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3 lessons media companies can learn from Barry’s Bootcamp

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


I have been subscribing to a brand that I have fallen in love with. It’s a workout brand that I pay a decent amount of money for every month and am continually impressed with their approach to loyalty.

Why would I be comparing a news organisation with an exercise class? Please bear with me on this as we have some lessons to learn from Barry’s Bootcamp

For the uninitiated (99.5% of you), Barry’s Bootcamp is a workout studio in more than 70 locations. It is a 50-minute workout in a dark room where you are shouted at — albeit in a motivating way — while doing high-intensity exercise. Not your thing? I totally get that. But luckily you don’t have to deal with this to learn some lessons from their approach.

When you walk into Barry’s and give your name to register, there are a couple of pots on the side with useful items. Things that you may forget. Like I forgot a hairband this morning as I was running into a class that had already started. Rather than working out with my hair all over the place, uncomfortable and not my best look, there was an easy solution that I didn't have to think about. Small, yet effective. 

The lesson: They are one step ahead of their customers’ needs 

Once class has started, someone from the front desk brings a printed page bearing everyone’s name and the location in the room. This sheet also highlights any “milestones,” such as first class or if a class is sold out (which is often the case). This rewards the instructor by showing them that people love their class, and — even in a class of 50 people that moves every 30 seconds — they are able to make it personal by encouraging people by name or publicly recognising if this is a milestone class for anyone. It’s low key and seamlessly fits into the class, but it makes a difference. 

The lesson: Make it personal, with no friction

This photo shown is a handwritten card I received when I checked in at the front desk for my 25th class. I had a similar one waiting for me on my treadmill after my 10th class. Handwritten makes it feel personal, even if they do it for everyone. They started with small milestones and work up. Every now and then I get an e-mail telling me that I have a reward such as a free drink or a free guest pass (there are probably others but hey, I’m only 25 classes in). 

The lesson: Barry’s rewards milestones make you want to reach the next one 

Making things feel personal goes a long way with customers.
Making things feel personal goes a long way with customers.

In an exceptionally crowded marketplace, Barry’s has managed to create a unique experience.  And yes I deliberately use the word “experience” here. Their end-to-end journey is exceptional. They’ve managed to make it about a lot more than the class, even though it’s the class you are paying for. 

What can we do to augment the journey before and after the product our customers pay for? What can we do to surprise and delight? And create a unique, valuable experience? I fundamentally believe we can learn lessons from other industries, and I hope this sparks an idea or two for you. 

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About Jodie Hopperton

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