How to Make Your Gym’s Brand Work as Hard as You

Clubs have found they can expand brand recognition inside and outside the facility by engraving their logo on exercise equipment.

  • Jim Schmaltz
  • July 25, 2017
Article image

Your gym’s brand never rests. It has to keep working even after you close the doors and turn off the lights of your facility every night. In a highly competitive marketplace, you can’t miss any opportunity to build and protect your brand.

It’s not easy. Building brand equity is a long-term investment that requires more than a solid marketing plan. You have to earn loyalty and trust by delivering consistent value to consumers. And you also need to hire quality personnel and forge partnerships with the right vendors and suppliers who will help enhance your brand’s reputation.

In a promotional world that runs on guerilla marketing, viral memes, and videos, brands sometimes become too aggressive and do more harm than good. In a recent IHRSA webinar on branding, Shannon Malooly, membership and marketing director for The Claremont Club in Claremont, CA, cautions against going overboard.

“It’s important for clubs to differentiate themselves in ways that do not compromise their values or their integrity.”

Shannon Malooly, Membership and Marketing Director

The Claremont Club, Claremont, CA

While you want your brand and logo to be identifiable, Malooly suggests you should avoid dramatic changes that may backfire.

“The last thing we’d want to happen is to turn off anyone,” she said. “By completely changing your brand you risk losing members who have been faithful all along. It’s amazing to think what an effect distaste to a color scheme can have, but it needs to be considered before making radical changes.”

Still, you could have the greatest logo in the business, but it won’t do you much good if nobody sees it. You have to put it to work.

So how are you getting your brand out there?

The Fitness Branding Advantage in Social Media

The legend of the Nike swoosh as marketing brilliance provides a number of lessons for small businesses, especially health club owners seeking a way to enhance brand awareness. While you don’t have millions of dollars to throw at star athletes, you do have a clientele that responds to inspiring images and motivational stories on social media. And much of this content is user-generated.

The fitness industry is the ideal audience for today’s hashtag culture. According to recent statistics, 68% of Instagram users engage with brands regularly, compared to 32% for Facebook. And Instagram is growing faster than Facebook. It’s a testament to the power of visual storytelling for brands, and the fitness and health club industry is a prime engine of that growth.

Your own club members are some of your most loyal brand ambassadors. When they have a story to share, you want their audience to associate your name and logo with their positive message. While clubs have common-sense restrictions to using cameras in their facilities, especially sensitive areas like the locker room, you still want your name and logo visible as much as possible. And when the press comes in for a lifestyle feature, you want your name front and center.

Make Your Brand do the Heavy Lifting—Literally

Club operators have found that one of the most cost-effective ways to expand brand recognition inside and outside their club is by engraving their logo on exercise equipment. Iron Grip Barbell Company is a leader in partnering with health clubs of all sizes in creating equipment branding strategies. Known for designing durable, high-quality free weight equipment since its founding in 1993, Iron Grip has produced custom-engraved orders for more than 1,000 locations over the nearly 20 years they’ve offered the service.

Every photo shoot in your club, every social media post featured with your club’s equipment, becomes a marketing opportunity when your custom logo is prominently displayed on Iron Grip equipment. And for regular members, your logo is always a part of the environment.

Iron Grip itself is a prestige industry brand that will reinforce the value of your own name and logo. The company has been at the forefront of numerous innovations in free weight equipment, introducing 12-sided plates with integrated handgrips, and Urethane coating for Olympic plates. You don’t want to put your name on anything less than the highest quality products.

Iron Grip’s experts can assist with any questions you have, no matter the size of your club and scope of your branding needs. With stable inventories available without having to wait for overseas shipping, health clubs can count on reliable quality control and quick response from the Santa Ana, CA, company.

For more information on Iron Grip’s products and services, visit their website or call their toll-free number: (800) 664-4766.

Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org