Snap Fitness, Chanhassen, Minnesota, wants to better connect with members in rural communities.
That strategy was the driving force behind Lift Brands Inc.'s recent spokesperson partnerships with country music singer Thomas Rhett and NASCAR driver Landon Cassill. Snap Fitness announced the new partnership with Rhett last week in a deal that followed the renewal of Cassill's partnership in February.
The partnerships with Snap Fitness are the first for a wellness company in the country music and NASCAR spaces, Lift Brands Chief Marketing Officer Steele Smiley told Club Industry. The addition of Rhett and Cassill are part of Snap Fitness' larger makeover over the past year, which includes a rebrand and redesign of its clubs to better position the company for the next decade, Smiley said.
"I joined the company about two years ago, and one of the unique things that I had was essentially full range to revamp the brand, and we had a multi-faceted strategy," Smiley said. "We've executed on all five of our major key points, and country music was the last. It took the longest, but it's been very well worth it."
The partnership with Rhett took about a year to come together and was brokered by FlyteVu, a marketing agency based in Nashville, Tennessee. Rhett will host boot camps in select tour markets throughout the year and issue challenges on social media for fans across the country as part of the yearlong deal. Those events are a starting point for the partnership in the early stages of development, Smiley said.
"We have dozens of action items with Thomas and his camp that we will do together," Smiley added. "The idea of the boot camp and celebrity appearances in some of our clubs is just one facet of it. There's many more that are ultimately coming in, including our Snap Fitness members to see him at concert dates around the country, and essentially see Thomas on the road working out in your club."
Smiley said Rhett's music career is on the rise, and he will become a household name in America within the next year. Rhett, who is the son of country singer Rhett Akins, is nominated for the Country Music Association's (CMA) New Artist of the Year award this year. The CMA awards show will be televised Wednesday night on ABC.
“Staying in shape is a crucial part of being able to put on a great live show for me,” Rhett said in a statement announcing the partnership. “So, when I’m on tour or have a day off at home, I try to find some time to work out everyday. It's a lot easier when you have 24/7 options like Snap Fitness where the guys in the band and Lauren (Rhett's wife) all can feel comfortable. It’ll be cool to team up to include fans in that part of our daily routine on the road, too.”
The partnership with Cassill was attractive to Snap Fitness because Cassill is a triathlete. Snap Fitness first entered into a partnership with Cassill in 2014, which included marketing of a workout designed for Cassill by Charlotte, North Carolina, franchisee and trainer Ed Ghaleb. In May, Cassill ran 14 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway to the NASCAR Hall of Fame after the Coca Cola 600.
Cassill drove the Snap Fitness car in four Sprint Cup races this year.
"To have that many people view the Snap Fitness brand with a group of fans that are as die-hard as they are in NASCAR, it makes a meaningful difference to us," Smiley said. "Our traffic counts have improved, our social media is the largest at this point among all of the wellness brands. We're absolutely thrilled with the relationship thus far (with Cassill)."
Snap Fitness has more than 2,000 clubs open or in development in 18 countries, many of which are in small towns and rural areas.
"You have to tailor your product for the people that are using the product," Smiley said. "Because we're predominately a rural product or have been in our past, we owed it to that group of consumers to put forth a marketing effort that was tailored to them. There's nothing better than country music and NASCAR. "
Lift Brands ranked No. 18 on Club Industry's Top 100 Clubs of 2015 list.