5 Things You Need to Know if You’re Rebranding Your Gym

With hundreds of CrossFit affiliates currently fleeing from CrossFit, never has the conversation about brand, or in this case rebranding, become more relevant.

Boris Kezic, a brand and graphic designer for 13 years, runs his own company Metcon Creative, and works exclusively with the fitness industry, most commonly with gym owners.

He also “lives and breathes fitness,” so he understands the industry inside out. We started working with Boris this year and his skillset has been invaluable to us during this tumultuous year. 

Boris

If you’re looking to rebrand, here are some simple concepts and tips from Boris:

Concept 1: Understand consumer purchasing decisions

“The first key is to recognize the way consumers make purchasing decisions today. Having a polished, well thought out brand used to be optional when most people first opened their gym,” Boris said.

This is no longer the case, he explained. So it’s important to keep in mind that people buy brands, not just products.

“They hold brands accountable, and they want to feel good about training at your gym versus someone else’s. They want to spend their money, time and energy with companies who share their values and make a positive impact on the world. If you’re rebranding, this is something you need to keep top of mind,” he said. 

Concept 2: Beyond a name and a logo

Though it’s easy to associate a brand with a name and a logo, Boris said it goes way beyond this. In fact, it goes beyond your training program. It’s about telling a story, he explained. 

“Rebranding is about looking at your business and bringing forward those things that make you special beyond coaching, programming and facility,” Boris said. 

He added: “The correct way to think about rebranding is that you’re not just making a new logo. You’re creating a captivating new experience for your current and prospective clients.”

A great way to understand this concept is to look at the brands you love, Boris explained, and make a list of what you like about them.

“It’s often more how a brand makes you feel than simply how it looks. It’s important to create this for your gym,” he said. 

Tip 1: Don’t ditch everything you used to be

Take a good look at your brand and decide what’s working and what’s not.

“Keep what’s working and refine it, and ditch what’s not serving your business anymore,” Boris said.

Then, make three lists:

List 1: The things you want to leave behind

“Sometimes it’s easier to figure out what you don’t want. If you’re leaving behind CrossFit, things like the intimidation factor might be something to let go of. The lack of control over your own brand destiny. Your logo that was designed in 2012 and doesn’t resonate with you anymore,” he said. 

“Use this opportunity to write down absolutely everything that’s not coming on the new brand ride.”

List 2: Things you’ve always wanted

“Consistency. The ‘cool’ factor you see in other brands but never your own. A more inclusive brand. The ability to make good looking social media posts. Knowing what to write in a blog post. Knowing your ideal client. Having merchandise that people don’t want to take off. Make a list of everything you ever wanted your brand and business to be,” said Kezic about possible things you might include on your list. 

List 3: Everything you need to make this happen

This list can include things like new signage, a new logo, painting the gym, new photography, new merchandise, to name a few.

“It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do this all yourself. For all the stuff you can’t do yourself, seek professionals,” Boris said. “Once you have these 3 lists, you have the ability to take action towards your new brand.” 

Tip 2: Define your mission

Take the time to script out your mission, your vision and your values. Also, define your ideal client, Boris suggested.

“This will form the basis of your brand’s identity. How everything looks, sounds and feels is going to be designed to communicate your values and attract your ideal client,” he said. 

Tip 3: Clear and consistent visuals

Like fitness and nutrition, consistency is key.

“This is the visual aspect, where your logo, colors, fonts, marketing materials, merchandise and space, come to life,” Boris said. “Everything needs to look like it’s part of the same family. People need to be able to recognize that it’s ‘GYM XYZ’ at a glance, without having to be told.”

Bonus Tip: Create a brand manual

By a manual, Boris means a sort of how-to guide to working with your brand, so that when you, one of your coaches, or someone else you hire, sits down to make an Instagram post or write copy on the website, they know exactly how to execute it in line with your brand’s new look and feel.

This will help ensure the “integrity of your brand,” he said.

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