Values-Driven Branding January 11, 2023

Want Your Brand to Be a Frontrunner? Mirror the Core Values of Your Consumers

How Home Gym Brands like Mirror, Tonal, and Tempo Are Finding Success by Reflecting the Values of America’s Largest Consumer Group

My doctor once told me: “If it was easy to have a buff body, we’d all have one. It takes hard work and determination to stay healthy.” So true. There are no shortcuts to getting fit, but what’s also true is that today’s generation cares more about their health and well-being than any generation before them. And they now have some incredibly tech-forward solutions to support them—right in their own homes.

One of the biggest home workout trends to hit the market is the almost magical home-workout mirror. It talks to you, inspires you, tracks your progress, even provides a trainer to work out with you virtually—without any need to leave your house.

Americans are buying these mirrors as fast as companies can produce them, and industry observers say they are here to stay, even as the pandemic eases and people are going back to work.

So, who are these home workout warriors? The majority of them belong to a consumer supergroup we call the New American Middle (NAM). They represent over 50% of the purchasing power in the US, and research shows that after two years of the pandemic, their core values have evolved to include a renewed interest in staying fit and taking care of their mental wellness.

With computers and social media at their fingertips, the NAM is ready, willing, and able to spend money on high-tech health equipment that helps them stay fit. They are no longer satisfied with the standard exercise bike and dumbbells or even a membership to a local gym. Today’s NAM consumer expects the fitness products and services they invest in to be as fast, convenient, and personalized as the online experiences to which they have become accustomed. And with more choices than ever, they are prone to buy from companies that align with their values, not just their needs.

The “digital natives” of the millennial generation communicate, take care of themselves, and purchase things in vastly different ways than their parents and grandparents did. Brands that understand this shift will thrive by connecting with them in new ways that appeal to both their heads and their hearts.

Today’s NAM consumer expects the fitness products and services they invest in to be as fast, convenient, and personalized as the online experiences to which they have become accustomed.

Evolve Your Brand to Reflect New Consumer Values

The NAM’s expectations and values continue to evolve, especially as they stress out about the ongoing pandemic (will it ever end?), the possibility of World War III, and the future in store for their children. But no matter what is happening around the world, there are four values that they continue to hold strong: family, community, spirituality, and stewardship to the planet. Although they worry, recent studies show that when it comes to health and wellness, they are also a highly motivated and surprisingly optimistic bunch.

According to a new nationally representative survey conducted by Data Decisions Group (DDG) and The Monday Campaigns, the majority of Americans (including the NAM) are looking forward to better fitness in 2022. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said they are expecting to enjoy better health, with 89% planning to continue new habits developed during the pandemic. Participants emphasized a commitment to family and holistic wellness, with the top three healthy habits they resolve to practice being: to spend more time with family, keep a regular exercise routine, and better manage stress.

Yet while the NAM is optimistic about maintaining their commitments, close to half of survey respondents who made resolutions cited the greatest obstacle to achieving their new health goals is staying on track. So how do the companies that serve them keep them motivated? Not by adding more tech to their products, but by inspiring and connecting to their consumers on a human level through their tech.

The NAM is hungry for brands that offer a sense of community, with online interaction, push-button choices at their fingertips, and inspirational messages that align with their goals. It’s about emotional relevance, not just functional performance.

Pay Attention to the Mood of Your Audience

In a world full of new technology that is constantly changing, emotional relevance has become equally as important as functional performance for all brands. Companies that pay close attention to the “mood” of their customers are quickly realizing the benefits of aligning their strategies to genuinely connect with them where they are—not just where they’ve been.

The NAM has had a major shift in priorities and behaviors as the pandemic made clear that “a new normal” was inevitable. They are hungry for solutions that not only work well tech-wise, but also provide the emotional support and sense of belonging that they crave. The successful home gym mirror companies get this, and they continue to find new ways to connect with their audiences as they grow. They are doing whatever it takes to turn customers into loyal community members, and even fans. And one of the most important factors of their success is not just making a great product—it’s making their customers feel great.

