Often when prospective gym owners are considering a new club, they think in terms of “I want a gym”, or “I can do this better than “XYZ Gym”.” They may consider the important details of location, target member and marketing. They may fantasize about what it will be like working for themselves, and selling their club to members. But the thing they most often neglect to address is their brand.
We imagine brand to be something for the big boys, the corporate players. We forget that everything that we stand for, believe in, and ultimately the face that we present to the world is our brand.
Determine your message
Effective branding has a defined path, with specific questions that must be answered BEFORE you are established or rush into a logo or color scheme.
- What is your gym’s mission statement?
- What do you want to be known for? (brand personality)
- What qualities do you wish to be associated with? (brand position)
- How do you want people to feel about your club?
- How will you help your member? (brand promise)
Together these questions will define your brand message. Write it down. Refer to it often. Post it in your club or in your office.
Create (or have created) a logo that you LOVE.
Things to consider in your logo design:
• Color/ colors
Colors help identify your gym’s personality, and as they likely will be a large part of your décor, those colors also set the mood or atmosphere in your club. The more vibrant the color scheme, the higher the energy. Muted shades are more relaxing.
Red- Passion, fire, energy Blue- Calmer, trustworthy, natural, power
Yellow- Cheerful, fresh, warm Orange- Health, youthful, happiness
Green- Eco-friendly, natural, balanced Purple- Mysterious, arrogant, luxury
Silver- Sleek, modern, playful
Once you have your color scheme, define the colors in html or pantone or some other standardized palette. Only use that “recipe” in ALL of your marketing. A shade or two off DOES matter. Consistency is key.
You may or may not choose to have an image as part of your logo design. But if you go the way of Apple, your image may become iconic.
Typically gyms incorporate an image that signifies their underlying belief or that represents the nature of their club. This could be a mountain (strength and stability), a barbell (weight training and exercise), a person doing functional exercise (functional training, nontraditional), or a mythical phoenix (rebirth, rejuvenation). Before you decide, ask several friends or acquaintances what the image you are considering means to them. This is particularly important in smaller communities, who may have some cultural bias.
Once you have a logo, use it EVERYWHERE! Save it in multiple formats, for a variety of uses (web, print).
When we opened our latest club, we struggled with name. We liked the trendy sounding ones like “The Edge”, or “Tribe Fitness”, but ultimately we settled on “The Gym at Cleveland”. It lends itself to easy marketing: “Follow me to TheGym”, “Meet me at TheGym”, and “Find fitness at TheGym”. Whatever you name your club, think in terms of your marketing, and marketing strategy. Sometimes it helps to look for acronyms that are short quick and to the point. A friend used JAM Fitness- Just About Me to name his concept.
Whatever you go with, do a name search in your state and make sure that you are not infringing on anyone. Then, establish a DBA under your existing company or register with your state.
Some folks, particularly those looking to franchise or license their concept may look to trademark their name or design.
A simple tagline can also be used to further define your concept. It should be meaningful and concise, and describe the essence of your club. Refer back to your motto, or your brand message or even your acronym to develop a meaningful tagline.
Some Cheesy Examples:
Olympus Fitness- Where Gods are Made
Quest Health and Fitness- Find Your Fitness Here
FBI- Fitness Begins Inside
Taglines can be an important element in defining your business and offerings.
In the early inception of your club, who you associate with does, in fact, influence your brand. Be very careful not to become exclusive to one demographic, but attempt to appeal to a broad audience. Example: Nike associates with athletes, not just football players. Or if you are a gym for “everybody’, pick models who reflect every man or woman, not just the super fit and attractive fitness model types for your website or ads.
Now that you have established the specific elements of your brand, you must begin building the brand with employees, members, prospects, and the community. through CONSISTENT execution. Repetition is key to the success of the branding process.