The internet, social media and global distribution systems now allow every personal trainer to be global, provided they can achieve strong brand recognition in their area of health or fitness, writes branding expert Stella Gianotto.
THE QUICK READ
- Success in the fitness marketplace requires three things: an ever increasing and strong brand presence, ongoing client retention and vigorously building your profile
- Technology has enabled every personal trainer to have a global reach, provided they can achieve strong brand recognition in their area of health or fitness
- Your personal brand should be top of mind for your clients when they think about personal training
- Once a brand achieves recognition, the products or services sell themselves, as long as they continue to embody the values that made them famous.
Branding isn’t new, but it’s become a critical factor in any business success. With an oversupply of vitamin supplements, active wear and home workout products enabled by the global reach of the internet, achieving a global business as a personal trainer demands more than a pumped-up Instagram account of selfies.
To achieve rapid growth, especially in the fitness sector, demands a viral spread of your personal awareness and a taking up of your individual training offering before a ‘me-too’ competitor fills your market segment.
While it will take some time, putting effort into creating a consistent personal brand will help propel you towards your business goals more quickly. Success in the fitness marketplace requires three things: an ever increasing and strong brand presence, ongoing client retention and vigorously building your profile – firstly, as a brand and secondly, as a personal trainer.
So how can a personal trainer achieve a global brand?
In the past, you would have attained your clients through word-of-mouth referrals, some marketing and maybe a little advertising in your neighbourhood, and any success you enjoyed would have been largely local. In today’s market you can reach much further afield, but in order to do so you require a strategically crafted brand identity.
Until recently, branding was only achievable by large national or international companies in any area of business. That’s no longer the case. The internet, social media and global distribution systems now allow every personal trainer to be global, provided they can achieve strong brand recognition in their area of health or fitness. If your ‘10-minute per day gentle workouts for new mums’ resonate with Simone in New York, then the mere fact that you’re based in Brisbane won’t stop her signing up to your programs.
We have a few home-grown examples to prove it. It’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard of the most financially successful of these, Kayla Itsines, the personal trainer from South Australia whose e-book the Bikini Body Guide and paid fitness app ‘Sweat with Kayla’ (with over 30 million downloads) have helped her become one of the biggest names in consumer fitness, with an estimated joint net worth with her partner of $486 million.
Plus, of course, there are a plethora of other fitness names – both qualified professionals and unqualified influencers – who have harnessed social media to build their brands and create lucrative businesses.
Understanding what a brand is
Simply put, a brand – your personal brand – should be a place in the minds of your clients when they think about you as a personal trainer. Think of a fitness tracker and it’s likely your mind will conjure up Fitbit. Think of cool running shoes and Nike may well spring to mind. That’s what a brand, whether it’s a product or an individual, aims to create – ‘top of mind recall’.
Your name conveys who you are and a logo conveys what you do, but your brand should represent your clients’ values, lifestyle or self-image – who they are.
While your marketing efforts and advertising reflect your brand, they do not define it. This is vital to understand.
Why is a brand so important?
Your brand must be as important to your clients as it is to you. Remember the ‘top of mind recall’ we just talked about? Another term for it is ‘brand recognition’.
While this sounds like a tall order, consider the number of everyday products which now feature the company logo prominently in the design. It is not the logo the wearer is proudly promoting, but the brand behind it. Once the brand achieves recognition, the products or services sell themselves, as long as they continue to embody the values that made them famous.
Branding should be considered early on when setting up your personal training business. Why invest in a company name, logo development, website and social media account, without reflecting on how they support and enhance your own personal brand?
Investing in identifying your brand before all of these ‘marketing’ activities will accelerate your business in the start-up phase and save on ‘do-overs’ later. An effective brand strategy will involve greater initial outlay, but it will allow you to leverage a generous portion of ‘free advertising’ through social media and public relations.
If your brand has social significance, as well as product appeal, your early clients will become advocates and spokespeople for you and your services – more so than any logo, business name or advertisement ever will. That same brand message attracts attention in both traditional media (PR) and social media, creating viral growth while generating business momentum when you’re launching. If you are ready to commit to launching your brand, as opposed to starting your business, it is worth seeking out a branding professional to help you create a strategy for growth.
In today’s crowded fitness industry, effective branding can be the key ingredient to cut through the noise and make a name for yourself.