Whether you own a health club or gym, you’re not just building a business, you’re building a brand. Strong fitness branding doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, hard work, and a clear marketing strategy to become a recognized and loved brand.
A strong brand-building process is key to helping you develop a brand that will stand out in the fiercely competitive fitness market. Finding a way to be unique is essential for differentiating yourself from the competition. Here, we discuss what fitness branding is and the 5 steps you need to take to build a successful fitness brand.
- What is Fitness Branding?
- Why is Strong Fitness Branding Important to Your Business?
- 4 Examples of Great Fitness Branding
- The 5 Step Fitness Branding Framework for Success
What is Fitness Branding?
“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.” – Elon Musk
A brand is more than a logo, the colors you use, or even your name. Your brand is your customer’s overall perception of your business. It’s your reputation and what people say about your business when you’re not there.
Your fitness branding is a combination of strategy, identity, and fitness marketing. A successful brand is consistent across multiple touchpoints. You can feel it throughout your website, social media, and both your online and in-person workouts. Building a brand requires strategic thinking and planning; it’s about cultivating a positive image while also standing out from the crowd.
It’s a great starting point to think about how you want to be perceived and what you want the world to say about your gym: How do you want the world to see your business? This question will set the foundation for your brand.
Why is Strong Fitness Branding Important to Your Business?
A strong fitness brand requires more than a logo and a color palette. It’s all that and more; it’s your identity. Good branding translates across mediums. By combining skill, creativity, and strategy, you can create a brand that stands out from the competition. Here are four reasons your fitness business needs a strong brand.
Your branding creates a spark between your business and your customer. Your brand tells your story, creates a connection, and builds trust. This connection and trust build gradually over time; it’s not immediate. Generally, people are more likely to purchase or commit to a product or service from a business that feels polished and legitimate. Your branding can reinforce that trust throughout your business. This keeps pushing the point that you are an authority in your niche, and your customers should trust you.
Your logo is a major part of your branding. Often, a logo ends up turning into the face of the company. Eventually, you can recognize a brand based solely on a logo. A well-designed and professional logo is powerful and memorable enough to make an impression. A great logo makes an impression on a customer. The better your brand awareness, the more your potential clients will think of you when they see your logo, messaging, services, and products.
3. Motivate and Inspire
A great brand does more than attract new clients; it motivates and inspires your employees. When a business has a great brand, it has a mission and an identity that rallies its employees. Your team understands the reason for the business, its purpose. This means they can all work towards a common goal in achieving the mission you have set out. A consistent and unified brand helps to create passionate employees. The brand is reinforced in your design and logo and in the daily interactions your members have with your team.
4. Generate Customers
A strong brand presence helps to generate customers. It solidifies your business in your customer’s minds, making them more likely to refer their friends and family. Successful businesses, small or large, have established themselves as a leader and authority in their niche. A strong brand helps you build that authority that will mean customers will come to you because you are unique and stand out from the competition.
The Fitness Founders Podcast has a great episode on cutting through the noise with David Steel. He is the Chief Viral Officer of Sneeze.it, a social marketing and consulting firm. David talks about crafting the right message for your marketing campaigns and the process behind standing out from your competition.
4 Examples of Great Fitness Branding
Fitness brands have to constantly work to not only remain relevant but lead the industry. A mixture of endurance and creative strategy allows some of the best fitness brands to keep reaching new levels of success. Let’s look at 4 examples of great fitness branding and what lessons you can apply to your own business.
1. Orangetheory Fitness
Orangetheory Fitness is a high-intensity interval training workout designed to improve strength, energy at a cellular level. The signature workout is based on the ideal heart rate for burning fat and promises results. What’s great about the brand is that it builds a loyal and fierce following because customers feel like they are seeing results quickly.
The brand is built around community and revolves heavily around technology. The logo uses the renowned Orangethoery splat, which slots in with the workout’s splat points and pulls the focus back to the results you can expect to achieve. Every part of the brand from the concept to the design has been thought out meticulously and it shows through in a very polished brand.
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2. Girls Just Wanna Box
Girls Just Wanna Box is an all-women’s boxing gym in Toronto. From the very beginning, founders Kristina Ejem and Helene Jafine focused on building a memorable brand. Through every touchpoint of the brand, you can feel the passion for fitness and mission to unite women through boxing. There is a clear personality with an undeniable and strong understanding of exactly who its target audience is.
