Winnie Kao leads marketing communications at Flite, an advertising startup funded by Sequoia Capital. The thoughts here are her own.


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What Your Homepage Says About You — Brand Messaging on Lululemon

As a retailer, your homepage is your front door. 

This is especially true if you are selling to women: In the US, 78% of women use the internet for product information before making a purchase, and a third do research online with the specific intent of buying in store.[1]

Therefore, it’s important that your website is as reflective of your brand as your brick-and-mortar stores are.

There are certain elements — copy, imagery, content — on websites that overtly and covertly communicate your brand values and personality.  Is what your customer sees aligned with what you want to say?

Lululemon

The homepage for Lulu Lemon hits you with a big carousel image.  The aesthetic is clean, bright, understated.

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At first glance, the copy is intriguing but a bit confusing.  Picasso smiling?  But then you read the sub-copy, “Come make sweat art with us” and it makes sense. 

The sweat ink blot wasn’t just clever — it achieved the purpose of directing your attention toward the tank top that created the stain — and it happens to be a design that is fairly unique to the brand.

Upon clicking, the story from the front page continues with the same image and person doing yoga.

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There’s an obvious preppiness that you expect from a brand popular with sorority girls. 

But there’s also an unexpected sense of athleticism and a tiny bit of grittiness (see the sweat stains) that appeals to women in an upper-middle income bracket who have to deal with real life but look good doing it. 

The balance in brand messaging is developed through a few ways:

Font: The serif font is traditional, and white text color is crisp.

Colors: Continuity from the landing page.  Friendly and optimistic.  Maple wood is clean and fresh compared to darker wood, such as mahogany, that tends to feel sophisticated, rich, and traditional.

Copy: Spiritual yet tough.  ”Who we are on the mat is who we are off the mat” speaks to both the calm serenity that yogis may feel in the studio, and to the real-world assertiveness required outside of yoga.

Image content: The same woman from the homepage is doing a pose that looks like it takes effort to hold.  Her toes are digging into the mat and it looks like she’s lunging forward in a controlled, athletic way.  This stands out against other yoga clothing sites that focus on women lightly jogging, lounging, or doing a typical downward dog.

Lululemon challenges their customers to be confident and strong both on and off the yoga mat, and they do it in a voice that is encouraging and empowering.

Use copy to express personality:

Lulu Lemon strategically uses language that’s a bit off-the-cuff to create a playful and down-to-earth vibe.

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Landing page real estate tells customers what you care about:

1/2 of the main carousel and 2/5 tiles below the fold are about upcoming events — that’s serious homepage real estate dedicated to non-product ideas. 

In today’s social world, customers increasingly demand to be part of the conversation and will hold it against brands who only want to promote themselves.

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Stay tuned for Part II and III about Lucy and Athleta.

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/winniekao

Source: [1] Millward Brown Intelliquest via Inc Magazine, The Six Costliest Mistakes You Can Make in Marketing to Women