To many people, even business owners in fitness and other sectors, “branding” simply refers to the visual elements that represent a company. In truth, however, branding is much more than just a logo, colors, and name design. Your brand is your reputation, i.e., who you are in the eyes of your audience. Without a brand, your fitness club is forgettable. With a strong, consistent one, you can carve out your own lucrative place in the industry.
In 2022, the market size of the gym, health, and fitness club industry measured in revenue is $36.6BN, with an anticipated growth rate of 3.7%. With such fierce competition to overcome, developing a strong fitness brand is imperative if you want to stand out. In this article, we’ll go over why branding matters and how you can create a successful brand for your club.
Why Fitness Club Branding is So Important
Fitness club owners are often so focused on member acquisition and engagement that branding becomes an afterthought. But when you do prioritize branding then acquisition, engagement, and retention will fall into place much more seamlessly. Let’s go over some of the benefits of devoting time, energy, and resources to developing a clear and powerful fitness brand.
Establish a Recognizable Identity
For all intents and purposes, your brand is who you are as a business. Or, at the very least, it’s who your audience perceives you to be. Strong and consistent branding makes a longer-lasting impression on consumers, which then leads to increased recognition. When you make yourself stand out to prospects while they’re in the awareness and consideration phases of their journey, they’re more likely to remember you when they’re ready to buy.
Top Tip: ClubWise’s club management software can help you weave your brand throughout your member experience with features like a branded app, customizable marketing campaign templates, and personalized in-app engagement.
Build Trust with Your Audience
Cohesive branding gives you credibility and authenticity in the eyes of your target market. The trust that comes from that is essential to consumers when it comes time to make a purchase. In fact, in a 2019 survey conducted by Edelman, 81% of buyers said that they must be able to trust a brand if they’re going to buy from it. If you want your leads to convert, they need to see you as a credible business that has put time and effort into establishing an identity.
So, that brand recognition and trust we just talked about? That combination is what will drive customer acquisition at your fitness club. When customers know and like who you are, they’ll have the confidence they need to hand over their money. People naturally feel more comfortable with things that are familiar to them — like when you gravitate to the people you know at a big party. The same holds true in our buying decisions. If your branding is strong and effective, consumers will have a positive association with your brand that precedes and informs their membership commitment.
Great branding will not only help get new members through your club doors but also will help you retain them long term. A relatable story and identity are elements your audience can connect with. That emotional connection and trust they have with you are what will keep them coming back. When you take the time to build a relationship with them first, their loyalty will come more easily.
Motivate Your Team
Establishing a brand is a great way to tap into the emotions not just of your audience, but of your employees too. A consistent brand offers a sense of unity and helps employees feel that they’re a part of something bigger than just a job. When you communicate brand values that your team can relate to and share, they’ll feel good about working for you and toward what you stand for. This will keep them with you longer and motivate them to work harder.
How to Create a Strong Fitness Brand
Now that you know why you need to develop a brand for your fitness club, you’re ready to go over the how. Here are the steps you can take to create a fitness brand that resonates and stands out in the crowd:
1. Start with market research.
Before you can decide how you want to serve your members and prospects, you need to know what they already have and what they need. Conducting market research to gather that information is an important place to start as you’re brainstorming brand strategy. Examples of information you’ll need to uncover include buyer personas, local competition, current trends, and challenges your competitors and customers are facing.
2. Define your brand values and your target audience.
Once you know where there’s room for you to stand in the local market, you can start to think about what you want your brand to be and how you want to be perceived. But before you can tell people who you are, you need to know who you’re trying to reach and how to define your club in a way that appeals to them.
To ensure your brand reaches the people most likely to join your club, you need to define your ideal customer before you define your brand. Who are they? What do they want/need? What are their pain points (i.e., problems you can solve)? How can you best communicate with them? After these questions are answered, you can decide how to shape your brand to fulfill those demographics. Remember: the brand identity and values you establish now will be the fabric of the emotional connection that captures and retains new members.
3. Determine your value proposition.
You can tell consumers who you are until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t also tell them why they should chose you over someone else, it isn’t going to make a difference. Part of defining your fitness brand is highlighting what makes a membership at your club more valuable than the many other gyms they have to choose from — this is your value proposition.
A brand’s value proposition is often conveyed through their mission statement, as well as other content as they develop further. As you’re crafting your brand statement, make it clear that you understand your audience, have identified their problem, and have a solution to offer. This is also an important opportunity to establish your voice and personality as a fitness brand.
4. Create visual elements to communicate your brand.
As we mentioned earlier, many people associate branding with just visual elements like your logo and graphics. Although this is not the full scope of a brand, visuals are still important to making your brand whole. These are the aspects of branding that consumers often see first and remember the most. Nike’s swoosh, for example, is easily identifiable, or McDonald’s golden arches.
The visual components of your branding should always be representative of your brand identity and, where applicable, your value proposition. These encompass things like your logo, slogan, name, font, colors, design theme, and other graphics.
5. Live and market your brand identity.
The most important part of establishing a strong brand in the fitness industry is practicing what you preach. Ultimately, this is how you will build trust and retain loyal customers. Once your brand values are defined, those are what you should be always striving for. If you’re branding yourself as an inclusive gym, for example, you should be producing content geared toward beginners and experienced gym-goers alike.
Along with living your brand, you’ll also need to get the word out about it so people can get to know you! Here are a few things you can do to help your brand gain (and then maintain) some momentum:
- Create a Google listing
- Engage on social media
- Run paid ads
- Create a quality website
- Run promotional campaigns
- Produce online content (e.g., social media posts, videos, blog articles, infographics)
- Start a referral program
- Incorporate visual brand elements into your club space
- Sell branded merchandise
Create, Establish & Grow Your Brand with a Club Management Solution that Can Do It All
One of the most invaluable tools you can have to get your brand off the ground and keep it going strong is a management software that streamlines club operations. With ClubWise, you can automate major functions like scheduling, payments, member communications, and even club check-in. You can also implement elements of your brand right from the prospect stage and throughout membership to create a cohesive and elevated total club experience.
Help your fitness brand reach its full potential and get started with a free demo today!
Get started with a free demo