I had never taken a spin class. So I was a little confused why our game plan was to get up at sunrise on Sunday morning and drive a half hour to a studio when there was a great Lifetime Fitness just 5 minutes away. Not to mention the $34 outlay for the class!
My brother corrected me: “It isn’t spin, it’s flywheel. It’s intense and you compete so prepare for defeat.” Spin class turned into a competitive sport. That made a little more sense given our history, but I still had no idea what to expect until I walked into the “stadium” and was guided by an “usher” onto my bike. I strapped in and prepared for the 45 minute instructor-led workout of intervals, simulated hills and sprints. The lights went down, music cranked up and I officially got pedaled into the ground. Over 800 calories burned later, I had a clear sense of why this new fitness concept is growing explosively and providing some real competition for indoor cycling incumbents like Soul Cycle.
They crush the customer experience! From the studio design, to the stadium concept, to the way they incorporate technology, they deliver on the next level. Here is a little overview from co-founder Ruth Zukerman.
Pretty fly! The strategy behind the explosive growth isn’t rocket science. In fact, a few of their moves can be applied to jump-start any brand or business. The challenge, of course, lies in consistent execution. Here is what they are getting right:
Embrace Continuous Reinvention
Flywheel is a “spin off” of Soul Cycle, literally. The effort to improve and differentiate the experience is clearly paying off. They took a powerful concept and differentiated the experience enough to carve out their own loyal and rapidly expanding tribe of enthusiasts. Unique to Flywheel is something called the TorqBoard, which measures resistance (“Torq”), cadence (“RPMs”), and current and overall power output. Instructors guide you through the “race,” suggesting the right Torq to intensify or ease the workout. Tou are provided metrics the entire ride. It’s a different kind of fitness experience and it works!
They are also expanding their classes to include FlyBarre, a toning workout, as well as new variations on the core workout. Great, sustainable companies have the ability to execute and evolve simultaneously. It’s far better strategy to work on disrupting yourself before the competition does.
Brand the Customer Experience
The approach and technology, combined with carefully selected, kick-ass instructors, blend to deliver a unique and compelling experience that has shaped the Flywheel identity.
I recall doing yoga for the first time at a hardcore studio in New York City. I was uncomfortable, couldn’t really keep up and made sure to position myself in the back corner of the class to minimize my anticipated embarrassment. I never returned to that studio again. The Flywheel experience was the opposite. The studio space is expertly designed, and the staff is invested in providing whatever guidance and support you need to get started. (Note: I now practice yoga regularly at Core Power in Minneapolis now, and it’s an incredible community.)
No doubt, the experience in a fitness classes comes down to the environment, equipment and the instructor. Flywheel nails it across the board. That is the key – deliver a remarkable experience consistently and customers keep coming back and are inclined to share their experience with others.
The other key here is the result. 800 calories. That just isn’t happening when I hop on the stationary bike in a gym. Which is another huge factor in their success. Enjoyment and results turns customers into fans and keeps them coming back for more!
Connect the Community
Fitness has evolved for me into a way to connect and socialize with friends. It’s part of my wellness plan for sure, but the workouts are always better and much more enjoyable when I am sharing the experience with friends. I don’t particularly enjoy going at it alone anymore, and it’s hard to dial it up to get the same result.
A little healthy competition helps. And over time, sharing that commitment with friends helps you stay the course. This trend in fitness is something Flywheel taps right into. They provide a leaderboard in the studio where riders have the option to see how they stack up against one another during the class. This helps you measure self-improvement and track performance over time or create some head-to-head competition with your friends if that is your preference. The app and the website provide every rider a report on their progress and helps me set a performance target for the next ride. My goal will be pretty straightforward when my brother is riding next to me. Victory of course!
Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.