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On Brand: Creating a Great Brand

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Good branding helps companies hire industry-best experts faster, get higher efficiency of day-to-day work, reduce staff turnover and in the long-run, pay less for marketing. 

“Branding is mission critical; the internet is slowly commoditizing everything, and all we’ll have left is brand,” said Billy Grenham, the chief marketing officer for Chuze Fitness, with locations in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. “Good branding is a reflection of the heart and soul of an organization, and has the ability to influence culture.”

Grenham explained in order to go from good branding to great branding, clubs have to focus on customers’ needs. “Great branding will resonate with your audience because it’s exactly what they need to hear, see and feel; great branding fills a void most don’t know exist,” he said.

But great branding isn’t easy to achieve; it takes a lot of work and starts with your mission.

“Good branding is impossible without a clear purpose and reason for a company to exist,” said Michael Chu, the creative director for Ramotion, a branding and product design agency in San Francisco, California. 

After determining your purpose, it’s important to know the difference between internal and external branding. Internal branding is the thoughtfulness and planning that goes into your brand — simply put, the branding strategy. External branding is everything people can see, from your logo to print design. 

According to Chu, each type of branding serves a purpose. “If your internal-facing branding articulates its purpose and values clearly, that lets companies balance employee motivation between purpose-driven, status-driven and money-driven,” he explained. “Otherwise, companies have to rely on money and status motivation only. It looks like a more expensive and less stable approach.”

Having good external branding can help increase sales metrics. According to Chu, the right-balanced visual, verbal and semantic layers of a brand help speed up purchase decision making and increase a client’s lifetime value. In return, it can also increase word of mouth marketing for your club because people are more likely to recommend brands they have an emotional connection with.

To create a brand that can be used internally and externally, the Chuze team is always listening to what their members are saying about their name, their culture and their fitness realm. “The family-like bond we have with our community is our superpower and we go to great lengths to celebrate it,” said Grenham.

Chu broke down what all goes into creating a great brand in six steps:

  • Define intrinsic values and drivers. 
  • Define product/service benefits, such as economic, emotional, functional and self-expressive.
  • Define a brand personality — archetype, tone-of-voice, vocabulary, etc.
  • Create a visual identity layer — colors, shapes, conceptual metaphors and logotype.
  • Create meaningful, benefit-driven messaging.
  • Create a set of guidelines, educational materials and frameworks that keep consistency across the company. 

Another factor to great branding is creating an experience by which consumers will remember you. Chu first suggested defining your company’s desired ideal brand image. Discuss adjectives people will use to describe the brand and emotions the brand should evoke. Your team should then evaluate critically if the desired ideal brand image is achievable and can be supported in the long-term. Simply decomposing the ideal brand-image into parts — breaking it down to the basics like colors, shapes, words, rhythm and messaging, etc. — can help significantly.

Achieving great branding takes a lot of research, dedication and work. However, building a brand is a long-term story, it’s not something you create overnight, and it isn’t a one-time project. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, perhaps said it best: “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

What are people saying about your club?  

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Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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