To hear more about how Girls Just Wanna Box built the brand and how it went online during the coronavirus pandemic, listen to Kristina and Helena on the Fitness Founders Podcast. The pair discuss bringing their studio back stronger after lockdown.
3. F45 Training
F45 Training is one of the fastest-growing fitness franchises. The Australian-born brand now has more than 1,750 locations worldwide. A mixture of community and experience has gained F45 Training a fierce and loyal following. The brand is focused on people’s increasing need to connect with other people and feel like they are a part of something.
Throughout every touchpoint, the brand uses every opportunity to engage its audience and customers. The branded heat rate monitor, app, and fitness program combine to create an experience that members love. F45 Training is friendly and approachable and leverages high-tech equipment to deliver an addictive fitness experience.
4. Spartans Boxing Club
Spartans Boxing Club is a community-focused boxing club that’s expanding rapidly across the Middle East and the Asia Pacific.
The community feel alongside the messaging of honor and courage helped to create a brand where people can both train and connect. The workout is ‘Made for Everyone’ to develop an atmosphere that is entirely inclusive. Again, this leans on community and the need for people to connect with one another. Russ Harrison, the Group Managing Director of Spartans Boxing Club, talks here about growing a successful fitness franchise from the ground up and building the company’s brand.
The 5 Step Fitness Branding Framework for Success
Several elements combine to create your fitness branding. Here is our five-step framework for creating an amazing brand to make the process as easy as possible.
1. Understand Your Target Audience and Member Personas
The first step is to truly understand the inner workings of your target audience. Many gyms and fitness centers have multiple member personas. When you think about your branding, start by considering who your ideal customer will be. One thing that some of the strongest fitness brands have in common is a clear understanding of their target audience. They know exactly who they are speaking to with everything they say.
When you know who you are speaking to, you can develop a brand identity that is fully aligned with your audience. To understand who you want to reach, it’s a good idea to write down your member personas. The personas represent different target segments. You want to find out as much information about these personas as possible so that you can find out what drives them. All this information can influence your brand visuals, personality, and more.
2. Discover Your Purpose
At this point of your branding process, it’s time to discover why you are different, what makes you unique and why anyone should care. Think about the problem you are solving and your differentiating factors. When two gyms essentially do the same thing, why would a potential member choose one over another? That’s where your branding can have a powerful effect on the decision-making process. Your purpose sets the foundation for your branding. Elements such as your tagline, slogan, voice, tone, messaging, mission statement and more all arise from your very purpose for existing.
3. Do Your Market Research
In the early stages of your fitness brand, a lot of the decisions will come off the back of thorough research. Do your market research and find out what competitor brands are doing. Look at where your competition succeeds and fails. By analyzing your competitive landscape, you can unearth opportunities that will help you create both an incredible brand as well as form the basis of a killer strategy. When you find a gap in the market, you can figure out what makes you different and stand out from the competition. The goal is to set your business apart, not to emulate a brand exactly that is already successful.
4. Design Your Visual Fitness Branding
A strong and recognized brand makes a visual impact. It’s memorable, cohesive, and is easy to apply to multiple design elements. Your brand visuals are the embodiment of your purpose, mission, and values. It’s what your customers will see on your website, marketing materials, staff t-shirts, fitness clothing, and anything else you put your business name on. When designing your brand visuals, there are a few factors to consider including:
- Imagery styles
- Branding guide
5. Establish and Live Your Brand
When you combine all these elements, you create and establish your brand. A brand is visual, emotional, and human. It’s hugely valuable. It’s crucial that you maintain brand consistency across all parts of your business. When switching between your social media, website, and digital fitness platform, there should be no question about who you are and what you represent. After establishing your brand, you and your employees need to implement and live the brand. If you’re all about fun, inclusivity, and vibrancy, your members should feel this in everything from a social media post to your latest class stream.
There is a lot more to building a brand than designing a logo and choosing a complementary colorway. While it may seem intimidating to build a successful fitness brand, you can move through the process much more effectively with the right guidance. Your brand helps you to connect with customers, build trust, and ultimately grow your business. Building a brand requires a framework and strategy. By taking the steps necessary, you can work to develop a memorable brand that will become one of your most valuable business assets.