The global fitness industry is worth around $100 billion and shows no sign of stopping or slowing down.
The market is strong but so is the competition. Prospective members have a huge choice when it comes to finding a gym so it’s never been more important to stand out from your rivals.
One way of doing that is by aligning your brand with the ethos and values of both potential and current members.
What are Values?
Values are things that are important to a person or a brand. They help to motivate people to act in a certain way.
Values are important in business because they ensure that everyone in the company – from the top to the bottom – understands what the business is about. Values also provide consistency for team members who interact with the public and values also inform a company’s direction and position.
Business values in alignment with people’s personal values will often create new customers. People like to be understood. People want businesses and brands to “get them”.
Chuck Runyon is the founder of Anytime Fitness and the 4 values of his company are: People, purpose, profits and play.
Values can be succinct like the examples above or they can be expanded for clarity. You’re unlikely to attract new members solely on the basis of a few pithy bullet points pinned behind a desk. When values are targeted at a specific market and then acted upon, they can make your gym more attractive to prospective clients within that targeted audience.
Values Create Community
Values create consistency but they also create a sense of community and that’s what’s important to customers and members.
People thrive in spaces where they feel connected to other people through shared experience or through common beliefs and goals.
It’s also true of other social interactions: families, religions, work groups, clubs, and hobbies.
You’ll have seen it in the fitness industry, too, in the rise of niche gyms and studios.
People passionate about specific styles of exercise often choose gyms that cater for that passion. It could be MMA, wrestling, boxing, barre, yoga or spinning. Often boutique and niche gyms will be more popular with these groups than a generalist one.
Obviously, it’s not true for everyone but for someone who’s dedicated to cross-fit then the atmosphere in a cross-fit gym along with the community and camaraderie is worth paying extra for.
The values in a cross-fit gym will be specific to that style of training, but it’s not just the type of exercise. It can be the lifestyle around it, too.
Yoga studies are a good example. Values on ways of living, mental health and eating will attract members who are either already aligned with those principles or who are looking to align with them.
Creating community isn’t just about making your gym more attractive, either. It’ll also help you to retain the members you already have. Community creates loyalty and a sense-of-belonging.
True Values Work
Don’t cynically pursue values that you don’t believe in or don’t want to pursue fully because people will notice. Nobody wants to pay for someone else’s false beliefs.
Environmental Values to Attract New Gym Members
Most people understand the need to fight climate change. Many of us also know that we need to do more to reduce our impact on the environment.
Aligning your gym with environmental values is the right thing to do socially but it will also save you money as well as help to attract new members.
Millennials pay more money for services that are sustainable and ethical. Younger generations are environmentally aware and willing to put conscience over cost. People don’t just want to work out. They want an experience and a community. Adjusting your values to accommodate an eco-friendlier approach helps those people notice you.
An eco-friendly gym is going to stand out to anyone interested in reducing their carbon footprint. You don’t even have to start big. Try banning single-use plastics or going paperless and then tell people about it. Environmentalists often belong to similar-minded communities and word-of-mouth will be invaluable in attracting new members.
The UK Government has declared a climate emergency and by 2030 hopes to be carbon-neutral. We’re going to see more legislation aimed at reducing carbon fuels across all sectors. Businesses that aren’t able to keep up and comply could find it difficult to adjust quickly. Getting ahead of the curve could be a huge advantage over slower-minded rivals. You can start creating that community loyalty now.
You can also save money by looking at ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Money saved is money that can be put back into the business to upgrade and improve equipment and premises. An investment that will ultimately, make you more attractive to everyone even those who aren’t so eco-minded. Energy-saving LED lights are an obvious way to reduce your energy costs but you could also install clean-energy generating gym equipment so that your members are incentivised to power your premises and save you money on your energy bills.
Choosing the values that define your gym could help you build a bigger client base. Environmental values are just one way of attracting new gym members and the potential benefits go beyond just numbers on the doors.
The great thing about environmental values is that nobody expects you to change the world overnight or by yourself. Set your values (whatever they are), start small and then work your way