Zumba vs. Crossfit — Two Very Different Brands

CrossFit seems to be the newest fitness craze.  According to Tabata Times, CrossFit has grown in 6 short years to 5,000 affiliates worldwide, and according to the official CrossFit Games website, over 200,000 people signed up this year for the CrossFit Games Open, the worldwide qualifier for the CrossFit Games.

While the popularity of CrossFit in certain market segments is undeniable, I’m actually more fascinated by Zumba, the dance fitness movement that has swept across the world in the past ten years or so.  zumba vs. crossfitAccording to its website, Zumba is now taught in 200,000 locations in 180 countries to 15 million people.  When it started, Zumba tapped into several emerging trends that together created the right conditions for sustained growth:  fun, sexy, and easy-to-learn dance routines set to high energy Latin dance music taught by enthusiastic instructors and geared toward “regular” people.

As a brand, Zumba has broad, mainstream appeal; CrossFit is a niche brand.  CrossFit is positioned as a fitness brand; Zumba as a fun one.  Both have inspired great passion among their followers and both have created a sense of community among them that extends beyond the class itself.  But Zumba seems to have grown in a self-perpetuating way that CrossFit has yet to figure out.

The strength of the Zumba brand makes for a fascinating business case study.  My latest HBR blog post describes “How Zumba Advanced a Cultural Movement.”  Please give it a read and let me know what you think.

Also, take a look at the new Zumba ad campaign that just launched a couple of weeks ago:

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