When people think of branding, many tend to think of it as picking the right colors for their website and sorting out a good logo. That’s part of it, of course, but there’s far more to brand development than that.
If you really want to dig into brand development for your gym and create a coherent, genuine impression in people’s minds, then this is the article for you. We’re going to give you our top brand development tips for gyms and show you why your brand matters, how it can make attracting and keeping members far easier, and exactly what you need to do to develop your gym brand.
What is branding?
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, knows a thing or two when it comes to running a successful business. As for branding, this is how he describes it: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
That’s a straightforward definition that encompasses everything you’ll want to achieve when branding your business. Your brand is how people see you, what they think about you and what you stand for, and what their experience is with you.
While you can’t directly instruct people on what to think about your gym, your branding can and should convey the right impression so that members and non-members alike have the same general sense of you and your business.
A well-developed brand can help to shape people’s views of your gym and ensure you attract the right members.
And that’s just one of the reasons why developing your brand matters. Here are just a few more:
- The stronger your brand, the easier it is for potential customers to identify with it and think, “this is for me.”
- Equally, the stronger your brand, it’s easier to put off people that you don’t want to attract. Then you don’t waste time or money marketing to the wrong audience.
- A strong, clear brand can bring your company together with a shared vision. If you’re clear about what you stand for, it can also fire up your staff and turn them into brand ambassadors who get what you’re trying to achieve. Manage that, and they won’t keep their opinions to themselves outside of work. They’ll want to be a part of things and tell others how they feel about working for your gym. This also impacts your customers and followers. It’s obvious when someone really doesn’t care about their job. And it’s equally obvious when someone is genuinely passionate about what they do. Your community will feel it when you have genuinely engaged employees and that’s highly attractive to current members and potential members alike.
- A clear brand makes it easier to market your gym as everyone in the company understands what you’re about. It’s then easier for everyone to “sing from the same hymn sheet” and provide a clear and consistent message. It’s easier to write marketing copy and stay on brand across all of your marketing, including print, social media, email marketing, and your website.
- As you build your brand reputation, you’re also building trust and credibility for your gym.
Brand development tips for gyms
Read on for our top ten brand development tips and create an excellent impression of your gym in the minds of your current members and followers:
1) Define what makes your brand unique
There are a lot of other gyms out there. Which means that in order to be successful and continually attract new members, you need to stand out.
Take your time with this exercise and look at what you offer that other gyms don’t. What do you stand for? What are your values? Who do you serve?
What makes your gym unique compared in particular to your direct competitors and other gyms in your local area?
Something that can work really well here is to brainstorm ideas with your team and see what other people can come up with. As the gym owner, it’s possible you can be too close to your gym to mentally stand outside of it and look at it as any passing stranger might.
Write down your ideas at this stage and then follow the next steps to start refining your brand.
2) Evaluate your competitors
Pick your top competitors and analyze them thoroughly. Do a SWOT analysis to uncover their strengths and weaknesses. If you haven’t already done a SWOT analysis for your own gym, it’s worth doing that here so you can compare your results with your competitors and see where you can do better.
Look at your competitors’ branding. Ask the same questions you asked of yourself in section one. What do they stand for? How do they come across to an outside viewer? What is unique about them?
Now look at where you can clarify what your differences are and where you do better than the competition.
3) Identify your ideal client
Look at who you want to aim for. Do you offer a women-only gym? Do you cater only to top athletes who are aiming to represent their country and wring every last ounce of performance from themselves? Do you want to be the warm and welcoming community gym that genuinely wants to help and is open to anyone, no matter their size or fitness level? Are you high end or cheap and cheerful?
Picture those different audiences and think about what the branding might look like for each individual audience and what would attract their people that wouldn’t attract the others. Even if none of those describe your gym and your audience, it’s a good exercise to do, so you can imagine what different audiences want and apply what you learn to your own audience.
If you haven’t already done it, create one or more buyer personas to represent your ideal clients. This will help you clarify who you are marketing to and what they want to hear.
4) Use compelling messaging
With the knowledge you’ve gained from the first three exercises, it should now be easier than ever to craft messaging that your ideal clients want to hear. You know what’s unique about your business, how to differentiate it from your competitors, and who your ideal audience is.
That’s the perfect starting point to look at your current marketing messaging and think about your brand voice and how you want to come across to your audience.
Evaluate the marketing messaging you already have and begin to tailor your messaging to suit your new branding. Don’t worry if you don’t nail it straight away. This is something you can and should revisit regularly to make sure you’re staying on brand and giving your customers what they want.
5) Create a professional logo
Using what you’ve learned up to now, it’s time to get a professionally designed logo that reflects your brand and who you are as a gym.
Don’t skimp on this. Think about the effectiveness of great logos. We probably don’t need to describe the logos for Nike, Puma, or Jordan. You can probably see them in your mind as we list them.
Imagine how powerful it would be if that was the case for your gym, if everyone in your local area and beyond immediately recognized your logo and thought of your gym. That’s what you’re aiming for here.
Think about color choice, fonts and design elements that go with the brand that you’re beginning to develop. If you want to be warm and welcoming but still invoke high energy, for example, warm but zingy colors such as orange and yellow could be a good choice. Or, if you want to be seen as professional and geared to high-end pricing and top results, cooler, smoother colors like blues and greens may reflect your brand better. What absolutely screams your gym from the rooftops?
