It’s Time to Change the Narrative

October 4, 2021

The Fitness Industry has long fought the notion that marketing should focus on health and well-being and hung on too long to images of hard bodies, bikinis, and biceps. While they’re all wonderful by-products of living healthy, fit lifestyles they are simply that: by-products.

For most consumers, the real objective is to improve and maintain physical and emotional well-being. To reduce or eliminate risk factors that lead to susceptibility in contracting infectious and chronic diseases. The fact that we also look great in selfies and on date night is important for sure, it’s motivation to get there and stay there, yet the core of what gyms and health clubs offer is the space and expertise to achieve physical and emotional health for anyone who chooses to participate.

The battle the industry is currently facing—the re-education of consumers and decision-makers on the facts about its role in this pandemic, of being a solution and not a perpetrator – proves that the past reluctance to evolve content from body image-driven to health and lifestyle-based has had a significant and negative impact on the ability of gyms and health clubs to operate. This is a life or death fight.

Several elements should fold into a new, evolved message set pushed out by the industry, and that includes every health club and gym at the grassroots level

  1. Recent studies have proven that Obesity increases the risk for contracting COVID, this is in addition to years-long knowledge that obesity causes a whole host of chronic diseases that are wreaking havoc on individual quality of living and has helped create a reactive and very costly healthcare system. Fitness is a proven, proactive solution to obesity. 
  2. Demonstrate cleaning protocols, social distancing, and creative solutions to delivering exercise, physical activities, social opportunities, and community support. This is now part of the club’s brand. Find creative ways to express this critical content while still exposing the positives and fun that is inherent in health club memberships and experiences. Show neighbors the myriad ways the club is prepared and actively serving the community. 
  3. Eliminate the intimidation factor that has overstayed its welcome in marketing materials. Remove references to “looks” and focus on the “feels” … improved energy, mental clarity, quality of movement, less pain, reduced need for life-saving medications, positive outlook, and so on. The message must focus on health and well-being, and by the way – you'll look great, too! 
  4. Dumb down the message. The sheer volume of fitness information is overwhelming, never mind it is often overly complicated to the average consumer. KISS. No need to mention VO2 Max, metabolic conditioning, and muscle confusion. Focus the message on using exercise and proper nutrition for quality living. Share the tech-talk during training and coaching sessions instead of in promotions and advertising. 
  5. Position the brand as a local expert and trusted resource for the community. Be the place where friends and neighbors spend a few hours together each week working on building and maintaining healthy bodies. Blog, Vlog, Post and share Video useful content to earn the trust of your community. 
  6. Start actively marketing by creating videos and social posts that support all the above. Now is not the time to hold back. Now is the time to be loud, go big, and don’t stop until Fitness is commonly acknowledged as the legitimate, respected Industry actively supporting the health and well-being of society. 

Marketing Budgets are more tightly managed than ever. Smart tactics today rely on data-driven practices to define the ideal target audience most likely to convert and deliver profitable campaigns. Get in touch for a Market Penetration Study to learn how we can work with your club.

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