The New York-based company allegedly doesn’t believe in gimmicks or trends: It wants engagement from its customers 365 days a year.
The chain’s ‘We Don’t Speak January’ campaign has drawn both criticism and support online, with some saying their desire to get fit in 2023 had already been ‘calculated’. Others applauded the bold move, believing it spoke to the brand’s values of dedication.
The plan had been in place for months – confirmed the chief marketing officer of Equinox, Jeff De Korte Fortune – and it worked.
Web traffic to the Equinox website was 52% above its benchmark for the first week of January, setting a new record for most visits in seven days.
The spike in traffic also converted into sales, up 30% month-to-date from the previous January’s best.
Equinox ‘hit a raw nerve’
“The January campaign is a metaphor for a larger trend that we’ve known for years. The traditional wellness industry is built on the idea that you sign up but never show up. It’s not us,” she said.
“We have remained faithful to the fundamental value that is the soul of our community: commitment. We also used data like models for our clubs and how our members are training and then our creative team came up with a great idea. Marry those two together and you have a really powerful campaign that has sparked a lot of conversation.
Americans wasted $397 million on unused gym memberships in 2021 with De Korte saying that mainstream fitness is “gimmicks […] prey on “vulnerable” consumers.
“We stopped for a day and the campaign clearly resonated. We were very happy with the sales performance we had in the last week,” added De Korte.
What is the future of Equinox?
Fans around the world can expect to see even more growth from Equinox this year, with the group already expanding into hospitality with New York’s Equinox Hotel.
New clubs are slated to open in New York and Washington, DC, in 2023, but Korte was shocked at how many other locations were in his “substantial” pipeline.
A spokesperson added that the brand could add another club in London if the right location could be found.
De Korte, who himself had been a customer of Equinox for 15 years before joining as CMO in December, added: “One direction we are moving in is the intersection of the digital and in-club experience. We have our own Equinox+ app that offers our members a variety of content, from lessons to performance tracking or connecting when they’re in clubs.
“Personalization has also always been at the heart of our experience, whether through your personal trainer, Pilates instructor or group classes. You will see that we will rely on this.
How will the looming recession affect luxury gyms?
Despite the uncertain global economic outlook in 2023, the luxury brand remains undaunted.
“Last year was very strong and we are confident that we will continue to see excellent results. At the end of the day, ensuring it boils down to the value we are providing to the club and is what will continue to drive our success,” added De Korte.
The firm added that it was on track to return to pre-pandemic growth levels in 2024.