A Black woman looking into the camera with a serious expression on her face and resting her head on her hand.
A Black woman looking into the camera with a serious expression on her face and resting her head on her hand.
Client
Athleta
OFFER
Creative Capabilities
Breakthrough Products
INDUSTRY
Consumer Products & Retail
Health
< Work

She Knows Best

A major athleisure brand passes the mic so women can define community for themselves.

Too big. Too loud. Too much. Women have heard it all. So instead of telling its customers what to be, Athleta chose to flip the script and listen. Women would define what community means to them. Over the summer of 2020, IDEO convened a diverse council of women to help make the brand community more inclusive, representative, and reciprocal. Then those women wrote the playbook for how Athleta could stay connected. The work revealed that the way to amplify and deliver on one’s purpose is to uplift existing communities and find new ways to work together.

Client
Athleta
PROGRESS

More than 2X

user growth in 2022

13,000+

Athleta WellPro well-being providers active on the platform

A diverse group of women and girls working out together in a store and laughing

76% of US adults say that the media promotes an unattainable body image for women.

Fewer than one in 10 businesses review for inclusion as part of product design and marketing campaigns.

Diversity alone isn’t enough—in marketing or any other facet of business. Today’s brands must authentically engage with and create the conditions for co-design with existing communities.

That sort of deep, meaningful engagement with customers doesn’t happen over Instagram. It requires a playbook, a prototype, and a healthy amount of trust. So, IDEO worked with Athleta and Gap to tap into the wisdom of a council of women who represent intersectional identities and lived experiences. The council surfaced powerful insights for the brand, like the fact that active women don’t need a brand to empower them—they already feel powerful.

After only a few weeks, Athleta experienced the difference between research and a truly reciprocal relationship. The way their brand engages with communities is adding depth, understanding, and authenticity to Athleta’s content, products, and experiences. And women can feel the difference.

Diversity alone isn’t enough—in marketing or any other facet of business. Today’s brands must authentically engage with and create the conditions for co-design with existing communities.

That sort of deep, meaningful engagement with customers doesn’t happen over Instagram. It requires a playbook, a prototype, and a healthy amount of trust. So, IDEO worked with Athleta and Gap to tap into the wisdom of a council of women who represent intersectional identities and lived experiences. The council surfaced powerful insights for the brand, like the fact that active women don’t need a brand to empower them—they already feel powerful.

After only a few weeks, Athleta experienced the difference between research and a truly reciprocal relationship. The way their brand engages with communities is adding depth, understanding, and authenticity to Athleta’s content, products, and experiences. And women can feel the difference.

An older Black woman wearing glasses, talking to a group of diverse women, standing in front of a screen that reads 'Living Powerfully'
No items found.

“Athleta is helping create positive feelings so many of us have never experienced when shopping in the past.”

Maggie Griswold
Women's Health
Two women sitting on a couch in front of a screen that reads 'How to make bold decisions' and talking to one another and an audience off camera
PRESS LINKS
Forbes
 >
“How The ‘Power Of She’ Will Propel Athleta To $1 Billion In Sales”
Women's Health
 >
Athleta’s Latest Launch Is The Inclusivity Push In The Fitness Industry I’ve Been Waiting For