Lululemon Athletica and Its Environment in Terms of Nonmarket Strategies


Purpose of the research

Every business has its origins and history; sometimes it seems possible to repeat the success achieved by a certain company in terms of strategic decisions and an appropriate approach. As a rule, the strategy and the positioning of a real business in its market and nonmarket can be analyzed in order to gain experience in the area of business with regard to market and nonmarket of different companies.

History of Lululemon Athletica and areas of business

The company lululemon athletica inc. is a “yoga-inspired apparel for healthy living” (lululemon, 2010). This company was founded in Vancouver in British Columbia in 1998. The lululemon is specialized in clothes for sports; it “makes technical clothing for yoga, dancing, running, and most other sweaty pursuits” (lululemon, 2010). As the first retail space of the company was shared with the yoga studio, it gave a great number of ideas concerning the strategies in introducing new products in the market. Now the lululemon is a retail store which sells sports products.

The first step of this company in the market of sports wear were made under the name of ‘athletically hip’ which gave an original logo to the lululemon. The first store was created in order to give customers an opportunity to share their experience of training and discuss different aspects of physical health in terms of living a life full of energy. Nowadays the lululemon is engaged into the production of comfortable clothes for sports and yoga, various products, suchlike bags, mats, and other equipment which may facilitate sport activities. The company encourages its employees to live a healthy life to be able to help other people and to inspire people from the community, family, and customers to live active lives.

Nonmarket Environment and Four I’s

First of all, lululemon Athletica Inc. is the company that found its destination in providing a healthy way of life through the sphere of human modern interests. Its main direction is keeping people (customers) fit by means of high-quality sports clothes for yoga, dancing, and other types of active way of spending time. Dennis “Chip” Wilson, the president of the company, made lululemon the whole religion not solely for the personnel in numerous stores and showrooms across the North America. He dared do this to the audience of target category of customers, i.e. women and men trying to ask for more in life. However, the main approach is to reconsider the role of a woman’s health (lululemon, 2010).

Public perception


Wilcox and Antenhagen (2007) outline in their study that lululemon is a challenging company that is constantly increasing its public offering with currently 150 million revenues annually up to 200 million planned to be reached out in the short run for its stores in the US and Canada. However, this significant aspect of the company’s activity gains success only because all from the president up to consultants are inclined to satisfy the need in sport and yoga. In this respect Susan Moran (2006) identified the strengths of lululemon through the title of her The New York Times article, namely “Meditate on this: Yoga is Big Business.” Hence, one admits that nonmarket environment is the main prospect for lululemon’s success.


For instance, yoga is the main incentive that a customer can try up in the store. Among 200 stores across Canada and the United States there is no single store without a showroom for yoga classes. It is like McDonald’s (to make it clear and precise) where one can have an idea of constant products and services in spite of the location. Hence, lululemon and yoga have become as one. This brand shows the exhaustive information on what it proposes off. A yoga-inspired company relates its activity mainly to producing women athletic apparel (Moran, 2006). In this respect mats, skin-care and other yoga-related enticements are taken into account as lululemon brands.


Pro-active way of life among women gives the company more appreciation from all around America. It means that the company has successfully chosen a pro-Western category of customers who share not to dress athletically but to act in the same way. Such combination of two constituents gave the company a great opportunity to find out the most applicable ways for public perception. Beginning with the manifesto of the company, one can infer that everything concerning lululemon is of great use to health. In turn it allows the board of the company to prove their capacity in satisfying desires of the most active customers and those who are constantly attempting to look nice.


Another example of how the company perceives the up-and-coming trends in the society is dancing clubs in the same places where a store is situated. To remind, all yogi and dance instructors are supposed to get through sufficient certification (lululemon, 2010). However, one may fairly presume that without primordial skills in yoga and dancing and fitness as such many people get shamed to join the circles of lululemon attendees. Most of the women cannot make the right decision. However, the company stepped forward in this case by creating guest education centers (GECs) at each retail store (lululemon, 2010). Such an approach helps the company fix the main barriers in encouraging people to join this community of healthy people.

