Powerful Marketing Lessons from Canyon Ranch®

I just spent a transformational week at Canyon Ranch®, a health & wellness resort in Arizona. I went at the suggestion of a client who had just been… I learned a lot about health and wellness, as expected. I also got some powerful lessons on brand building:

  1. Power of purpose, which emerged from the founder’s personal wake-up call and transformation — at age 52. Canyon Ranch® exists “To create an inspirational environment where people could come to pursue optimal health and wellness, and appreciate “The Power of Possibility”.
  2. Power of word of mouth. My decision to go was entirely due to ONE person’s personal testimony. 
  3. Power of target choice and understanding. Focus is women 40+ with whom the ranch mission resonates, and the understanding of and empathy for this group was palpable throughout the experience.
  4. Power of “Point-of-Market-Entry”. Recent grads (aged 14-24) are FREE with a paying adult during off season. This undoubtedly makes an imprint, and increases odds that a “grad” will be a paying guest in future.
  5. Power of building Trial AND Loyalty. A 20% discount is used to attract new guests; AND membership options reward guests who commit to a week a year for 10 years.
  6. Power of flawless execution of the desired consumer experience. Everything about the experience fits the purpose. For example, cell phone use in public areas is strictly forbidden. Once I recovered from withdrawal, this was a delightful rule! 😉
  7. Power of Employees as Brand Advocates. Employees are encouraged to use the facility at no cost, and naturally become Brand ambassadors. They interact with guests, but aren’t given a message track that would undermine authenticity. Each had a personal story to tell.
  8. Power of Storytelling starting with the California “fat farm” story about the founder, now 85 who still lives on and largely owns the ranch.
  9. Power of exceptional customer service. Attention to detail, going extra mile, and terrific staff-guest ratio, support this. Example: during your last meal, you order a “to go” meal, which is waiting for you, nicely packaged, in your car at departure.   
  10. Power of putting guests best interest at heart. There were things to buy, but no hard sales. Rather, they offered web-links as resources for myriad wellness products/services.
  11. Power of community. I participated in a group program focused on healthy weight. There were 20 of us in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and walks of life. We fast became a community… now we’re on cyberspace. This enriched our experience and our affinity with Brand.
  12. Power of the familiar (vs. radical habit change). The philosophy is all about modifying existing habits. Examples: Reduce portion size vs. changing foods consumed; adding interval training to a favorite workout.
  13. Power of Personalization. Everyone is encouraged to customize a health and wellness program to meet his or her personal needs. What is the best kind of exercise to do? The kind YOU enjoy the most!
For me, Canyon Ranch®, was exactly as billed: “an inspirational environment where I could pursue better health and wellness, and appreciate “The Power of Possibility”. And as a bonus, I got a great dose of inspiration on “The Power of Brilliant Brand Building”.  Here I share that with you. And if you want a ‘dose’ of tips for Healthy Living, a wonderful quick read is: “Mel’s Tips for Healthy Living” by Mel Zuckerman, Founder of Canyon Ranch®. 

Images are from Canyon Ranch website and are used to illustrate learning points.