How To Define Your Brand Promise in 5 Steps

By Rosanne Bussing

Published 30 December 2021

A lot of incredibly hard work and diligence goes into creating a brand promise. A brand promise is the experience that your customers can expect to receive every single time that they interact with your business. No matter if members are walking into your health club in person or logging in virtually, the brand promise must extend across the board to all the ways a client might interact with your fitness business. The more your health club or gym delivers on this promise, the stronger the value of your brand in the mind of both your clients as well as your employees. With a strong brand promise that delivers results, staff will stay longer and be happier and members will stay longer and be happier. So, just how do you craft a solid brand promise and deliver on it? Here is how to design your brand promise in 5 steps.

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What do you sell?

To begin creating your brand promise, it is important to get clear on what you sell. Here we’re talking about things like: health, fitness and fun, confidence, wellness and well-being, lifestyle changes, a healthier mind and body, motivation, support and guidance, and a sense of community. This is keeping it really general: all health clubs and gyms sell these things to some extent- your competitors included. What your competitors cannot recreate, and what will become the absolute basis of your brand promise is how you make your customers feel. The actual experience that members have within your club and when they interact with your club is what is completely unique to your brand. So how do you start delivering that?

What do you do, and for who?

Crafting your unique brand promise means answering this basic question: what do you do, and for who?  Your brand promise will depend on taking the things you sell and combining them with three main elements: what you offer, what your customers need and what the market is missing. This defines the purpose of your brand and the fundamental value you commit to delivering to your members day in and day out.

Define the Top 5 things Your Customers Talk About: 

What are your customers – both members and staff- talking about? What are you doing well and what are you doing badly?  Gathering feedback from within your gym is one of the most important steps within the branding process. It will help you to give your members what they want instead of what you think they want. Feedback also helps you to identify your superhero clients: the ones who come in most often, who give the best reviews of your business and the ones who refer the most new clients. These are the customers- the superhero clients and long term members whose voice will really resonate in your brand promise. Commit to making decisions based on what staff and customers are saying and you will reap the benefits. 

Look for Common Themes Across the Board

What separates your health club from the other clubs around? Why is it that your members keep returning? What is it your staff is working for? How do they feel about you? Do they put themselves wholly behind the values of the organization?  Everyone should be on board when it comes to creating and guiding the brand promise. From senior managers to the PT team, reception team, etc. Gather intel from all departments and be sure to not leave anyone out. What separates you from your competitors is how you make them feel, and the brand promise arises by getting feedback from a full cross-section of your members and staff. Once you’ve collected all the data from staff and members, you can begin to look for themes that are common to everyone.

Deliver Values vs Virtues

Delivering the experience is the last step of a strong brand promise. Virtue is what you do rather than what you say you do. In your fitness business, your values must meet the virtues or today’s fitness consumer will lose interest in your brand. What you do must be in line with what you say you’re going to do. Once your brand promise is defined you need to make sure it is not only words, but also actions that every member of staff can follow to deliver the same experience.

Here it is important to reiterate that your customer experience is not on-site or online- its both. If your online offering is not providing the same level of customer experience as your in-club offering, then it’s taking away from it. And if your online product isn’t reflecting your brand promise and brand values, then it’s a different product. Racing to build an online offering and losing your brand promise is not reflecting your values. Both experiences should be relevant to your values and brand promise, taken separately as well as together.

The immediate takeaway to craft a better brand promise is that it’s all about listening. Make sure everyone is clear on what you want to achieve and why. Help them feel that they’re a part of it. The whole team will turn up and staff and members will both be happier.  Once you start to get that info it’s time to take action. Remember that your business does not HAVE a culture, your business IS its culture. The leadership and the people at the top need to be the examples for this culture in order for everyone else to be ready and willing to live out the culture as well, and for that purpose, the brand promise must be clearly defined.

Rosanne Bussing

Product marketing intern at Virtuagym.

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