Public politics


Needless to say, that the senior team management does everything possible to run the gamut of their lobbying cultivating the use of yoga through massive approach. Step by step, the company’s growth is imminent. Annual reports state on constantly progressing rates of revenues gained. The successful formula that had been chosen once by the founder, Chip Wilson, presupposes entrepreneurship. In this respect entrepreneurial type of relationships gives rise to the growth of each retail store independently. Hence, in sum, all stores contribute into the growth of the company’s stable and upward growth.


The company, as has been aforementioned, directs its products for distinctly active women. However, it does not mean that yoga is for progressive youth only. Junkin (2007) made a survey on the age categories of women who practice yoga on a regular base. The author hereby amplifies that Hatha yoga has become the most popular in North America and is practiced mainly by middle-aged women (Junkin, 2007). Exactly, women of this age category are constantly attending stores and showrooms referred to lululemon.


The public politics of lululemon is considered with the main idea of lobbying. Thereupon, different studies (there is a huge amount of pro-yoga published sources in North America today) provide a scope of benefits coming from yoga practice. Kurland (2006) identified practicing yoga regularly helps to “heal, balance, and optimize digestion, bone density, breath capacity, and endocrine functions” (1). The study reported by Stokes and Adams (2008) outlines that wellness approach is one of the main among Canadian neoliberal politics, such as Robert Crawford. Such a responsibility to place healthiest theory as the main approach for population longevity is arranged within lululemon.

Regulatory scrutiny

Another perspective that is seen by the court of regulatory scrutiny in the company is concerned with physical mentoring. Not to beat about the bush, the company integrates each year more ambassadors who can lead clients toward progress in health. The study reported by Moffitt (2007) shares an opinion on lululemon’s intensive implication of instructors:

Each year, the company looks for a new group of 5 to 10 unique individuals per store location that embrace the lifestyle it promotes: “helping people to lead happier, healthier and more fun lives.” The company has anointed 250 ambassadors annually with a secondary group of 17,000 registered R&D participants (or 325 per store location) (19).

However difficult or “unique” the characters and temperaments of new employee, the company moves mentoring in a straightforward phase. Moreover, the construct applied to the outlook and internal culture of the personnel within the empire of the company also makes lululemon different. In this case it is vital to admit that an ability to communicate is included as the main strategy to encourage with new and current clients. Hence, a “word-of-mouth approach” is concerned with allowing different media to use company’s images and names and addressing to the current community of lululemon’s followers in the form of a gospel (Moffit, 2007).


The corporate social responsibility of lululemon Athletica is determined by its relation to the environmental and health prospects that can lead people toward better life. In this respect the company donated 35 yoga mats in Saskatoon to assist in researching exercise and self-esteem model (EXSEM) (Junkin, 2007, p. 1). Moreover, showrooms at stores provide classes on meditation that help customers relax and feel free in choosing what they like: tattered sweatpants, tanks, or wet-and-dry warm shorts (Bergamotto, 2008). The staff of the company also gets through the stage of socializing and digging into the peculiarities of their work. It is a strict rule in the company as for mandatory meditation in daylight and voluntarily contemplation after work. Thus, the example of lululemon points out the fact that “yoga has moved into a much broader marketplace” (Moran, 2006, p. 2).


The company took notice to the idea of sponsoring Olympics in Vancouver this year. Thus, it should be able to follow the standards of sportswear appropriate for such high rank of sportsmen. On the other hand, the main interest covers the idea of making people healthier and freer in going in for sports and practicing yoga, particularly.


Main institutions that took an active part in providing Canadian sportsmen with high-quality apparel were lululemon Athletica (natch!) and Olympic committee as well as the Department of Healthcare of Canada. The combination of these institutions made possible to achieve higher results of the Canadian select team.


Moreover, corporate social responsibility is felt in all retail store, for each of them recommends visitors to try a new way toward energizing life with new emotions and self-satisfaction at large. Information on the company is spread through ambassadors at stores and influencers in mass media. It means that lululemon Athletica is firm because of its principle to be in touch with customers if not orally, then, by means of straightforward participation in meditation and doing yoga exercises. In fact, here is the example of an effective marketing and managerial tricks. On the one hand, the company gives information on its brands and currently sold items. It provides a theoretical approach for a customer. It is clear that the issues it produces are for sport and health improvement. T-shirts, tanks, pants, and other apparel are made of quality materials that are applicable in contact with skin.

