Equinox President Sarah Robb O'Hagan On Connecting Outside The Four Walls

1) What's the biggest lesson you learned in 2012?

"I think, for me, I don’t know if it’s like a single lesson, or just a very organic set of learning. I think for years we’ve been talking about the consumer taking control and being in a situation where we have to be more mindful of that. In 2012 was the first time I really got my arms around ‘we are in a participation economy now,’ and anyone who hasn’t wrapped their arms around that has a real issue. Because of that, I guess the lesson for brands and businesses is, it becomes so much more about what you do than what you say, and the way you’re directing and engaging with people. I think for my own personal behavior, I think about how I tweet at the airlines I travel with, the hotels I stay with. This is the first year that I participated in a Kickstarter funding project. Personal behavior is changing.

"When the Equinox opportunity came up, I thought it’s perfect, it’s a company grounded in the entire brand experience being engagement."

How does engaging with a gym member differ now from 10 years ago?

"I think it means a ton. One of the fun things I’m learning, getting on board, is how we start to think about the members’ experience as so much broader than just the moment they’re in the club with us. They all participate in their own digital lifestyle. I think we’ve always been amazing at engaging with them, and intuitively understanding where to lead them with new programming, etc, but now we have so much opportunity because you can get input and feedback with everything a member is doing. So that to me is just a huge, fun opportunity."

How do you think you'll apply it in the year ahead?

"I think mainly, one of the things we all talk about internally is that we have to think about everything that goes on in our members’ life, beyond just what they’re doing in the club with us. That’s how we’ll spend time applying it. Getting deeper in getting to understand all the other parts, the 24 hrs in their day and their lifestyle, and how we can engage with them. It’s digitally keeping in touch, and figuring out how to continuously add value to whenever they’re engaging in our lifestyle."

More Lessons for 2013 from some of today's most innovative business thought leaders here.

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