When Michael Bruggeman, CEO and founder of Organic Male OM4, wanted to bring attention to the eco-friendly men’s line, it took only a good night’s sleep to plant the seed of an idea—to partner with Sports Club/LA (SCLA)—that would do just that. “It actually was a dream that I had one night and proposed in a letter to Eric Ricard, former national spa and retail director at Millennium Partners Sports Club Management, titled, ‘Brilliant Idea or Harebrained Scheme?,’” says Bruggeman. “The goal was to increase market exposure to the line and increase sales in an innovative way.” Fortunately, the idea was deemed more brilliant than harebrained, and a collaboration soon ensued between the fitness club and OM4. After a few meetings with Ricard and his marketing team, a promotional contest took shape.
Essentially, the contest encouraged SCLA members of six clubs that carry OM4 to share how the club helps them maintain an organic lifestyle. Participants were required to submit a photo of themselves engaged in one of their favorite healthy activities along with a short essay detailing how they rely on the club and its amenities to prepare for their favorite activities, enhance their mind-body connections, optimize their healthy eating habits, or rejuvenate their skin. After the entries were posted via a Facebook landing page, each submission was placed in a special album that was created for the contest on each club’s Facebook page. Facebook fans were then able to comment on the photos and choose their favorites. One of the goals was to encourage interaction among fans and provide advice from SCLA experts on healthy living. The folks at SCLA then selected a winner from each club, who received quarterly facials at SCLA, a professional photo shoot, and a year’s supply of OM4 products as a prize.
To promote the contest, SCLA notified members with flyers, cards, and posters in the club and also through email and social media campaigns. In addition, SCLA reached out to the press and spread the news through its reception staff and spa staff. OM4 also promoted the contest on Facebook, Twitter, and its website. “Club members were involved on multiple levels, increasing product line visibility significantly,” says Bruggeman. “Before, you would have only seen OM4 in the spa, and now it was becoming part of the workout vernacular.”
Unfortunately, no contest is without its challenges. In this case, it was imperative that photo usage rights be spelled out. The contest was also labor-intensive in regards to the promotion that went into it. “While very creative and engaging, it was resource-intensive on both parties,” says Bruggeman. However, it all paid off in the end with noticeable increases in the treatment-to-service- sales ratio, as well as retail sales. “For all intents and purposes, sales have increased dramatically in terms of our wholesale numbers from before to after the contest,” says Bruggeman.
As a result of the promotion’s success, Bruggeman has kept the innovative partnership ideas flowing and has since participated in a beer tasting in which the brew master and he discussed the importance of selecting the right ingredients in microbrewing and microblending the perfect product. Another successful partnership involved co-sponsoring an event with Keystone Lodge and Spa (CO) and the National Repertory Orchestra in which a world- class pianist was flown in to perform in the spa. “The meet-the-artist reception was held in the spa and brought new awareness and customers to the spa who never even knew it existed, plus the desire to support a business that gives back to the community.” At Equinox and resorts with health clubs and personal trainers, the company offers incentives for personal trainers who make referrals for spa services and product sales. “In the Sports Club/LA example, the marketing and increase in sales occurred as a result of club members being exposed to the brand through the contest,” says Bruggeman. “The signage throughout the clubs announcing the contest and Facebook engagement were key contributors to the campaign’s success. In the instance of the Keystone partnership, The Keystone Lodge and Spa and OM4 brands were introduced in the context of community support, which appeals to today’s consumer’s desire to patronize socially responsible brands. Although arts and lifestyle events appeal to both men and women, women are still key influencers instrumental in the quest to help men understand the importance of skincare.”