October 14, 2019
October 14, 2019
Aside from my role as a graphic designer, I’d consider myself a full-on fitness enthusiast. I’ve always loved being active, but my enthusiasm has grown even further since moving to Chicago and experiencing the fitness scene here. It’s almost overwhelming to take in the number of studio options.
Luckily (through free trials and classpass) I’ve been working my way through the many types of classes. These experiences have allowed me to observe the many reasons why I would or wouldn’t keep going back. And if you hadn’t already guessed, it’s not solely based on the workout.
When it feels like there’s a new yoga studio or interval workout class popping up every day, how do you get clients to keep coming back to yours? Experience.
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to experience, but ultimately it comes down to your studio’s brand. And no, obviously a basic logo is not going to single-handedly keep your business afloat, but that’s not all that branding is. It encompasses everything from your social media presence, to the way a client feels when they leave a workout, to the apparel they buy when they feel like they’re a part of the tribe.
Here are 4 brand elements to consider in creating a successful boutique fitness studio:
While it made sound a little superficial, I’ve literally tried out gyms because I liked their line of branded apparel. I figured, if I liked the studio enough I’d go there all the time. Then, not only would I feel I deserved to represent it, but I’d feel like I was a part of this fit family or tribe, one of the biggest reasons anyone joins a studio anyways. If they didn’t want to be a part of this larger community they could proudly call home, they’d be spending their time alone in a standard gym or working out to youtube videos in their apartment. Apparel is a part of that larger, more important identity to clients, which is why I think it is a very undervalued element of a brand.
Besides, anyone prioritizing money towards high-priced fitness boutiques, probably also enjoys buying cute workout clothes. I’ve actually been in a situation where I felt loyal to a studio and wanted to wear their clothes (free advertising for them), but ended up not buying anything because the designs weren’t appealing. So please, for the sake of your brand, sell cool shit. I want to buy it.
Next up in key aspects of a boutique fitness brand is your website. This is one of your first impressions on a potential client, when they’re considering taking a class but have yet to sign up. It’s probably the most time they’ll spend on your site at all. So the website design doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be clear and comprehensive.
As a visitor, all I want to know is what to expect from the workout and how to sign up for a class. And since most studios have a first class discount, I don’t even need to look at pricing until I’ve decided I like the studio. If it takes me too much time to figure those things out I’m probably not even going to sign up. Think of how much of a mental push it takes some people to even sign up for a workout without a poorly designed website as an added barrier.
While your website is where people go for information and logistics, social media is where they go to understand the culture. What kind of atmosphere can I expect in class? Will I be going into a more intense, high energy bootcamp workout or one with a lighter, more calming energy? This isn’t related to level of difficulty but rather the overall vibe. Everyone is motivated to workout in different ways. So, if I know that at six in the morning I thrive on a room of high energy and loud music, I’ll be looking for something to match those expectations. Expressing this culture through social media can be achieved in the style of photography and design of typographic quotes and posts.
The culture of the studio can also be shown in representing the community of regular clients. Like I mentioned earlier, atmosphere and community are two of the biggest reasons anyone goes (and comes back) to a boutique fitness studio. They want to connect with other people. Even if they don’t know the name of every person that finds a spot on the mat, there’s a sense of familiarity in recognizing faces and knowing you are all a part of the same fit family. This can be brought in to your feed with your brand’s style of photography. I think it’s also a great opportunity to utilize instagram stories to show more real-time activity in your space.
When people are paying a premium price for your studio, you better give premium amenities, which also means a premium design of the space. At this point, it’s not usually enough just to have everything they need for class. It has to look and feel high quality as well. This will not only encourage people to spend more time there, but also to share photos and videos of their experience, an incredible source of referrals for you.
If you think about the number of times people will share photos of your space, you’ll realize how important it is that it looks great and on brand. It’s a great opportunity for wall graphics that are in line with your overall brand aesthetic and design.
Once you work with a designer to establish your brand identity (which includes your logo, secondary logos, fonts, and colors), you can proceed to design every other important element with that as a guide.
For a more in depth look at the brand design featured in this point check out it’s case study. And if you are planning to open a boutique fitness brand and need a brand designer you can reach out here.