Branding your Box
You’ve finally designed your logo, so that means your branding is done, right? WRONG! Branding is much more than a logo on a sign above your front door. With the rate of affiliates opening since Reebok joined the CrossFit family, branding is your way to set yourself apart from the tens or even hundreds of Boxes opening up in your area. Branding means finding the core of what your business represents and letting those values shine through appropriate logo’s, products to sell, gym appearance, scheduling, coaching methods and more – ie its not just a jpeg file you paid a guy to make a few months ago. So here are some ways to begin shaping your brand. Branding is not something that can be done overnight, but instead something that will take years of careful maintenance.
Define your brand
Below are some steps you can take to begin thinking about the brand and image you want your business to project – pull out a journal of some sort to write things down, revisiting this in the future will help you refine your strategy. If you would like to go further and thoroughly investigate you business, I suggest doing a SWOT analysis. Make sure that you are brutally honest during this, focusing more on the successful aspects and less on the weaknesses will only hurt you in the long run and prevent you from gaining the insights you might need.
What are your goals, how do you envision your Box operating in 1, 5, 10 years? Do you envision expanding? What qualities do you want people to think of when your business is mentioned? These are all questions you should begin to think about, as you formulate responses you will begin to get a firmer grasp on the direction your branding should take.
Who are you selling to? Are you selling to athletes whose main desire is to compete or final in the CrossFit Games? Are you hoping to help rehabilitate injured athletes? Do you cater to the “soccer mom” crowd? Are you located in a district that will serve mostly professionals? By knowing who your audience is you can tailor the look and feel of your space towards that clientele. You may initially want to say your audience is all of the above, but that is the easy (and false) answer. Dig deeper to find your core audience.
Unique Selling Point
Why should people come to you? What made you open your own gym versus get a membership at the one down the road? Clearly you think you can do things better (or differently) than they are, so what are those things? What differentiates you from the thousands of other Boxes?
Use your answers to the above to creatively craft your visual appearance to members and potential clients. Make sure that you interweave your website, logo artwork, gym design, apparel and products around one central theme so they are fluid. Note that this is not the same as just throwing the same logo art on everything.
You should continually search for ways to improve your brand and business image. Make sure you are constantly asking yourself where you are, where you could be, how you can get there, or if you are on the right path to getting there. Listen to the feedback of members. Were they under the impression that you were a holistic gym and disappointed that you do not have nutritional or health integration? Is someone disappointed that the training or other members are not intense enough? Ask yourself if they are upset because it goes against your brand (in which case they should find another Box), or because your brand and Box are at odds (in which case you have some work cut out for you). Can you easily address their positions to make everyone happy?
Developing your brand
This one requires the answers to many of the above questions. Once you are on firm ground about who you are as a Box and who your targeted audience is, you should build a visual appearance that reflects this. For example, if you are a hard hitting, intense Box who grooms firebreathers to successfully compete in the Games then you should have a hard, graffiti art type of logo, distressed in-your-face fonts and strong bold colors. You box should have strongman equipment, chains, weight vests etc and feel like a polished garage – giving it that feel of rugged intensity. If instead your brand is more holistic, a gym where people go to learn how to workout and change their lives and be accessable to a less active population, then you should have a softer graphic logo, smooth curling fonts and neutral color tones. Maybe your gym has yoga mats, a nutritional area, a place to relax after a good workout, maybe even offer yoga or mind-body classes. Notice how both of these gyms could be extremely successful as CrossFit affiliates – but only with a matched owner and targeted to the correct audience. That is why it is so imperative for you to figure out your business identity first, and then build your brand identity.
Creating a tagline
If you have your brand figured out, then its time to work on your tagline. This is a short line that makes customers immediately think of you. “The happiest place on earth” reminds us of Disneyland, “mmmm…mmm…good” screams a bowl of Campbell’s soup on a cold winter day, “it melts in your mouth not in your hand” brings us to hot summer days crunching on M&Ms. At Journal Menu our tagline is “track what matters” – it tells you our core goal and also makes it clear you can use our unique business attribute – that every order is customized to each client. Coming up with a tagline should take weeks. If you find something, sit on it, edit it, think about it, then implement it.
That’s all we have for branding right now, we hope this was helpful and you took away one or two points you can act on now to better your business!