Soul Cycle is a fun, high-intensity, spinning class that has earned a cult following since its founding in 2006. From 2012 to 2014, the growing brand expanded from 12 to 26 studios and more than tripled its annual revenue.
Soul Cycle has created a “cult” brand, much like Apple or Xiaomi. It has done so through consistent, appealing, purposeful design of the entire spin class experience. The design of the studios, logos, and retail apparel is recognizable and appealing. The design of the experience itself is also highly appealing from the moment the user enters the studio. The desk staff are specifically chosen to be upbeat and welcoming to any rider, new or old, staff will help you set up your bike, the instructor makes a point to welcome and assist any new rider in the class, and each studio has clean, reliable showers. Part of the instructor’s job is to get to know his or her riders. Every user’s experience feels personalized and purposeful.
Soul Cycle is an interesting case study in the design that goes into cult branding. I think two factors really contribute to Soul Cycle’s success. First, they have created an actually enjoyable, fun workout experience. Secondly, they have created a community that new riders desperately want to be a part of – and are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars to do so.