The key to finding your brand in the fitness market

Rob Smyth is the Commercial Director of British Military Fitness (BMF), With over 400 classes in more than 140 locations across the UK, BMF is regarded by many as the leading provider of outdoor fitness. Prior to joining BMF, Rob held senior marketing roles at the Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee, BUCS (British Universities and College Sport) and Red Bull.

We met with Rob to learn about his approach to branding and marketing within the sports and fitness industry, and how he has used this to further strengthen the formidable BMF brand.

 

The Fitness Network

With such a strong background in branding and marketing, what would you say was the key to truly understanding your brand?

Rob

If you’re targeting lots of different groups then the challenge is finding the common theme. For example, we cater to 5 key segments that cover both genders, a broad age range, those with a strong interest in sport and those that haven’t done anything since school. On the surface that’s a really diverse mix, so the key is in finding the one core theme that ties all those groups together and that you believe you can deliver better than anybody else.

The Fitness Network

What would you identify as the core of the BMF brand?

Rob

At the heart of BMF is ‘community’. You could be a 28-year-old ex-rugby player in London or a 40-year-old mother of 3 in Lancashire, but either way when you attend your first class you are becoming part of the BMF community. That’s the key.

The Fitness Network

How does this translate into your content and social strategy?

Rob

Most brands approach their content and social activity in traditional demographic terms, but our focus on community means we turn it completely on its head. Rather than communicating to each demographic segment separately, we communicate to them via 90 Facebook pages that each represent a different BMF community. That said, we do of course plan our initial targeting around their demographics. So we might, for example, target a 30-year-old guy who enjoys sport, via the football team he follows, but once they are engaged it becomes all about the shared interests of the community.

The Fitness Network

How does this influence your choice of influencers to connect with?

Rob

It means that it’s far less about their exercise habits but far more about their broader personality and lifestyle. We don’t want these people focused on how they’re going to hit 6% body fat, it’s about how they live every aspect of their life to the fullest, and of course BMF is a big part of that lifestyle.

The Fitness Network

Are there any other marketing tactics you’re using to propel this sense of community?

Rob

Yes, we are about to launch an app to further drive the communal interaction. It will track and reward people for turning up to classes, particularly on rainy days, or for bringing along friends. The key is to do all we can to maximise participation throughout the year and give people that sense that whatever happens in their life, their BMF community will always be there for them. We see the app as a key driver of that moving forwards.

The Fitness Network

How does this emphasis on community help you differentiate yourselves from the conventional gym environment?

Rob

With most gyms, people don’t really buy into the brand. You choose your gym based on its kit, location, and price, but if one day you decide to move you will switch to another gym without a moment’s hesitation. We don’t want that, we want their relationship to the BMF brand to stretch far beyond convenience and price, and that’s why a community is so critical.

The main advantage this gives us over gyms is customer satisfaction and retention, but it also creates the opportunity for upsells, whether it’s for our Major Series Mud Run or corporate packages. That’s the benefit of developing such strong relationship between the customer and the brand. Once that relationship exists it can be channeled in any number of directions, with significant benefits to both the business and the customer.

 

Posted in Digital Marketing, Gyms & Clubs, The Fitness Network.
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