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LOUD RUMOR CEO MIKE ARCE

Why “Branding” Is Hurting Your Gym’s Advertising Efforts (And How To Do It Right)

By Mike Arce | February 16, 2021

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Show Notes

How is “branding” hurting your gym’s advertising efforts? Well first, as I mentioned in previous episodes, the goal of advertising… the end goal… is to sell.

Yet way too often, someone’s ego wins the battle and “branding” gets all the attention. Then they wonder why nobody is buying.

“Branding” versus Marketing and Advertising

I know you want to build up your branding. We see companies like Orangetheory Fitness and Soul Cycle and think, I want that!

Sometimes we look at branding outside of our industry like Apple, Tesla, and Disney, and say, Yeah, I want that too!

I get it. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Walt Disney were incredible entrepreneurs. But, do you know what else they’re remarkable at?

Marketing and advertising.

They’ve studied it and truly, TRULY understand the game.

Have you?

Not studying the game of advertising and throwing yourself into ad land because, as an outsider, you think you know what to do? Not a good idea.

It’s the same mentality that gets many people who watch UFC hurt. Because they think they know how to fight… because they see it on TV every week.

It’s also why so many people who watch The World Series of Poker on ESPN end up losing their entire paycheck at the casino…

And, it’s what gets business owners to throw a TON of money away on advertising, simply because they’ve seen the ads of other successful brands and believe they understand what THEY should do.

There’s a better way, and I’m going to share that with you here.

Branding Is Not What You Think It Is…

In this episode of The GSD Show, the number one podcast in the world for fitness studios, gyms, and fitness professionals who want to truly master the game, I explain why “branding” is killing your advertising.

At Loud Rumor, we’ve helped over 2,000 fitness studios and gym owners, and over 50 franchises in the space achieve two main goals:

  1. Hit maximum membership capacity within their business. Meaning you can’t fit anymore members without expanding!
  2. Get your business running without you. You don’t want to run a business, you want to own a business that runs. 

Real quick, shout out to JRL for leaving us this review on Apple Podcasts:

“I can’t believe the amount of resources they provide on this podcast. A must have for any business owner who wants to elevate their game and crush their goals and the competition.” 

Thank you JRL… you’re a wise man for tuning in!

OK, so what makes “branding” so destructive?

Well, it’s not so much that focusing on “branding” hurts your advertising, it’s in the way many gym and fitness studio owners do it.

Most don’t truly understand how branding works. 

The root fundamentals of building a solid brand are skipped, and they go right to the logo, the colors, the buzz words, etc.

What they don’t realize is that all of that comes last.

Those things are only selected AFTER doing the first, most crucial steps. Without that, you create brand confusion and your ads perform poorly.

Terrible Food, Great Branding

Great branding and advertising is what makes Olive Garden so much bigger than thousands of other Italian restaurants. Even if those other restaurants make better Italian food!

I know… Growing up, my Italian mother would cook the most amazing food on the planet. Still does! So Olive Garden was a massive disappointment when I first went there.  

In fact, most people who have eaten real Italian food, don’t think Olive Garden is a good representation of Italian food at all.

Who Do You Want To Be?

Similar to Olive Garden, most coffee connoisseurs would argue that Starbucks coffee isn’t all that impressive.

And real runners, marathon runners, triathletes? They’ll tell you that Nike doesn’t make a great running shoe.

So why are all of these big brands winning?

It’s the way they advertise.

They have a strong understanding of how how marketing and advertising work together with great branding.

Too often, businesses create ads that please themselves

They like the way it makes THEM feel, and they think everyone else will feel the same way when watching their ad.

Truth is, you should always remember what interests your buyer. And ONLY your buyer.

Your branding, whether you focus on it or not, is already being created. With or without you.

Fitness Studio brands are whatever members say about the company when explaining it to others. Not just what you say with buzzwords or messaging.

Branding Is What Customers Say Behind Your Back

So the real questions are:

  • What do your ideal members want? Are you able to help them get what they want?
  • Do you know what their goals are? Can you help them achieve those goals?
  • What are their hurdles? Can you help them easily overcome those hurdles?

Next: If your members were talking about you behind your back, what would you want your members to say?

What specifically would you want them to highlight when they talk to others about you?

Then: How do you build that into their understanding of your company?

Own The Ideology

Orangetheory talks about the “Afterburn.” This means your body continues to burn calories, even after you’re done working out.

They explain that you get to that level by keeping your body in certain stages throughout the workout. And, the monitors on the wall help you understand which stage you’re at throughout your workout.

It’s science. 

Therefore, they also say: Backed by science.

These are all intentional steps they took to build a brand in the mind of their consumer.

Does YOUR gym create the “Afterburn”?  Sure… many do.  

Orangetheory didn’t invent it. 

They’re just the only ones that talked about it as much as they did. So they own it.

If you talk about something enough, you get to own the ideology of it.

Russell Brunson, owner of ClickFunnels, didn’t invent the term “funnels” in Marketing. But, when you think about it, you think about him.

Make America Great Again was clearly branded into your mind by someone, right?  Nobody else can put that on a shirt or hat and own it as their own. It’s already owned.

“Think Different.”
“Just Do It.”
“Don’t Leave Home Without It.”

“Like a Good Neighbor, F45 is there?” No!  F45 can’t run that… it’s already taken by State Farm.

What mark are you leaving in people’s minds? How will they talk about you when you’re not around.

Important note: People don’t talk about things that aren’t worth talking about. Make sure what you want people to say about you aligns with what they find worth saying.

Brand With Consistency

Branding happens when consistency happens. And, too many brands are inconsistent in their advertising.

One day, they’ll have a serious video of a woman on the stationary bike, sweating, focusing, working hard, music pumping, it’s motivating! Then…

Their next ad is a low quality boomerang video of a low budget cupid on the same bike in poor lighting to promote a Valentine’s Day special.

This makes no sense.

What’s your brand?

When your ad comes up, within seconds, without your company being mentioned, do viewers KNOW it’s your ad?

Think About Big-Brand Ads…

You can tell a Nike ad, an Apple ad, or a Progressive Insurance ad pretty quickly. They’ve built that over years of being consistent. Not weeks.

Each of these ads speak to a specific person.

Nike speaks to the ultra competitive person. The athlete who wants an edge. The alphas.

Apple speaks to the creative people who feel they’re a little different, unique, and don’t fit in with the masses. The misfits.

Who do you speak to?

In order to answer that question, you have to do your first fundamental step, and that’s create a customer avatar or a buyer persona.  

In an upcoming GSD show episode, I’ll be diving into that so you can be successful in this step, but for now?

For now my goal for this episode is to remind you of the importance of being consistent in your messaging and branding.

Instead of being hyper focused on your logo, colors, or buzz words, understand who your best members are!

Know their wants, needs, and the things they don’t care much about…

Learn what they say when they talk about you to others….

Then, what you want them to say. 

Take all of that into consideration when writing your ads. After all, your ads are always meant to strongly attract the right people, and turn off the wrong ones.

Again, in future episodes I’ll be diving deeper into this and other “must knows” to be successful in this industry.

Be sure to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and I’ll shout you out in future episodes.

And of course, if you’re interested in having Loud Rumor help you increase your sales by an unreal amount, give us a call at 480-567-9794 or email us at sales@loudrumor.com.

Thanks so much and as always, GSD!