Whether you are just starting out with your fitness business or have been in the game for years, the importance of establishing your brand doesn’t change.
Your brand is what defines your business, sets your business apart from others, allows customers to associate with your company, and tells the world what your business is all about. It can hold steadfast in some ways and be flexible in others, capturing the constants of your business yet continually evolving with the times or as your business evolves.
So, how do you go about building this uber important and multifaceted element of your business?
For Personal Trainers Who Are Just Starting Out
A strong brand always starts with two things: a clear vision and a well thought out strategy, so it crucial to sit down and really think about what you want your business to achieve—before you begin to create logos, craft social media posts, or design clothing, websites, etc.
What products or services do I provide?
Does your business focus solely on personal training, or do you also offer nutrition coaching? Do you sell your own supplements? Is there a medical or rehab element to your business? Dig deep and consider the entire spectrum of your products and services. Your brand will need to encompass all of them.
What is my mission as a fitness business?
Having a clear business mission is extremely important when establishing your brand because it impacts everything you do. In fact, it should be the reason behind everything you do, so think hard on this one and make sure it’s something that reflects your goals as an owner and resonates with your target audience.
Who is my target audience?
Consider all the different potential clients out there. You might be tempted to try and reach all of them, but your business won’t be an ideal match for all of them, and they won’t all be ideal clients for you to train. So, narrow things down and get a little granular. Use demographic and geographic traits and hypothetical client wants and needs to hone in on the best group to target.
What is my niche?
Finding your niche and sticking to it is one of the best ways you can maximize your marketing efforts and get good bang for your buck. Make sure this is locked down before you move ahead with your brand.
What are my plans for business development?
You’ve probably seen big-name businesses undergo what is known as a “rebrand” after making updates to their business structure, products, or mission. And while rebrands can be done well, they come with a lot of work and can bring negative consequences for your brand recognition and customer loyalty.
This is why it’s important to look ahead at your plans for business development. Do you plan on hiring other trainers to work for you or will you be running a solo operation? Are you planning to open a brick and mortar location? Will you be expanding your services geographically? Just some of the things to mull over as you head toward the creative work of branding.
What values do I want to portray to the public?
Your business values are somewhat tied to your mission but are a bit more granular. The values you pick will help set the tone for all of your marketing efforts and communication with both potential and current clients. These should be constants that do not change drastically as your business grows. If one of your values is inclusivity on day 1, then that commitment to inclusivity should be communicated clearly every day after.
What is the personality of my business?
Your business’ personality is similar to its values but definitely distinct. Consider that you can have two very different businesses that share the value of inclusivity we talked about above, but one is staunchly professional, traditional, and detached in personality while the other is friendly, modern, and funny.
If you’re struggling to answer this question, consider it this way: if your business was a person, what would they be like?
How do I want to make my audience feel when I interact with them?
You might think that at this point we’re just splitting hairs, but the way you make your audience feels when they encounter your brand will undeniably impact what they do next (i.e., move closer to becoming a client or walk away from your business).
If you’ve set your mission, values, and personality then this piece should come fairly easy. Remember when I said you could decide what your business’ personality was by imagining it as a human being? Well, how would you feel after meeting that person? That’s how your audience will feel.
Five reasons you should have your very own Custom Branded Fitness App.
The Building Blocks of Brand
All of the questions above should be decided before any of the creative work or brainstorming begins since the answers will shape both the name of your company/brand and the visual elements (such as a logo) that accompany it.
Picking a Name for Your Business
Before you choose a business name, be sure that the options you’re considering align with your answers to the questions above. Put together a list of top options and do your best not to get too attached to any particular option early on. Objectively evaluate each option and eliminate those that don’t communicate what you want your business name to capture.
Once you’ve whittled down the list, don’t be afraid to ask for input from colleagues, friends, family, or even strangers. (This would be a great time to make use of some online forums for personal trainers and nutritionists.) Outside opinions bring a fresh take and can give valuable insight into the impact of the different name options.
Designing Your Logo
Just like with your business name, you’ll want to design a logo that captures your responses to the questions above. A good logo should be recognizable, clear, distinct, and memorable.
If you do not personally possess skills in logo creation do not attempt to do this on your own. I would suggest outsourcing this to someone who is good at it. (Same thing goes for your other marketing materials and social media management, discussed below.) You can check out one of my previous posts for more information about outsourcing to build brand awareness.
Share your brand with the world.
Depending on the type of business you’re running, the materials you’ll need to design will vary, but no matter if the materials are print or digital, they should all reflect your brand strategy and clearly include your business name and logo.
Put in the time and effort (or recruit someone with the necessary skills) to build impactful materials: a strong website, bold images, and clear messaging. If your strength or specialty is training athletes then you want your branding material to say that (without having to say “I train athletes” explicitly). If your specialty fat loss and functional training for the average person, you want your branding materials to say that.
Remember that a well-built brand can do a lot to help draw-in clients and improve the customer experience. Your goal is that every time they encounter your marketing materials, hear your business name, or see your logo they gain a sense of your business offerings, personality, and values. This is what will draw them in and open the doors for connecting and engaging with your target audience and current clients.
I hope these key questions and tips can help you as you begin to develop your own brand or re-invent your current brand. Don’t be afraid to get creative and really show the world what makes your business unique.