Follow the Brand Leaders but Differentiate Yourself

The workout mirror craze started in 2018, when the appropriately named Mirror debuted, single-handedly creating a whole new home fitness category. Today, the industry has exploded and the single wall-mounted display that started it all has spawned a slew of competitors. So which workout mirror is doing the best at reflecting the values and goals of America’s largest consumer supergroup? That depends.

While three of the top sellers, Mirror, Tonal, and Tempo, have several things in common (like subscription workout programs with on-demand training classes and the ability to pump you up with music and heart rate monitoring), they differ in a lot of important ways too. Each has found its own distinct audience and continues to focus on what sets it apart, as well as what brings them all together.

In a world full of new technology that is constantly changing, emotional relevance has become equally as important as functional performance for all brands.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Who’s The Best Brand of Them All?

So how do the top home gym mirror brands stack up to the NAM’s expectations and concerns from a branding perspective? What is each of them doing to authentically connect with the largest consumer group in the US? It seems they each have their own top features that appeal to an increasingly fragmented audience within the NAM consumer group—and each has its own shortcomings too. As the industry continues to expand, it seems there’s something for everyone.

Here’s a look at three of the top brands in America:



Best Value Workout Mirror

The NAM cares about the values of the companies they choose to buy from, but they also appreciate value. The original wall-mounted Mirror offers serious bang-for-your-buck features, and it’s one of the most attractive mirrors on the market. When mounted on the wall, it blends seamlessly into any decor, rather than looking like a piece of gym equipment. It’s a decorative mirror when not in use, but during workouts, users can still see themselves in the screen as they exercise.

One of the top features that appeals to the NAM is that using the Mirror isn’t a solitary experience—or at least it doesn’t have to be. Trainers can see users (by choice) through a built-in camera. And during a class, they may even call out a class member by name to give kudos or offer tips on form. This feature speaks to the NAM’s desire for community and belonging, as well as their newfound dedication to leading a healthier life.

Mirror offers the widest variety of workouts, with boxing, cardio, dance, Pilates, yoga, and tai chi only a selection of all the kinds of activities available. Subscribers can jump into a live class or one of over 10,000 on-demand sessions and get one-on-one training sessions as well. It was the first smart mirror on the market, but it still offers the best overall value for those who want it all.





Best Overall Workout Mirror

Tempo has an important ingredient that isn’t found in most other workout mirrors competing for the NAM’s fitness dollars: 3D sensors that track the entire body to check for the right form. It also automatically counts reps. It’s been a popular choice for NAM consumers looking for guidance as part of a community, as well as beginners who want to be led.

While Tempo is clearly inspired by Mirror, the differences outnumber the similarities between them; the Tempo can be controlled from its own giant touch screen, while Mirror relies on its mobile app. Tempo isn't hung on the wall but instead is built into an easel-style stand; it has internal storage for a bunch of weights.

NAM consumers who are into weight training and bodybuilding appreciate these features, as well as the wide range of workouts available in categories ranging from boxing to yoga to HIIT.





Tonal is a favorite of NAM consumers who are hard-core athletes. Their brand representatives include American greats such as Serena Williams, Lebron James, and Tony Gonzalez, signaling to consumers that Tonal is a trusted method of getting in the best shape of their lives. Everything is built right in (which, for the premium price, it should be) and more than any other fitness mirror, Tonal comes the closest to having an actual gym at home—especially for those into weight training.

Tonal has actual attachments, like arms and ropes built to take a lot of stress from weight training, but the installation is not DIY-friendly. In fact, as part of the package, Tonal handles the installation.

What appeals most to the NAM from a branding standpoint is to be part of an “exclusive club”—if you have a Tonal system, it means you’re NOT messing around. More than ever before, this is an important value emerging among the growing NAM supergroup.



Brands that understand the NAM’s core values; what they want; and when, where, and how they buy it are the ones who will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.


While we’ve covered what three of the top home gym mirror brands are doing to appeal to the NAM, this is just the beginning of an industry trend that continues to impact an American supergroup with powerful purchasing power that brands can no longer afford to ignore.

Brands that understand the NAM’s core values; what they want; and when, where, and how they buy it are the ones who will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Those who don’t pay attention are missing out on huge opportunities to connect with them, gain their loyalty, and watch profits soar.

In short, the New American Middle is at the center of everything, and ignoring them may leave your company in the middle of nowheresville.


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