6) Be consistent
As you develop your brand, it’s important that you use it consistently everywhere.
Everything you write, no matter where it appears, should be written in your brand voice. You and your staff should also have a consistent voice when talking about your gym.
Whether you’re on social platforms, your website, or in person at the gym, your logo and brand colors should be the same and used consistently.
It’s also helpful if you can get the same username for your gym on each social platform as your gym name and domain name. It all helps to build your brand and add to that feeling of recognition for your audience.
7) Be authentic
When building your brand, you can’t simply pick what you think your audience wants to hear and go with that. You have to believe it too, and so do your employees. Otherwise, how can you begin to convince anyone else that that’s who you are?
People can spot a fake a mile away and they will know if you aren’t coming from a place of authenticity.
Your brand starts with you and it has to resonate and feel authentic to you first.
8) Engage your community
People love to get involved, follow, and engage with brands that they love. Use your branding and knowledge of your audience and who you are to bring people into your community and build something genuine.
Ask them questions. Ask them what they want in a gym and what content they want to see. Then use that feedback to give it to them.
And when they comment on your posts and ask questions, respond to them. Like their posts. Thank them for commenting and answer their questions. Be real, be genuinely you, and people will start to engage with you.
9) Create valuable content
By this stage, you should have a very good idea of what people want to see on your website and on your social platforms. You should know what formats they like, including video, listicles, short or long blog posts, quick tips, Q&As, live streams, and more.
When running a gym, there are so many things you could talk about online. You could offer quick ten or twenty minute free online classes, either for specific goals or as full body workouts to get exercise, even if people are short on time. You could do longer classes too. You could answer questions on nutrition, macros, how much protein to eat to support exercise goals and life stage, talk about equipment and technique, and so much more. And, of course, you can promote your in-person classes and what’s going on at your gym. Another really important type of post is the before and after story, with images and video. People love to see that others have had good results from joining your gym. It’s great social proof and adds to your credibility and your reputation too.
10) Build a reputation
You can’t start on day one with an instant reputation unless you’re a well-known celebrity or a trainer already known in the area for excellent results. If you have either of those in your favor, great! You’re ahead of the curve.
If not, scroll up. Everything you’ve been doing as you’ve followed the steps above has already started contributing to building your reputation.
Now what you have to do is continue to stay consistent with your branding and keep building trust with your community and providing social proof. The more authentic you are and the more you help people with your content and engage with your audience, the more you will build an excellent reputation.
And the more members and warm leads you’ll get.
Building your brand isn’t about doing anything that’s not in you already or that you don’t believe in. It’s about being genuinely you in person and online.
Build your brand with Surefire Local
At Surefire Local, we have long experience of building brands for gyms and fitness centers. We understand what it takes to build a brand and be consistent. Not only that, but our all-in-one business intelligence marketing software can help you do it. With just one login, you can do everything from an easy-to-use dashboard, saving you time that you can spend on building your business and attracting exactly the right members to your door:
1) Send review requests via text message and email and post responses
Consistently getting reviews is a huge part of building your reputation and it’s also important to respond to each one when you get it. People love to see great reviews when they’re looking for a new gym. It’s reassuring and provides important social proof.
Instead of having to go to each individual site and log in, with our local marketing software, you can manage all of your reviews and responses from our dashboard.
2) Create and publish content to your blog, social media, and Google Business Profile
Don’t waste time logging into your blog, then each social media platform and your Google Business Profile individually.
Jot down ideas, create posts, and schedule or instantly publish your content to all platforms without leaving your dashboard.
3) Share photos and videos across platforms and profiles
Easily manage your images and videos in our marketing software and share them quickly from your dashboard right across your online presence, including your directory listings.
4) Maintain consistency when it comes to the information found about your gym online
Don’t waste time posting individually on your Google Business Profile, your online directories, such as Yelp, and all of your social media accounts.
Instead, you can update your online information, including your name, address, and phone number, special offers, discounts, new classes, and more all in one go with our simple software.
We can update over 80 directories and your GBP for you at once.
It’s then easy to be consistent and ensure you’re providing the same information across all platforms and that your listings are error-free.
5) Increase local search rankings with an optimized website
Ensure your website is fully optimized for SEO with our software. Make sure you have your main keywords and local keywords in the right places in your copy and your images.
Gain better rankings from doing everything right first time.
6) Measure engagement to determine what your audience is most interested in
With quality reports, analytics, and statistics, our software can give you a clear overview of your marketing so you can see how everything is going.
You can also dig down and see which are your most popular posts, what people are searching for, what types of content are most popular and more.
And you can measure your engagement to see what people are responding to and what you need to do more of.
7) Send targeted email campaigns to foster client relationships
You don’t even have to leave our software to manage and send your email marketing campaigns. You can segment and target your list, schedule in advance, or send live.
Build your relationships and get closer to your audience with targeted email marketing that gives them what they want.
8) Determine brand sentiment
Our software offers an included word-cloud graph revealing frequently used words in your reviews. From this, it’s easy to build up a clear picture of how your reviewers and your audience feel about your gym.
This is great for seeing what people like about your gym and also provides good insights into what people might like to improve.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Save time when it comes to branding your gym with our professional business intelligence marketing software. You don’t need multiple pieces of software, just one clear dashboard to manage every aspect your marketing, as well as your branding.
Why not book a demo with our friendly team and see how you can manage your most important online marketing activities within one platform and free up your time.