The Ultimate 5 Step Fitness Studio Branding Framework

Published on: 
06 February 19
Posted in: 
12 min read

Stephen King, a branding expert who shares his name with the better-known horror author, said this about branding:

“A product can be quickly outdated, but a successful brand is timeless.”

Very simply, a product or service isn’t enough to make a long-lasting connection with customers. There needs to be more than that. There needs to be something that is instantly recognizable to a person and communicates clearly the values of the business. A brand is not just the logo or a tagline or some marketing materials. It is the essence of what your fitness business means inside and outside of the studio.

The thought of coming up with your own brand from scratch may frighten you the same way reading a novel from the more famous Mr. King does. But don’t be dismayed, as we have put together an easy to follow approach to get you from bland to brand!

So we want to do two things.

  • Firstly, we want to show you the exact steps you need to take with a simple framework we have developed to help fitness founders like you build their own brand.
  • And secondly, instead of just showing you the steps and leaving you to it, we are going to show you the fitness studios that are killing it with their brands.

So let’s get to building a fantastic fitness brand!

The Fitness Studio Branding Framework

Building a brand from the ground up can be an intimidating experience for a fitness founder. From talking to our customers, we have found that there are several key areas they find difficult when coming up with a brand for their fitness studio. Because of this, we decided to put together a simple step-by-step framework you can use to begin working on building a brand for yourself.

The five key steps to the framework are:

  • Determine your ideal customer
  • Define what makes you different
  • Find your voice
  • Create your image
  • Live your brand

DETERMINE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER

Determining the type of person you want to come through the door of your gym is the starting point for most brand building. If you’re going to create a brand that attracts a particular target audience, you must understand the characteristics that define this type of potential customer and the what resonates with them.

Start thinking of the potential clients who will come into your fitness studio.

What are they really looking for?

Are they around-the-clock workaholics looking for a quick fitness fix that gets results? Or are they more experienced fitness fanatics looking for a way to improve performance? Or are they merely looking for a relaxing space they can keep moderately fit and healthy while meeting new people?

Answer these questions with this useful promise and purpose template from digital marketing agency Boston Interactive:

“Our studio promises to {INSERT YOUR PROMISE} for the purpose of {INSERT YOUR PURPOSE}.”

Here are some examples:

  • Our studio promises to fit in with your hectic lifestyle for the purpose of getting you real results.
  • Our studio promises to provide elite level training for the purpose of improving your sporting performance.
  • Our studio promises to provide a fun and relaxing environment for the purpose of helping you meet new people on your fitness journey.

Once you can make clear mission statement clear, you can determine who precisely who your target audience will be.

DEFINE WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT

Bear in mind that the first two steps of this framework are not to meant to run one after the other. Determining your ideal customer and defining what makes you different are two processes that run side-by-side and inform each other as they develop.

However, it takes time. The end result of building a brand is preceded by a lot of trial and error. This includes making sure that what you are offering is different from your rivals. For a lot of fitness studios, finding this differentiator comes from slowly figuring out the promise and purpose to their ideal customer. Then they need to bake this into the values of their brand. So don’t be afraid to experiment in the early stages of your business.

Take a look at one of the examples above. Let’s call them Intensity Fitness.

Intensity Fitness promises to provide elite level training for the purpose of improving your sporting performance.

From this, we can tell that their ideal customer is someone who is serious about high-performance training. To re-enforce their mission with their target customer, the may use words like the following to define their values:

  • Elite
  • Innovative
  • High performance and results-centered
  • A community of winners

This mission and these values are designed to resonate with their audience. They place the studio on a different level from the rest and the only place in the locality that provides elite level training for those who want to improve sporting performance.

FIND YOUR VOICE

All great brands that stand out from their competitors because they fundamentally understand what makes them different and why that gives them a unique advantage.

However, once they have done that, they need to figure out how they are going to communicate this to the outside world.

Simply put, your brand voice is the consistent expression of your brand through the words you use and the sentences you write. Your voice appears everywhere you use words and forms the basis of the first impression of your potential customer. It forms the foundation of any of your marketing strategies as you will need to have a consistent voice going through any marketing materials you create.

This includes ad campaigns, social media posts, t-shirts, taglines, posters and signs on the walls of the studio. This voice should be the same at every touchpoint that a new client interacts with your studio for the first time.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a tagline that distills your values into a straightforward statement. Your tag line should be short, catchy, memorable and distinctive enough to separate your business from the crowd. It should encompass all the values you have developed for your brand.

Check out this great example by The Studio Method Cardiff:

The Studio Method – “Tailored Training”

From the outset, we know that this studio is not going to feel like a crowded, generic, big box gym. This experience is going to be tailored to give you the best chance of succeeding in your fitness goals.

CREATE YOUR IMAGE

This is the visual representation of everything we have discussed so far and quite possibly the hardest thing to get right. And let’s be honest, unless you hold a degree in graphic design, this a part of the process you need to give to a person who can deliver a professional logo and brand.

