Recently, my beloved Peloton announced a partnership with a very high-profile influencer. And it has me annoyed, disappointed, and a bit perplexed from a brand strategy perspective.
Peloton has been in the news lately for its financial woes. Its revenues have tumbled and experts are forecasting the end of the brand that surged during the pandemic. As gyms open again, cheaper competitors emerge, and folks find alternate ways of getting their fitness itch scratched, Peloton kind of had nowhere to go but down.
I, for one, adore the brand and everything it has to offer. So, yeah, I’m biased. Peloton not only got me through the pandemic lockdown, but I have come to view my favorite instructors (Cody, Christine, Jess King, and my newest love, Robin Arzón) as family. Oh, that crazy Cody! What will he be gossiping about today?!
Brands are powerful when they tell a compelling and genuine story. Peloton made its name by standing for inner strength and beauty. By showing us that no matter where we are on our fitness journey, we can achieve. We can find comfort in community. We can love ourselves, no matter our size. And fitness is available to all. Peloton focused on strength and loving yourself for who you are and where you are, no matter what.
And then they partnered with Kim Kardashian.
Now, I know Kim is an acquired taste. And while I admire her business savvy, I loathe the reality show chaos that shows like hers and others have wrought on our society. The shallowness, The consumerism. The distraction from important issues that need serious attention.
Don’t @me. I appreciate guilty pleasures as much as the next person. But Kim Kardashian represents the absolute antithesis to Peloton’s brand story. She is known for cosmetically altering herself in the name of some societal definition of beauty. Get butt implants! Change your face so you don’t even look like yourself!
If you’re a Kardashian fan, this is not about hating on Kim. This is about a poor brand alignment decision on the part of Peloton. How can a brand that stands for accepting your inner beauty and strength partner with someone who is a brand synonym for surgical enhancement? It just doesn’t make any sense. And it tarnishes Peloton’s authentic message of loving yourself as you are.
Your brand needs to stick to its values and story when making every decision. That includes deciding on influencer partners. Beware of choosing the right ones! (TWEET THIS!)
Peloton usually hits the mark on its collaborations. And I still love them. I’m just slightly disappointed in them as I would be my 8-year-old when he lies about being on his iPad. Brand lovers of Peloton expect more.