With more than 34,000 health clubs across the U.S., your members have countless options to choose from. Besides offering exceptional programming, facilities and customer service, you need to ensure your company stands out. And the perfect way to make yourself memorable is by developing a strong brand.
We talked with a few branding and marketing experts who share their steps for developing an impactful, long-lasting brand.
Develop a branding strategy that is specific to your business.
According to Sara Jantsch, the vice president of operations at Duct Tape Marketing, a great way to do this is by taking a look at your company and its core values. Ask yourself the following questions: Who are your ideal clients? What is your core difference? What is your content plan to reach your ideal clients?
By answering these questions you can better identify who you are and what you stand for, and then make sure your brand aligns with that. “Once you have a strategy, you will be able to nail down what tactics make the most sense for your business,” said Jantsch. “The most important strategies will be different from one business to the next, even in the same industry.”
Quinn Bartsch, the director of digital services at Epsilon, agrees knowing your company and your optimal customer is essential for developing effective marketing. “Being able to pinpoint who your ideal customer is makes all the difference when deciding marketing tactics,” said Bartsch. “How does that customer consume media? How do they look for information? Having that data to support these types of questions helps strengthen the decision on what marketing tactics to deploy.”
Make sure all employees embody the brand.
Once you have crafted the perfect brand for your company, it is essential to ensure all employees understand the brand and exemplify it daily. When hiring new employees, Melanie Spring, the CEO of Sisarina, a brand strategy agency, suggested keeping your brand in mind.
“When you are hiring, if you are able, hire from your core values, not just for the need to fill a position,” said Spring. “When you hire for the right fit for the position, they might be the worst possible employee because they don’t fit with your core values. Sometimes it is easier to hire someone with the right attitude and they fit your brand really well, and you can train them on the skills later.”
Another tactic Spring suggested is bringing the whole company together, from the newest hire to the employee who has been there the longest, for a brand brainstorming session. “Have them discuss who they think your company is and what they think the company stands for, that way everyone can get on the same page,” explained Spring. “Sometimes there might be a difference between what people think, and by sharing ideas, it will help the team gel.”
Make developing your online presence a priority.
According to Jantsch, social media and online presence are two of the most important marketing tactics today. To be effective on social media, she highlights a few points to keep in mind. First, find out what platforms your customers are using. Are they on Facebook or do the majority of them turn to LinkedIn? Once you identify what platforms impact your customers the most, build out your profiles with consistent branding and images across all accounts.
“Share valuable content on a regular basis,” added Jantsch. “Don’t simply push people to your website — instead share other people’s content that your ideal client base would be interested in reading. Follow influencers in your industry and start sharing their updates. Finally, encourage engagement. Social media is all about relationships.”
Bartsch explained as a successful marketer, your goal is to be where your prospects and customers are. “With the expansion of social media and advertising formats available, you should make it a priority for your brand to be on them,” said Bartsch. “It is important to cultivate an online community through your social pages. Finding the right balance of posting content and imagery, along with relevant updates, promotes engagement and sharing among your followers, which in turn expands the awareness and loyalty to your brand.”
Live your brand.
Once you have developed your brand, commit to it in all facets of your company. Brand consistency is key. “Make sure that your voice in all aspects, from the person who picks up the phone when they call, to how your office looks inside, reflects your brand,” said Spring. “Does your Twitter sound like your Facebook? Is your sales team talking to the marketing team? Do your hiring processes fit with all of your marketing? It is really making sure every tiny touch point embodies your brand; who you are, what you do and how you take care of things.”