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Enter Into a Group Fitness Co-branding Partnership Because They Work


OK, you’re a large club with maybe one to 10 locations. You’ve got it down, including a dazzling front-of-the-house host, gleaming state-of-the-art equipment, strong, experienced personal trainers working the floor and in dedicated small group training spaces, and “exertainers” on stage in the large fishbowl of your Group X room for everyone to see the amazing energy and community of your group fitness galaxy. Done, right? No, think again.

We all have to be on our toes as the world has spun into a global community with fierce competitors and everything at our fingertips at the ready. Brands are abound and in order to keep up, think co-branding, and allow those that do it best to do it best for you and visa-versa. Co-branding is a strategic partnership between two brands where the success of one brand brings success to the other. Think Starbucks and Marriott, Pro-Golf and RedBull, Uber and Spotify, and all the way up the chain to BMW and Louis Vuitton.

Back to fitness. We are all seeing the “boutique” boom — studios popping up everywhere offering that one-of-a-kind, top-tier experience. Larger fitness clubs are just now figuring out how to “bottle” that and bring that experience into their small and large group exercise spaces. No longer can you count on Joe or Mary to lead the charge. Although they are good, they are not a big enough brand in themselves to bring it and bring it with back-up. They leave and then what?

How do you as a club owner or manager set yourself up for success and offer world-class group fitness experiences to your members? See what the boutique studios are offering. Find the classes that are trending now and look for a strategic partner to help you bring in and successfully launch this type of premier programming. Get your team trained, dig in deep, get involved and take advantage of these newer, stronger group exercise brands that offer progressive programming and watch the magic happen.

Think about collaborating with brands that offer pre-choreographed formats to create greater consistency. Both audiences can find the value and win. Many clubs have succeeded in relying on a few in-house stars to create proprietary programming, but why re-create the wheel when you don’t have to. It’s often a steep “stairmaster” to climb and thrive — clubs could quickly fall behind as others are partnering and prospering.

A Few Quick Tips On How To Decide Which Group Exercise Programming To Co-Brand With:

Get out of your space and into other spaces. Take classes at the four boutique studios up the street from your gym, immerse yourself into that community and see and feel the experience they are offering.

Understand what classes people (in all age brackets) are taking, what’s trending, what equipment are they using or not using. How are they signing up, what apps are being used to drive their needs and simplify their life? Do your research. Find the brands that will best align with your values and needs and can help you and your team catapult your group fitness offerings to the next level. Think a win-win for both brands. It works.


Ann Marie Barbour, along with her “soul sister” and Business Partner Stacey Vandiver are the owners of SoulBody LLC and co-creators of the pre-choreographed SoulBody BARRE, UNHITCHED and POWER programming. For more information please contact them at info@soulbodyonline.com and learn more about their trainings and programming at www.soulbodyonline.com.

Ann Marie Barbour

Ann Marie Barbour is the founder of BeWell Advisory, helping fitness brands level-up their service/product offer with streamlined systems and effective brand messaging across all media channels. You can contact her at annmarie@bewelladvisory.com or visit bewelladvisory.com.

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