fact these are not yoga at all. Because yoga took a long time to become mainstream and as a result the slow, grass movement created a fragmented market, making it hard to control ‘true yoga’.
When a product that is exported via a single distribution will help to protect your brand. Apple product is a perfect example where we can only buy these products as their retail stores or on the Apple site. Not only are you creating better control over their brand but also price leadership.
The “yoga” product is harder to control since it is not a physical product, then we have an increase in Yoga Teaching Centers in North America, all adding to this challenge. But there is a way…keep on reading.
Trade Mark or Brand the Industry or Product
While we all hope to have this problem, a brand that is too popular to control, this does present a second problem – an industry or product that becomes diluted due to its popularity. The industry or product is being crushed or in business terms, cannibalized by its own financial success.
This presents an opportunity… trademark yoga, making all the others irrelevant.
Take the case study of Parmigiano-Reggiano – the greatest cheese in the world, by the way.
But I digress.
Many years ago, Parmigiano became very popular, to the point where we even had Kraft Parmigiano Cheese in a shaker tube, sold on the shelf. It wasn’t even required to be put in the fridge!! And, yet they got away with selling it as ‘Parmigiano’. Now you know you have a brand problem when Kraft is selling ethnic foods as ethnic and people believing it’s the same product as the imported Parmigiano-Reggiano.
What did Italy do?
They trademarked, branded and added the word, “Reggiano” to their product. Today, if you buy any other Parmigiano without having it state, Parmigiano-Reggiano, it is not Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Yoga associations or perhaps India should do the same thing. Brand Yoga with Yoga-Saraswati or something like that.
Protect Your Brand | Stay Consistent With All Your Sales Channels
We all need to make money. Now that’s out of the way, let’s take a step back and look at all the recent popular online promotional programs, specifically those list building programs. I’m all in favour of building your email list but not at the expense of selling your brand or expertise.
This is the same for yoga teachers, who want to increase the number of students and as a result, we blend and create a new yoga class to hopefully attract the people who like to beat themselves silly to get fit and hopefully will find Power Yoga really interesting.
I think the question that should be asked is, “How will you protect your industry?”