(Editor's Note: For more tips on branding your facility, attend the Club Industry Show session "Building a Crystal Clear Brand" at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Brent Gallagher will be a panelist for the session along with Lisa Coors of Coors Core Fitness and Donna Krech of Thin & Healthy's Total Solution. The session will be moderated by Ilene Bergelson of Lifemoves Health.)
For exactly 9 years and 6 months, I built a unique brand based heavily on conviction, creative thinking and an enormous desire to see people be the best they can be. I had a strong personal belief that there has to be another way to approach fitness.
When you entered my training facility, the heart of the brand could be easily felt:
- Training was a unique experience compared to the typical gym.
- Simplicity ran throughout a client's entire experience.
- The environment was polished yet approachable.
- The concept of food and fitness was well thought out and attainable.
There was one problem: The voice of the brand was missing.
We offered unspoken promises of convenience, conviction, simplicity and a desire to individualize the experience for each client's walk of life and desired results.
Evolution is inevitable if we are to grow.
So I took a bold step after almost 10 years—one that might not work—to rebrand our name, our message, our colors, our look, our feel, our promise and our overall training experience.
We had built strong brand equity within the community, but it didn't define the value we offered. It's fair to say we were successful but limited with our growth opportunities.
Defining Your Brand
If you are considering rebranding your business, you need to go through several steps. Defining your brand is like a journey of self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It takes wrestling with the following questions, some of which may take some research:
- What is your mission?
- What unique benefit does a client get from training with you?
- What does your community already think of your company?
- What attributes do you want clients to identify with your company?
Once you've worked through your answers (preferably with your team), dive deep with these follow-up questions:
- What are the key statements you want to communicate about your brand?
- How do you integrate your brand into every aspect of your business, including how the phone is answered, what your team wears, how your sessions flow, the music you play in the facility, the language you use in your emails, the programs you offer?
- How does the 'voice' of your brand sound, including written communication and visual imagery whether they be online, offline and on social media?
- What is your brand slogan: a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand?
- How will you establish your brand consistency in the eyes, ears and experiences of your clients?
Change Is Important
Whether it's a complete brand overhaul like we did or a simple change in training philosophy like adapting the 30-minute model, every personal trainer and training facility could stand a bit of improvement. Even the awkward first steps are regarded highly by your clients.
The key is to start improving one aspect of your brand on a daily basis:
- How you greet clients at the door
- The colors on your walls
- What you post on social media
- How your engage your clients during a session
- How you keep your facility clean
- What adaptations you are making to your training philosophy
The list is endless, but the key is to pick one. Focus on it until it's better than before. Then keep repeating it.
Check out our rebrand at AvenuFitness. And share your experiences with branding in the comment section below.