The way you brand your gym is one of the most crucial parts of being a gym owner. Without good branding, your gym might be forgotten in the noise, lose members’ trust, or be associated with poor quality.
Luckily, this can be averted by taking a look at different important aspects of the branding process. These are vital parts of your gym’s branding you should nail from the start.
1. Determine Your Target Group
Before you can actually start branding your gym, you need to know which group of people you’re going to focus on. Do you aim for a general crowd, or is are your members especially for experienced weightlifters?
Don’t underestimate this step, the target group(s) you pick will have influence on pretty much every step you take in the branding process. After having selected your target group(s) you have to adapt to them, otherwise people might not be joining your gym. Due to the changing nature of the fitness industry you should consider the unique ways you can target this audience at home. If another lockdown were to take place, what would this audience be doing? How would they best be reached?
Selecting your target group(s) might only be the beginning, but as the saying goes: a good start is half the battle.
2. Create a Visual Identity
After you have determined your target group it’s time to really start thinking about your brand. One of the first challenges you’re going to have, is deciding about the visual identity of your brand, since it has a huge impact on members’ first impressions and perceptions.
Think about the colors you want to use, your logo, but also textual elements such as a catchy slogan that fits your business. Try to make your visuals stand out in the crowd. This can be tricky with the vast amount of already existing fitness businesses.
Keep in mind that the goal for your visual identity is to have a place in people’s brains. Just hearing your slogan should be a cue for people to immediately think of your gym. If you succeed in doing that, you truly have a strong brand.
3. Correlating Your Brand Values with Your Members’ Values
As a gym owner you must have a vision, about the future of your gym, about your personal development and more importantly about the values you want to carry out with your gym. Your brand values define the kind of gym you have.
Do you want to inspire people to live healthy and stay fit or focus more on building their strength? Again, the brand values you have also depend on the target group you concentrate on.
But on the other hand, you started in this business because you have a passion, because you want to teach people about your values. Don’t forget that. It’s what keeps you going every single day.
To create the optimal situation, you need align your own values with your members’ values. Find a middle way in which both parties’ values are represented in your gym, so you and your members will be happy.
4. Be a Storyteller
One way of branding your gym is to tell stories. I’m not talking about your standard business story. Nobody enjoys reading a story about how good your business is. That’s why you have to tell enticing stories.
Gather some statistics and build a story around it or ask your members what they would like to read more. Develop your own voice by telling different kind of stories. You can also involve your members.
Maybe they have experienced something really cool in our gym, you could make a story of. The emotions and feelings that your stories contain will help you build your brand’s personality. Next to that, good stories are likely to be remembered by your audience, thereby increasing brand awareness.
5. A Good First Impression
Your brand’s personality and your brand’s values are part of the core of your business. But for your prospective members to really find out about those, they have to dig a little deeper than just a quick look at the homepage.
That’s why it’s also important to make a good first impression. One experiment has shown that people form their opinion in the first few seconds of seeing something. Even after they have had the chance to take a longer look, most of the respondents in the experiment didn’t change their opinion.
So make sure that, for example, the first few clicks on your website are captivating. Not only someone’s online first impression of your gym should be good. When a prospect physically visits your gym, they should also be given a warm welcome. Have staff members greet everybody and have them explain more about your gym and your services. It will increase the chances of wheeling in new members.
6. Brand Perception
Once you have given shape to your brand, it is important to monitor your progress. Is the message you’re trying to send with your brand, actually coming through?
Is your brand perceived, by the audience, in the way you want them to? You can investigate this by analyzing conversations about your brand on social media. This will help you understand which aspects contribute on the perception of your brand.
Another key component of maintaining a strong brand is a well-trained staff. They have a big influence on the way your values are communicated. It’s crucial that you instruct them on your gym’s culture, your values and the way they deal with members. They should also be trained on how to interact with members online as we move towards an increasingly more hybrid way of working out.
As I already mentioned, your staff has a big influence on the first impression of possible new members. Seeing a friendly face is a lot more inviting than someone who is staring at their phone not paying attention to anyone. Your staff could also contribute to word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage them to spread the word to their friends and family. Brand awareness can get a serious boost if you have a committed staff.
Every aspect of your gym’s branding I have mentioned above will fail if you are not consistent. Let’s take the use of your visuals, for example. Everywhere you come you should use the same colors, logo and symbols. Showing up with different things every time will cause confusion. The same goes for your brand values, always make sure you present the same, clear, message to your audience.
Otherwise your members will not know what your gym stands for and your branding efforts will not succeed. Something that helps you to be consistent is fitness software. For example, fitness software can provide your business with a custom branded app, including your own colors and logo. This will help you communicate a consistent brand experience.
Conclusion: Keep Optimizing!
Making your brand a success is a process that never ends. You always have to keep evaluating if the way you brand your gym has the desired results. Monitor how current members think about your gym, follow trends you can adapt your brand to and always keep making sure the message you want to send comes across.
Consistency is another key thing you need to have to maintain your brand. Whether you have to keep an eye on your staff, adjust brand values or pick a new logo, be consistent in everything. Then you have a chance to build a powerful brand.