1) Nike’s training pop-up gives customers the tools to “Just Do It.”

What happened

  • Nike Plus members and those with the Nike Training Club app can now visit a training pop-up in Los Angeles until mid-August and workout with professional athletes. Celebrating 30 years of the “Just Do It” campaign, visitors to the pop-up can also enjoy workout meals both before and after fitness and shop Nike products in house.

Why it matters

  • In its quest to preserve its top position in the sports apparel industry, Nike has recently launched a number of initiatives, from Unlaced—a sneakerhead haven for women—to athletic wear for minorities. The training pop-up is a perfect marriage of Nike the company and Nike the brand, as it provides a space for its most loyal customers to do what they love.
  • Not only is the pop-up experience-based, but training alongside professional athletes gives Nike Plus members exclusive access to their idols, which will likely cultivate a emotional connection between customers and the Nike brand. While Nike launched its NBA Connected line in September 2017 that allows shoppers to scan a code on their jerseys to access exclusive content from their favorite basketball players and teams, the training pop-up is much more hands-on, and turns a passive fan into an active member of Nike’s world. Plus, Nike plans to debut a new podcast and launch an app, Nike Training Club Pro, for fitness professionals, which will connect them with industry experts for advice and give discounts on select Nike products.
  • Even as Nike continues to heavily invests in digital sales, the pop-up and Nike Soho—which combines a brick-and-mortar store with virtual reality, basketball courts, soccer turfs and product customization—illustrates that the company still sees offline as a big business driver.

2) Rimowa tries out direct-to-consumer after 120 years.

What happened

  • Along with its new logo, products, monogram, packaging and brand voice, Rimowa recently debuted its first ecommerce store in Europe, which will be followed by a U.S. site in September. Moving from wholesale to a direct-to-consumer model, the legacy luggage brand will also integrate its offline and online inventory strategies and steer customers to a unique set of services, including repairs and one-hour delivery.

Why it matters

  • Founded in 1898, Rimowa’s grooved aluminum suitcases are iconic in the luggage industry. But the company has lagged behind and lost ground, especially with the rise of digitally-native, direct-to-consumer brands. According to the company, Rimowa will continue to prioritize “the luxury experience” over speed, and will aim to do so in the digital realm by focusing more on customer service and telling its story online to connect with younger customers.
  • Since 2016, Rimowa has been under the umbrella of LVMH, which has collected a wide range of expertise from dealing with its 70 companies. But the luxury conglomerate has largely floundered in the digital arena, with many of its brands entering ecommerce only in the past one or two years. Notably, the advertising agency R/GA built Rimowa’s new site—evidence that LVMH did not want or did not have the resources to take on the digitization efforts itself.
  • Especially with its higher price points and heritage status, Rimowa has its work cut out to preserve a place in the growing luggage market, particularly since most other products cost significantly less money and launched with a digital brand presence instead of having to build one. Even with added fervor for travel, consumers need a good reason to purchase a $650 to $1000 suitcase. The Rimowa transformation is also a test for LVMH, and the luggage company’s success will help elucidate how the parent company manages its luxury brands in the 21st century.

3) Instagram launches IGTV—YouTube answers with fashion and beauty content partnerships.

What happened

  • IGTV, a new feature on Instagram that also exists as a standalone app, lets users post long-form videos to their followers. The videos—shot vertically for optimized viewing pleasure—can be a maximum of one hour in length for larger accounts, but the vast majority of users can post videos that last at least ten minutes.
  • Less than a week after IGTV’s debut, YouTube announced a new division—new fashion and beauty partnerships—spearheaded by Derek Blasberg, a fashion and style editor. The department will be devoted to building relationships with fashion and beauty brands and influencers with the hope that they will choose YouTube as their preferred platform to engage fans and consumers.

Why it matters

  • IGTV enters YouTube territory, offering a long-form version of Instagram Live and Instagram Story. It also comes with a number of upgrades. For one, opening up the dedicated IGTV app immediately starts streaming video content based on a user’s followers and interests, unlike YouTube, which requires viewers to search for content first. Because videos can be shot directly from a smartphone, IGTV also provides a more intimate viewing experience on a handheld device as opposed to a desktop. Like some of the most successful live video exploits, IGTV doesn’t necessitate a high level of production expertise, which both frees up content creators to experiment and strikes viewers as more authentic.
  • YouTube’s move echoes Instagram’s decision in 2015 to hire a fashion editor to cultivate fashion partnerships with the platform. But instead of playing catch up, YouTube should hone its unique advantages, especially now that IGTV is available. Though off-the-cuff, unpolished content comes with its own advantages that Instagram can reap, there is still a place for YouTube’s higher-quality tutorials and other videos. The site has 1.8 billion unique monthly viewers to Instagram’s 1 billion and continues to attract younger demographics.

4) SoulCycle turns to media to supplement its brand and confront its competitors.

What happened

  • The media division, which hired industry professionals from Vox, Glamour and Mashable, will delve into music, video, audio and events, bringing SoulCycle to various platforms. The goal is to amplify the products and services that SoulCycle already offers while disseminating its brand.

Why it matters

  • The announcement of the media brand comes less than a month after SoulCycle withdrew its IPO—a decision that the company said would be followed by paying off debt and creating more studios.
  • Since SoulCycle originally registered to go public in 2015, another cycling brand—Peloton—has zoomed to the forefront with a brand predicated on media; customers pay for access to more than 5,000 on-demand live stream classes and each biker can track her metrics alongside others who have taken the class.
  • It’s likely SoulCycle hopes that growing awareness for its brand will help preserve its own existence beyond a cult-like exercise trend with new competitors. Finding new ways to acquire customers and inspire existing ones to take more classes outside of the studio may also be necessary given the company’s evasion of a membership model and classes, which customers can’t participate in at home. SoulCycle’s parent company, Equinox, is also expanding its presence with luxury, fitness-oriented hotels—outside-the-box thinking that SoulCycle can learn from.