What did your class set up look like pre-Covid?
We had 24 people in a class with 2 trainers. We really worked to mimic a 1:1 experience in a group environment. Our brand promise to our clients was “all you have to do is show up and we take it from there” so we really wanted to provide a comfortable and personalized experience for all fitness levels.
What has your experience been since Covid?
We were luckily already in the mindset of thinking outside of our 4 walls and growing our brand. Last summer we had already launched our VOD platform as a value add to our clients so that was already in place but we lowered the price point and lengthened the trial period of the VOD right away because we wanted to make it as accessible as possible to clients. We planned from the beginning to never cease revenue generating activities as we wanted to continue to pay our staff so we went as quickly as possible and mimicking our existing business model as possible in a full virtual platform. To mimic our in person experience we had to go 2 way Live Stream so we made decisions rapid fire and in 3 days had a full Zoom/Live Stream schedule up, still limiting to 24 people in a class but now with 1 trainer.
We also rolled out a ton of new initiatives to serve our special populations and those at the highest risk: Forever Fhit (for 65+), Fhit Kids, and Pre/Post Natal classes just to name a few.
Virtual Fitness actually allowed us to cast a wider net and allowed instructors to showcase their strengths. We were able to explore different expressions of the brand and be more creative with our programming. We also ventured into a ton of private classes that we wouldn’t have been able to logistically offer in person. We have done kids parties, corporate team building classes, and even wedding workouts.
Covid has enabled Fhitting Room to almost create its own innovation laboratory.
How did you get to sold out classes pre-Covid? And what is that connection to branding?
Fhitting Room is about more than just the workout. It is community based. Our message to our clients is that we are going to take care of you and as a result they take care of us. That goodwill comes back. Our trainers are personal trainers by education and experience so they are all about relationship building and personalized touch.
Why do you feel so strongly that your branding is a big part of your success?
I love marketing and consumer experience. The whole idea for Fhitting Room was born out of a consumer need. There was a need for the community experience with the results of private training. So we offered the whole thing. “The whole has to be greater than the sum of the parts” We wanted to overdeliver.
Define what brand means to you:
It is the intangible. The whole experience. Brand is how one of my clients would explain Fhitting Room to me. The intangible of the Fhitting Room brand is not the workout, that is the product, that is not our secret sauce. Our secret sauce is community and connection and feeling taken care of.
What actions can owners take to enhance their brand?
If you don’t know the real reason that people come to you and spend money with you… ASK. It’s not about what you want your brand to be. It’s what people rely on you for. Once you identify that, look across all touch points (the look of your space, your merch, your website, your collateral, etc.) and make sure that you are always consistent and deliberate with that messaging and that it supports why people come to you.
Ask yourself, “could this come from another brand?” If the answer is yes, then you haven’t truly uncovered your unique selling proposition to your clients and you need to keep asking.
What is your favorite marketing/branding book?
Steve Job’s autobiography and Shoe Dog (Phil Knight’s memoir)
What is the relationship between culture and brand?
They are totally linked. Having a good culture means having a team that is proud to be part of your brand and that strengthens your brand because they really support it and showcase it.