Your studio or gym brand may seem like an elusive concept at times, one that can refer more to a feeling you want your clients to have after a workout, or the energy you want your space to exude for anyone who walks through your door. But for many businesses, brand is the most important tool you have to build a relationship with your customers and stand out from other studios or gyms in your neighborhood. Scott Bedbury, author of New Brand World, emphasizes that, “Great brands exert as much influence as possible over every possible contact point with customers. For brands that have a physical space this means every detail in that space is either reinforcing or confusing your brand.” This is why one of the best ways to share what your brand stands for is in your physical space: through the way you decorate your studio to the snacks and retail you offer.
Once you understand what your brand is and what you want to communicate to customers, explore ways to bring it to life in your own studio or gym with these tips.
Get Creative with Décor
The décor in your studio space speaks volumes about what you stand for, whether you use a lot of bright, energy-inducing colors or evoke a more calm, serene atmosphere with ambient lighting and candles. Andrea Isabelle Lucas, founder and owner of Barre & Soul in Boston, MA, is one of many studio and gym owners to take to the walls to boldly showcase her brand identity through clever quotes and artwork.
According to Lucas, “Our brand is focused on empowering women through a fitness culture based on grit and grace.” She adds, “We work to inspire and strengthen clients, inside and out. It’s important to me that every client of ours experiences our brand and our space as an inclusive safe haven, a sanctuary to build up their best selves and feel restored and strengthened on many levels, ready to meet any challenges they are working through. Our brand story is a crucial differentiator for us, because it is a core element of our culture and our values.”
Of her wall space, Lucas mentions that, “We have dedicated wall space in every studio where a quote that embodies our brand spirit is painted. These change periodically, to keep the inspiration fresh.” If you don’t have wall space readily available, the signs, light fixtures, plants, or other accessories you may use like bins or shelving can all be utilized to communicate your brand through the colors and styles you select.
Browse Pinterest or other design blogs for inspiration on ways to get creative and use your favorite inspirational quotes or artwork within your space.
Freshen Up Your Retail
You already know the value that adding retail can bring your business, but have you considered how this retail can also help define your brand to customers? Going back to Bedbury, he shared that, “Nothing you see, smell, touch, taste, or hear in stores is an accident […] and nothing is left to coincidence or chance when it comes to the customer experience.”
Branded retail is a way to share your story within your community – and even encourage clients to become brand ambassadors by sporting your hoodies, tanks, hats, or water bottles in their daily life.
While branded retail is always a win, you should also consider the other types of items you sell, such as post-workout snacks, protein shakes, or water bottles. Do they communicate the same message as your brand story? For example, you wouldn’t necessarily sell protein shakes in a yoga studio, or soda of any kind if you’re focused on health and wellness. Consider offering fruits like bananas or apples or snacks from health-conscious brands that are more aligned with your own message, such as Health Warrior, maker of Chia Bars (pictured below, click here to access a special offer through the ProPerks page on the ClassPass Partner Portal).
Personalize Your Entry
The first impression of your studio or gym, as you know, is everything. So while in-studio décor plays a big factor in defining your brand, don’t forget about the exterior as well. Great brands have a consistent image so you can instantly recognize them from the outside, whether they’re in your own neighborhood or another city. Plan to invest in signage and a logo that makes your brand stand out and that communicates who you are as a company.
If that’s not in the budget or your landlord won’t allow it, you can still take it a step further with chalkboard signs or window decals that showcase your brand. Come up with cheeky, memorable phrases that make passerby laugh or snap a photo to share with friends.
To encourage an inclusive vibe, write the names of new clients on a welcome board when they come in. Brand and community often go hand-in-hand, so any opportunity to bring clients in with personalization is one you should take.
This post is sponsored by Health Warrior, maker of Chia Bars and other superfood snacks. ClassPass Partners: Access your exclusive Health Warrior perks via the ProPerks page in the Partner Dashboard! ClassPass Partners receive 3 boxes of Health Warrior Chia Bars when you buy 1 box of (15 bars per box) Chia Bars.