¿Cómo construir una estrategia ganadora usando la omnicanalidad?

Pantalla digital con un carrito de ecommerce en el centro

In Winning the right game, Ron Adner opens up a new way of thinking about the world of business. It is not simply a marketplace but a battleground where only the astute come out as winners. The author does not mince words but calls out how losers can emerge if they take lightly the pertinent issues that the new technological epoch generates. It is a matter of understanding strategy in a new way as the players involved are intertwined in an ecosystem that only works for the actor who knows how to navigate it.

It may seem as though all that is needed is strength or courage. To illustrate his arguments, Adner uses militaristic language such as ‘winning,’ ‘confronting,’ ‘losing,’ ‘traps,’ and ‘defense’ of the ecosystem. Still, he also aptly recognizes the humanity of the players involved by highlighting humility to own up to mistakes that may have been made. Interlaced with real-world examples, this refreshing take on understanding business strategy in a changing world is provocative as it calls out the trap of the ‘Ego-system,’ referred to in a recent book as ‘hubris.’


The warning is stark as Winning the right game ultimately suggests it is not simply about winning or losing but ensuring that you are winning the right game is what matters in a complex ecosystem befuddled with competing demands and ego-systems.

For example, if you asked Helaine Knapp at 25 whether or not she intended to create a new category in fitness, she would have dismissed the idea immediately.

At 25 years old, the software startup executive was living in NYC and addicted to boutique fitness classes across the city. Then, her class schedule came to a screeching halt due to back injuries caused by the classes that were supposed to make her stronger.

“It was bad. My doctors diagnosed my injuries as if I was much older or had experienced a trauma, like a car accident. That is when I was introduced to rowing,” said Knapp.

Rowing was generally reserved for pro athletes or a select group of people who actually practiced the sport. However, Knapp quickly recognized how this modality could deliver a low-impact, full-body workout that would “torch calories” and generate results.

“That was when the entrepreneur in me started to scream. This workout was delivering the results I spent years looking for and nearly wrecked my body to achieve. But rowing was the farthest thing from sexy and accessible for a modern fitness consumer like me. So there was a business here.”

This was when the concept of CITYROW was born. Credited as one of the first companies to bring rowing to a general consumer, today the row-based workout is used by consumers around the US at CITYROW’s studios in locations like New York, San Diego, California and Boca Raton, Florida, and at home through their digital workouts and at-home rower.

Very early in the business’ maturity, with one studio open, Knapp understood that there needed to be a digital fitness aspect. Consumers weren’t always going to want to join an in-person class for every workout.

“The software executive in me always knew that to really bring this workout to the masses, we would need to take an omnichannel approach – offering both a digital and in-person option.”

This strategy has paid off. After seven years in business, CITYROW recently announced its first financing round with some of the nation’s most highly regarded investors. A few months later, the company launched live, streaming classes to compete with some of the major publicly traded players offering fitness.

Here are Knapp’s 3 lessons for creating a new category:

1- Don’t Forget to Look Up Once in Awhile 

While Knapp was “heads down” building her business, her friends who lived in the city were migrating to the suburbs, leaving their favorite fitness studios behind. They weren’t going to the gym for every workout. This is when she realized that the omnichannel option would be a smart investment in the business’ future. That is how CITYROW’s digital offering was born.

2- Reverse Engineer The Company’s You Admire 

What do WarbyParker and DryBar have in common? They built brands Knapp loved and emulated in ways that worked for fitness. WarbyParker started online and went into brick and mortar. CITYROW took that inspiration and reversed the strategy. DryBar also showed what omnichannel could look like in a completely different category, providing a superior in-person experience and then selling the tools and products to create that experience at-home.

3- It’s Not the Modality. It’s What THE Modality Achieves

To this day, Knapp insists that CITYROW is not about rowing. It is about building a strong, viable workout that will generate results without wreaking havoc on the body. The rower just happens to be the conduit to do that. She didn’t set out to build a rowing company. She set out to bring a new kind of fitness to the market. Really successful companies do that.

“Google didn’t set out to build a search engine, they set out to organize the Internet. And, Tesla didn’t set out to build an electric car, it set out to reduce carbon emissions. This is how I think about CITYROW,” said Knapp.

The best entrepreneurs find a corner — a location they own at the intersection of paths familiar to consumers. CITYROW found its unique corners — at the intersections of home workouts and going to the gym, an effective exercise with low impact.

“Since its founding, CITYROW has held true to what makes us different, and because of this I don’t fear competition, I welcome it. We were never going to be the only fitness company with rowing, but our approach, our community and laser focus on our corner of the market makes us prepared for whatever comes next,” said Knapp.

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