However, that does not mean you should check out and leave everything to the designer. Come to them with as much of the previous steps developed as you possibly can and be active in directing the branding process.

Like your voice, the brand’s visual identity will be present throughout the members end to end journey and needs to be consistent. The visual identity will mainly include your logo, the font of your text your colors and any other specific design features. It could also extend to the style of photographs you take, particularly key for Instagram.

LIVE YOUR BRAND

Once you have gone through the process of building a brand for your fitness studio there is one more crucial step that you need to follow. There is no point in creating values, finding your voice and designing a visual identity if you are not going to transfer that into the real world.

The things you say and stand for have to be present every day in your studio. Only then will be a living and breathing brand and not just a nice idea you have created.

If you are elite performance studio, like our Intensity Fitness example, you need to make sure your physical studio space is set up for high performance training. If you are a yoga studio brand you want your studio to be a place of zen relaxation for your members.

Put simply, you have to practice what you preach.

In the next part, we are going to take a look at the fitness studios in the real world that are bossing it with their branding!

Fitness Branding Ideas from 6 of the Best

Here is a mix of well-known and up-and-coming fitness studios who have developed strong brands. We have applied the framework to each studio to show how you can use it to build your own timeless brand.

1. ORANGETHEORY FITNESS

Who They Are: Orangetheory is a science-backed 60-minute workout that is tracked by the latest technology to provide real results.

Their Ideal Member: Beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts who are looking for results they can measure.

Their Values: Fitness based on science that is tracked with the latest in technology. Pushing ordinary people to the next level.

What They Say: More Than A Gym, More Results, More Confidence, More Life.

How The Look: The orange is not just a randomly chosen color. Spending more time in the orange zone in the workout helps increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption(EPOC) that helps burn calories for about 24 to 36 hours post workout.

How They Live It: Their mantra is that “the hardest part is turning up”. They say this because they take care of everything to make your workouts are as simple possible through delivering a science-based technology tracked workout.

 2. F45 TRAINING

Who They Are: Australian fitness studio that runs 45-minute classes which merge high-intensity interval training, circuit training, and functional movements into 27 different workouts. Every workout has its own name and style

The Ideal Member: Those looking for a high energy group workout that changes every session

Their Values: Making the most dynamic and effective training systems available to the masses

What They Say: Innovation. Motivation. Results.

How They Look: Blue and red with a style based heavily in American college sports branding.

How They Live It: Each class has its own branding with names like Romans,Trailblazer, and Brooklyn each set of circuits within the class changes so they are never the same.

3. TOUGH MUDDER BOOTCAMP

Who They Are: Based on the highly successful endurance event series, the Bootcamp is a studio based version that is centered on 45-minute total body workout classes. Their Ideal Member: Fitness fanatic looking for a tougher endurance style workout with significant community aspect.

Their Values: Expert driven workouts with the best equipment. Thinking of everything, so the member doesn’t have to. Big focus on the community aspect

What They Say: Come Alone, Crush It Together.

How They Look: Orange and black branding with “military”and “into the wild” type branding.

How They Live It: The community aspect is key as they push you and hold you account which makes it a haven for like-minded endurance enthusiasts to workout in.

4. SKY-LAB

Who They Are: A premium boutique ariel yoga and ariel fitness studio based in Australia. Smaller than the other fitness studios listed, but with a definitive brand that really gives a sense of who they are.

Their Ideal Member: A person looking for a less intense workout space and looking to experience a unique workout life.

Their Values: Sharing a way to see the world from a new perspective

What They Say: Live An Elevated Life

How They Look: Desaturated look, dreamlike video, and imagery simple font

How They Live It: The dreamlike visuals give you a instant feeling of what this fitness experience is all about and it syncs up so well with the “Live An Elevated Life” tagline.

5. FIT ⅞

Who They Are: A Mexican fitness studio that specializes in dynamic, challenging and artistic classes called “Workarts.”

Their Ideal Member: A woman looking for a workout program with a difference

Their Values: Delivering a toned and strong feminine body with unique and artistic workout programs

What They Say: Keep Your Body Guessing

How They Look: Black and white, splashed with colorful neon with imagery of women ready to workout.

How They Live It: The branding of their workout program as “Workarts” lays out their artistic vision for exercise. Each class is designed to get the best out of body and mind all set to the rhythm of high energy music

6. LULULEMON

Who They Are: Lululemon is a clothing company for yoga, running, training and all physical activity.

Their Ideal Customer: Originally, high-income women between the ages of 18–35.

Their Values: According to their website, they are a global community, but yoga is at the core of everything they do.

What They Say: Move Gracefully from Pose to Pose

How They Look: Clean website focussed on their clothing with people in conformable positions.

How They Live It: By running yoga classes in their storefronts and by supporting local yoga businesses around the world.

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