January 2021 Club of the Month, presented by ABC Fitness Solutions:
Fitness Project tag line: Workout on purpose.
Year founded: 2020
Number of locations: 5
Q&A with Bryan Murphy, the president, CEO and founder of Fitness Project:
How did Fitness Project come about?
BM: Fitness Project was imagined back in 2016, for the purpose of charitable concepts and initiatives outside of our then current five Gold’s Gym franchise locations. We were doing “fitness projects” around our region and beyond. For example, we created and executed a fitness curriculum for an orphanage in Guatemala in 2017. We decided to use the brand and build the new concept in a way that made perfect sense.
We currently raise money in the following ways:
- Membership contributions and online donations. We’ve raised over $20,000 so far and have a goal of $100,000 in 2021.
- Direct by website.
- Direct by member app.
- Project Wall: Scan QR codes and then we do a spotlight for each donation in club to thank the individual for donating.
- Personal challenges.
- A portion of sales and retail products dedicated to causes in the community.
- Personal training donations – coming soon.
Our concept is simple: What if we could benefit others while experiencing the benefits of the gym? And what if our personal health goals and projects could be part of a bigger community project? Answering those questions helped us evolve into our new brand: Fitness Project.
What are your key differentiators?
BM: To help people out of the club, not just in the club. To help staff find a role that fits their soul, which is a well-known need in the workspace. To raise awareness and revenue toward those less fortunate than ourselves. To create motivation in members to work out on purpose. We achieve this through philosophies such as:
- Building a culture of health, engagement and connection. This is fitness for the whole self, which is always a work in progress. The process of creating a better you, and a better world, which never ends — Fitness Project is where it all starts.
- Fitness with purpose beyond ourselves. We rise by lifting others. Fitness Project supports local charities through member contributions and experiential initiatives, and we invite members to participate in any capacity they’re interested in.
What are your keys to success?
BM: Being authentic and building a brand around our commitment to the community. Onboarding team members who are on fire for fitness and using our platform to make a difference in meaningful ways outside of the club. In 2021, we will be launching our own brand of water, “Hydrate Hope,” generating more revenue to help take on the biggest killer in the world — no clean water. We will also be launching our own online store where a percentage of proceeds will be pointed to various initiatives.
Our brand and mission have inspired our members and local community. During this crazy time, we are inspiring others in our passion to support our local communities and reminding members to stay healthy and fit.
Our brand is more inspirational and relatable. Our members love the engagement in the clubs and on social media. We continue to provide solutions to members based on what they are asking for in the community. Our clean, nearly paper-free environment, along with our new use of technology to promote our brand has been very well received.
Marketing now speaks to the community and is encouraging action. Even with the industry suffering over the last 10 to 11 months, we have been able to increase our digital leads by up to 350% over previous periods of time with minimal budget increases by redistributing our efforts, focusing directly on where potential members are. In addition, we’ve improved retention and loyalty by being more engaged with our member communications increasing dramatically with bi-weekly member newsletters, a new blog, video libraries, and fitness and motivation tips on a regular basis.
What has been the biggest challenge your gym has had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
BM: Launching a new brand during the COVID crisis brought challenges locally by being unable to really be out in the community doing grassroots, neighborhood or face-to-face marketing. It is difficult to also plan many local community events due to ongoing changes and spikes in COVID cases that are keeping people inside. In addition, we have limits that we have to maintain with club capacities. Other challenges, outside of uncertainties, involve ensuring we have the right team members in place who support and represent the brand effectively. As you know, you can have the best marketing and communications in the world, but ensuring that carries over when you visit the club is the true key to success. We are doing that pretty well.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other operators?
BM: You don’t have to be great to start, but you need to start to be great. Don’t be a liar — if this is a concept that a business wants to pursue, it needs to be real.
Created in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions. Visit abcfitness.com for more information on how they can help your fitness business.