Alo Yoga, an athletic performance brand, sells high-end athleisure and accessories. Founded in 2007 as a California-based apparel line for yoga enthusiasts, Alo Yoga quickly established itself with a reputation for well-made clothing, in addition to a strong interest in their clientele’s personal exercise-related growth.
Inspired by a mix of on-trend and high-quality clothes, the brand reflects a lifestyle of those that are active and healthy with an interest in not only yoga, but other types of exercise such as Pilates, barre and cardio activities.
The target market for this brand is men and women who put their clothing comfort and quality at the forefront of their exercise practice. Because the brand transcends yoga and is applicable to a variety of exercise genres, fans of the brand are found beyond the yoga mat.
After examining the brand’s Instagram account last week, I tried to approach this week as an objective observer with social movements and behavior, influencing audiences and engagement in mind.
The first thing I noticed was there were almost twice as many posts as last week. These posts were also static photos, in comparison to the videos last week.
The most engaged post featured a renowned yoga teacher moving through a flow via video. This post featured the highest interaction and view rate at over 100,000. I noted that the simple text and readability supported the niemanlab.org article in that it most likely contributed to the increase in engagement and reach.
I was also interested in uncovering this brand’s involvement in positive or negative social media movements and decided to take a different approach other than continuing to review the week’s posts. Instead wanted to look at the posts from a contentious time in the brand’s history, May 2018.
In May 2018, the internet community and Alo Yoga showcased the complications that can arise between the calming art of yoga when social media and moral outrage cross paths with complicated business practices.
I was peripherally aware of the ongoing negative press from this particular situation but decided to dig deeper as an objective observer of the brand’s Instagram account. At the beginning of the year, a yoga teacher/brand ambassador committed a breach of contract and was sued by the brand which resulted in a counter-suit and ultimately settled out of court.
What was born of the situation, however, was even more interesting and applicable this week’s readings. The yoga community, which is at its core promotes peace and non-violence, immediately began reaching out and taking sides online, creating a social media movement. I reviewed the brand’s Instagram account in the timeframe of the litigious events (March 2018) and was genuinely surprised at the outrage exhibited by this community.
In line with this week’s Nature.com article, the yoga community began to exhibit moral outrage when their norm was violated. Additionally, the collective behaviorism was exhibited when the contagious outrage spread.
The controversy between a brand ambassador and a lawsuit from a company that was founded on high morals caused a division within the yoga community. Instagram was the social media platform of choice for other Alo Yoga ambassadors acknowledging the unrest via Instagram posts—often without addressing the situation directly and instead posting peaceful messages. This was obviously a different industry and audience than that of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter which only proved to me that social media movements can come in all shapes and sizes.
The scandal eventually died down, and in reviewing the past week’s post, I couldn’t find anything that related to the social media movement from March. Which also made me think about its effectiveness and social benefits. Something that I noted that I had respect for the brand for doing was keeping their contention posts public and visible instead of deleting negative comments about the brand the community’s thoughts on the handling of this scandal.
Compared to other social movements, and considering the audience here, I was amused. This had to be one of the most peaceful arguments on social media which one follower commented ‘would most likely end in a virtual group hug.’ I will continue to monitor for mention of this social media movement and have a different perspective after learning the theories behind the behaviors.
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