Integrated strategy

Integrated strategy of the company is exposed bilaterally, through market and nonmarket strategies. Based on the example of lululemon, the way to success should absorb the reality within the society. To be precise, it is known that a man is a biosocial creature. A man develops physiologically as well as socially (when placed in the society). Thus, the psychosocial approach takes place in the market strategy going through the nonmarket implication. The sincerity of such intentions and its proof in the society gives grounds to increase outcomes of a company.

Having heard something peculiar about lululemon, he/she decides on visiting a store (if it is located within easy reach). If this is not that ostensive to a customer, there are in-store classes of yoga. Thus, one can check clothes (fitting, quality, effect) in practice. To say more, the winning positioning of lululemon is that it makes customers unintentionally get involved in the world of yoga as a way to healthy life. As a result, customers get satisfaction from communication with staff, instructors, and yogis. They keep fit and visiting stores becomes a mandatory habit within their working schedule. In response, the company gets positive feedbacks implied in perpetual revenues.

The failure to succeed lies usually in inability of the senior staff to define current tendencies in the society. Financial lucre should not be set on the top of a company’s priorities. It is irrational, in fact. Moreover, using the way lululemon introduces itself publicly, it is a good example of how to use information space t promote a brand. It is especially significant in modern post-industrial society with its main product, i.e. information. If it is fitness apparel, the Influencers should state on the design and technological renovations that makes it different from rivals. This should be to the view and on everyone’s lips. Only by implementing such formalized advertisement, the company can pretend expanding its boundaries in the short and in the long run. Moreover, donation of branded products or other valued attributes of the company can facilitate the intervention program. Thus, it would emphasize the social value of the company and positive feedbacks on the part of individual and customers directly.

Leaders’ Responsibility

As leaders are an important part of groups, their responsibilities should be clearly defined as well as the goals of the teams and methods applied to achieve certain goals. To succeed in the project planning, it is necessary to apply specific management approaches and techniques to develop a set of skills and talents. Indeed, numerous organizations make a gross mistake by allowing their best technicians and computer managers to handle different projects. Such actions are predetermined by false presumptions that those employees who have a brilliant command of programming, researching, and engineering can be engaged in the project administration. Therefore, developing management skills require a person to master written and oral communicational skills, good organizational and general administration skills. This person should be an inborn leader with natural aptitudes for controlling and tackling difficult situations (Heldman, 2003, p. 32).


Though the “strategic sales program is currently limited to yoga, Pilates, fitness studios and spa/wellness centers with a fitness component” (” (lululemon, 2010, strategic sales faq), it is necessary to mention that the company provides its employees with all necessary products for they could test those during the in-store yoga classes as well as customers. As the most productive way to persuade customers in the quality and effectiveness of definite products is to demonstrate these features in practise, the lululemon company can be considered rather successful in terms of implemented nonmarket strategies. Integrated market and nonmarket strategies are created and carried out by the group of sufficient employees.

Research and development team is aimed at appreciating and evaluating the work of instructors and trainers that conduct classes of yoga or Pilates in stores of the company. As participation is one of the most important principles of the integrated nonmarket strategy, it is necessary for the consultants in stores to know how the products work and be able to help the customers in choosing the most appropriate variant. Moreover, the research and development team provides the company with athletes that can test their products and give an adequate feedback with regard to fabrics, quality, and function of athletic clothes.


Accountants, lawyers, spokespersons and consultants are an integral part of the large team of the lululemon. As the company was aimed at yoga and training from the very beginning, it turned out to be necessary to engage consultants who would work with customers in terms of advising them what technique to use and what clothes would fit them better. A person that is “a yoga, pilates, fitness, dance instructor, or personal trainer” (lululemon, 2010, r&d team) can visit the nearest store of the company and find a job in the research and development team of the lululemon.

