5 Tips for a Successful Gym Rebrand

The Wodify Guest Blog Series is part of our initiative to open our doors to the Wodify fitness community around the world, so they may share their experiences, news, and advice.

Clay Weldon is the owner of 321GoProject, a leading software company that provides branding, websites, and marketing resources to the fitness industry. Clay thrives at being the catalyst behind business strategies that help gym owners find continued success. 

One topic that gym owners often ask me about is Rebranding. 

Generally speaking, rebranding refers to redesigning a logo and graphic design elements, marketing materials, and a website. Done right, rebranding can boost your gym’s reputation, further energize you and your staff, and attract new members that might not have previously been interested in or aware of your business. 

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That said, this article is about more than just updating the visual elements of your gym. Rebranding provides an opportunity for you to reflect on your growth and progress to date. And that’s where my five tips come into play:

1. Start With the Business Reason

Some rebrands are very easy to justify, like the merger of two gyms. Others are more subtle, like a shift or outgrowth of a gym’s name and image. You need to clearly define the reason behind your rebranding effort. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money. 

Here are a few reasons that may apply to your gym:

  • You need to compete at a higher level or in a new market
  • Your brand no longer reflects who you are
  • You need to simplify and focus your message
  • You offer more than just one service

2. Understand your Target Audience

Who do you want in your gym? Baby boomers? College kids? Competitors? Soccer moms? Busy professionals? 

The only wrong answer here is “Everyone”. “I want to have a gym where everyone comes in and works hard and gets results,” is not a business strategy that works anymore, now that there’s a gym around every corner. Understanding specifically who you want to attract is imperative in order to stand out from the crowd.

When people are trying to solve their fitness problems, the only question they have is, “Is this right for me?” As you consider rebranding, make sure to have a clear answer for them. 

With limited resources and time, you can’t have it all, so you have to choose who to serve. College kids don’t need top-of-the-line amenities, but they also won’t pay high membership fees. Busy professionals need showers, convenient class times, and a great location. But they can also afford to pay for those conveniences. Serving a professional clientele will probably price out the college kids, but will also require a significant investment on your part. Don’t be afraid to make the tough choices here. 

3. Identify Your Place in the Market. 

In other words, figure out how to position yourself and frame your brand messaging to potential members. The easiest way is to get out of your space and see what’s out there. Make note of the things you’ll need to change in your branding in order to attract the people you want in your gym. 

Matt Scanlon, owner of The Hill KC, recently rebranded his gym and shared his advice: “Now that you’ve defined a target audience, start researching what they’re looking for in a brand. Want to reach soccer moms? Visit a spin class and take a ton of notes. Want to attract hardcore competitors? Check out a boxing gym in the bad part of town.” 

While I wish that quality coaching was a solid branding play, this is unfortunately not true. If it were, you’d see every OrangeTheory, Spin, and Barre studio investing less in brand strategy and more in staff development. Quality coaching is an amazing retention and referral tool, but it isn’t the solution for building a strong brand. 

4. Seek Feedback and Build a Guide

Reach out to your best members; the ones who come in most often and refer their friends. Ask them for honest feedback about your brand. 

  • How do people perceive the gym? 
  • Why do you refer people here? 
  • What made you want to try us out? 
  • What keeps you coming back?

Use their responses to create a consistent message across all platforms; in social media posts, on your website, and when you and your coaches are onboarding new members. Branding requires a level of consistency that can border on obsessive. Good branding should first feel right to you, and then it should invade every part of your gym and your customer experience. 

5. Build Your Brand Identity

Once you’ve done some thinking on why you want to rebrand, who you’re targeting, and what you can provide them, it’s time to develop the visual elements that will better communicate your message. Now you can get going on the graphic design materials, your new marketing materials, and a website that is focused on converting those new targeted leads to members.

Ready to get started with your own Gym Rebrand?

Download the FREE gym rebrand checklist 

Ready to put what you’ve learned into practice?
Download a free PDF handbook with many of NCFIT’s gym management procedures and philosophies that you can implement in your gym today.
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