Branding your company in a crowded marketplace
by Joshua Fedie | Owner | The “Adholics”
This is not a post about working-out or living healthy or my recent weight loss successes. Not entirely anyways. This is a post about branding and how if used properly it will effectively set your company apart in a crowded marketplace. But let me preface the post a bit with a little about how the topic came to me.
It was totally unintentional at first. 1yr. ago I purchased a bike for myself and wife plus a Burley trailer to pull the kids thinking it would be a fun way to enjoy the Minnesota summers. Right away I fell back in love with the sport of Cycling (something I hadn’t done since I was 15) and ran back to the bike shop to get myself a full-on race bike and all the spandex aerodynamic clothing my closet could hold. I didn’t even set out to get in shape, but after losing 20 pounds having fun for a couple months I decided I might as well make it official and pledge to lose the spare tire and get into fighting shape. As a result, last summer turned out to be one of the best summers of my life. I competed in a handful of amateur races and took myself out on many days of sunny rides around Minnesota. It quickly became an obsession and I frequently found myself riding 40+ miles a day. The season ended for me completing 75 miles of a 100 mile ride in Northfield MN, I was upset at first that I was unable to complete the ride, but I guess 75 miles is pretty good for a guy that just started biking 4 months earlier.
What I discovered was the better I felt physically, the better I functioned mentally and it had a direct impact on my focus as a business professional.
Then winter came.
The dreaded Minnesota winter.
Not really the best weather for road bikes.
That’s when the fear set in. How can I keep this weight off? I had spent the family clothing budget for the year on myself replacing all of my old clothes with pieces that actually fit. It’s not cheap replacing an entire wardrobe (I honestly didn’t think I had that much to lose) but taking 40 pounds off over a summer means nothing you used to wear looks good. Nothing. And since I had donated all of my old clothing I couldn’t afford to buy larger pieces again, nor did I want to be in the position where I would have to do that. I had to figure out how to keep it off.
This is where I did something that defied who I had been and redefined who I was becoming. To the horror and amusement of my friends and family I joined a gym. For me, this really was a strange occurrence.
That first gym which will go unnamed was not the right fit, too many pushy salespeople and way too many beautiful people. I constantly felt like I was being analyzed from every angle. That was not a place I knew I could excel.
That’s when I set out to find the right place for me.
And that is where the marketing portion of this post starts.
I had never noticed until it became a focus of mine, but Minnesota is full of health clubs. Small boutique Yoga/Pilates/Spin/Zumba clubs are everywhere as well as at least a dozen larger health clubs, some that have a national presence, and many that are actually based here. I used to think it was impossible to throw a stone without hitting a Starbucks, but now I know if you have slightly bad aim, you’ll just hit the health facility next-door to the coffee shop. We have that many of them, it’s awesome. This does however bring up an issue, setting yourself apart in a crowded marketplace.
Again, I will not go into details about the facilities struggling with their identity, but I will call out a couple I found that are doing it right.
Steele Fitness is a Minnesota based company that if you live here you have surely come across in some way. Their spaces are as modern and clean as their logo and their print campaign and branded vehicles they drive to their in-home trainings are spot on perfect. Their website could use some work, I might have to introduce them to “Adholics” sister company Web/Dev Rehab, but otherwise they have done a great job defining who they are and what makes them different. I applaud their efforts and am a fan of how they have branded their company.
The Firm takes the cake (probably not the right term to use) for the best club name (in my humble opinion). They also take first place for the Most.Scary.Images.Ever on their website. Don’t get me wrong I love the pictures but they have kept me personally away from the club from fear I would get yelled at as much as I feel I would judging by the proliferation of people screaming and sweating all over the site. I actually feel like I should spritz myself with water while on their website just to feel like I’m in the group. Regardless, they are going after their audience like no one else in town and if that is the kind of place for you they have made it clear they are here for you. The Firm also takes home a little extra credit for the hometown Prince reference on their Yoga tab. If you’re a Prince fan you’ll understand. Great job to The Firm. Sincerely. I will be in for a spin class one day soon.
But what is the club that inspired this blog post you ask?
Yes, Planet Fitness.
Check out their commercials if you haven’t seen them yet. Hilarious.
Spot 1: Burn
Spot 2: Hot
They have set themselves up as the anti-Golds Gym. The marketing campaign with the “No Lunks Allowed” and “You belong” tags are great and their phrase “We’re not a gym, we are Planet Fitness” appeals perfectly to a huge group of individuals that need a place to stay healthy that also helps them feel supported. It doesn’t hurt that they also only charge $10 a month. My wife and I both have memberships for less than a single membership almost anywhere I could find. What they have done to set themselves apart (nationally might I add) is nothing short of brilliant. The attitude of the staff is across the board on-brand, the facilities are perfectly decorated to support their image and the promises they make in their television spots are actually met in full at the club. I love them. I plan to be a member for a long time. They have become part of my family and they have been a big contributing factor to me keeping the winter weight off and actually losing 5 more pounds over the last 4 months. I would love to make them a client, so if they are reading this, call me;)
What other heath facilities have done a good job in Minnesota setting themselves apart? I’d love to hear about them. Feel free to shoot me a message.
If you are a facility looking for your unique voice, I would love to chat. The Brand Rehab might be just the ticket to getting your image right.