Another example of integrated nonmarket strategies is the statement on community legacies, which claim that “through personal responsibility, we change the world by changing how the world does business” (lululemon, 2010, community legacies). Individual actions of every employee are shared by the members of the whole team but, primary, the responsibility is assumed by every separate member. Thus, the company introduces different kinds of responsibility where people can take personal responsibility to change something in their communities, or employees can participate in partnership programs.

The leadership is an integral part of every formal group because every formal group or team should have a leader (manager) that would direct the actions of the group members to reach certain goals defined by the company’s managerial staff. As a rule, lululemon provides its workers with an opportunity to act initiatively and share responsibility for their actions.


The non-market forces including “interest groups, activists, and the public, in addition to government … are part of a non-economic strategy system that operates on the basis of social, political and legal forces that interact in the non-market environment of the firm” (Keegan & Schlegelmilch, 2001, p.329). The lululemon is dealing with activists in terms of engaging Pilates, yoga, and fitness trainers into the programs because the initial concept of the lululemon presupposes that the company should demonstrate its products in practise and inspire customers to do the same.

The company connects itself to health and yoga and incorporates a number of unique elements in its practices to make itself distinct: special in-store events; complimentary filtered water; treats for dogs; health, nutrition and exercise information; breast self-examination instructions; symbols of Hinduism; unique language; and, non-traditional advertising techniques (Stokes, 2008, pp.9-10).

As a rule, such leadership competencies as ethics, intellectual capacity, and maturity are considered fundamental ones; new employees should shape their skills in order to gain more job experiences in terms of successive levels. The training process should be aimed at developing leadership skills and other skills and experience that can appear helpful while day-to-day maintenance and interactions between members of groups. Though the effectiveness of training programs cannot always be appreciated by learners at once in the course of the training process, the impact of the learning process on productivity can scarcely be overestimated.

The lululemon had to propagate their vision of healthy and active lifestyle among their member staff; this concept became predominant in the company and the lululemon manifesto is the brightest evidence to the development of the healthy life ideas among the employees. The manifesto contains recommendations on the ways people in the company should act in everyday life and while making decisions and defining the long-term and short-term goals.


The company has a great number of retail stores which play the role of communication centers for the representatives of the lululemon athletica interact with customers via these stores. Lululemon ambassadors are known as people, “local athletes, instructors and/or role models in our communities where there is a lululemon store that embody the lululemon lifestyle” (lululemon, 2010, FAQ) that help to test the products and give their feedback in terms of quality and preferences of the athletic clothing. As the responsibility division suggests two variants of sharing responsibility, according to Corey & Corey (2006, pp.164-165), a leader can share responsibility of the goals and results reached by the group or can be responsible only for his/her independent actions. In terms of this division, the lululemon is the company with teams and leaders which assume the total share of responsibility and create an appropriate atmosphere for customers and newcomers.


Every business has its environment which includes market and nonmarket strategies that are aimed at promoting the company in the market and developing its resources to the full extent. As a rule, the strategic issues are planned by groups of project managers that assume the total share of responsibility for defining and reaching goals with regard to the methods chosen to do that. Some companies fail to implement appropriate strategies into their business, while others, suchlike lululemon Athletica Inc. succeed in using integrated market and nonmarket strategies.

As the nonmarket environment presupposes the functioning of public perception, public politics, suchlike lobbying, regulatory changes, or inviting athletes to participate in testing of new products, and court or regulatory scrutiny, it is necessary to take into account the importance of the customers’ adequate feedback on the design, function, and appropriateness of athletic clothing in terms of fabrics and quality. The public perception was reached by the lululemon through engaging customers in stores to participate in yoga classes and trying the products in practise. In addition, people are encouraged to lead healthy lives when they have a great number of facilities to fulfill their desires.

The community legacies at lululemon are aimed at propagating the initiative manner of acting and making decisions; this strategy concerns the responsibility shared by each separate member of the company and the team as the whole. The company succeeds in using integrated strategies and benefits from using market and nonmarket strategies because the company does not just introduce the options but also demonstrate the ways they can be used. It is important that the stores of the company have consultants that follow the company’s manifesto and try to inspire people around to live more healthy and active lives. The lululemon can be considered a successful entrepreneurship in terms of using integrated market and nonmarket strategies.


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