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Kohl’s rolls out mat for mobile social in fitness takeover

Kohl’s is ramping up efforts to bridge the gap between the retail world and the fitness sector by partnering with popular bloggers and instructors to provide workout tips on the retailer’s social media channels, in a bid to drive sales of its expanded active wear offerings.

The retailer is partnering with yoga mom duo Two Fit Moms for a social media takeover to promote its launch of the Gaiam workout line in stores nationwide. The duo will post exclusive tips for beginner and advanced yoga fans on Kohl’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts to engage with customers and promote the clothing line, with the retailer also planning to gift a yoga DVD to any consumer that purchases two Gaiam apparel products online or in-store.

“Social media is a terrific platform to connect with fitness enthusiasts because fitness and health have really become a social and community exercise of late,” said Matthew Bretzius, vice president, FischTank Marketing and PR, New York. “You’ve got people using various apps where they can log their daily achievements and share out to their social networks for support and even bragging rights.

“It’s a great way for people to seek out advice, share goals, and find other people to work out with – it’s like having the ultimate support group connected in the palm of your hand.”

Leveraging partnerships
Kohl’s has been placing an increased focus on leveraging partnerships with social media influencers to help ramp up awareness of new clothing lines it will be carrying online and in-store. Gaiam, a yoga and fitness company, has designed a collection exclusively for Kohl’s, with items priced from $30 to $65.

The Two Fit Moms partnership will place the popular duo, comprised of Laura Kasperzak and Masumi Goldman, as the faces of the brand. The mothers will also encourage mobile users to get fit and provide tips via Kohl’s social media networks.

“Social media is where today’s fitness crowd announces their #goals – from #workoutgoals to #squatgoals,” said Adam Padilla, president and chief creative officer of BrandFire, New York. “The climate on most social platforms is one of encouragement, and that only helps to connect savvy fitness brands with positivity and motivation.

“Fitness is a daily, almost hourly endeavor.” he said. “People work out at all times of day or night.

“Social media empowers people to give the world real time updates on their workouts and progress.”

Kohl’s will offer a yoga training DVD by the Moms to consumers that purchase two Gaiam apparel pieces through its store, in an effort to bring yoga to more homes across the nation.

The brand has also partnered with blogger network FitFluential to boost Kohl’s push for wellness on mobile-friendly platforms. The retailer is teaming up with a set of new bloggers each quarter to disseminate inspiration, motivation and tips via social media posts and videos.

“The FitFluential partnership should be a positive one for Kohl’s,” Mr. Bretzius said. “It’s always great when a brand aligns itself in a way to promote social good and provide services that benefit its consumers without a focus on sales and bottom line.

“Fitness and healthy lifestyle are big topics right now, especially within our nation’s young people, so the efforts from Kohl’s to help promote that while providing the tools needed to achieve it will be looked at positively.”

Heavy social presence
The brand has been gearing up for a heavy presence on social media so that it may resonate more with on-the-go consumers, especially those who may not be aware of the variety of products that Kohl’s carries. Social media is particularly effective for fitness enthusiasts, as well as beginners who prefer to consume bite-sized pieces of content while easing into their training.

Kohl’s is also the department store partner for The Color Run, enabling the retailer to serve as the packet pick-up destination for participants in more than 100 cities nationwide (see story). The brand is demonstrating its commitment to wellness by launching the Make Your Move initiative and encouraging social media users to follow the conversation via the #MakeYourMove hashtag as FitFluential bloggers offer tips for fitness and relevant purchases.

“If a brand provides actual value with their content and the content stays on mission, they should absolutely have strong social media presence,” Mr. Padilla said. “If the content is random, it is just annoying and will result in people clicking the ‘unfollow’ button in droves.

“If the content is relevant but not a real value to the consumer, it will be perceived as SPAM marketing and will hurt the company’s overall brand perception. Tread carefully and follow the old social media maxim: If you can’t say anything valuable, don’t say anything at all!”

“I think it’s important for any business to have a social media presence, whether you’re a major retailer or not,” FischTank’s Mr. Bretzius said. “Consumers love being able to interact with the companies from which they buy goods and services, and social media allows us that direct access we’ve never had before.

“Including non-product related information like lifestyle tips just adds an element that will keep your consumer coming back to engage you more,” he said. “Then it starts to feel less like one-sided marketing and more like a two-way conversation, which adds a personal element that consumers love.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York