When Grassroots CrossFit in Berkeley, California, first started, Kris Bates said there were about 5,000 to 6,000 other Affiliates that already existed, but he didn’t think finding a name would be as difficult as it was. “We basically just started brainstorming different ideas, different names that we thought fit with the vibe of Berkeley,” said Bates, a co-owner of the Box. “We were shocked at how many names were already taken, ones that we thought were distinctly Berkeley were already in use.”
That’s what they were going for: a name and brand to represent the local community and culture. Berkeley, Bates described, is known for its hippy vibe, counter culture and radical feel. Him and his business partner began brainstorming ideas, Googling to make sure they weren’t already taken. But, they learned to move quick after their first choice, CrossFit Berkeley, was snapped up right before they applied for it.
Compiling a list of 10 to 15 ideas, Bates said they relied on family and friends’ opinions — which names did they like and felt flowed well? Did the idea or concept make sense? Was the name “inherently intuitive”? However, Bates did note that it’s important to realize you won’t be able to please everyone, especially when it comes to choosing a name. In the end, the owners had to choose what they liked best.
Grassroots was among the top runners and embodied both the local community and the message the Box was looking to have. “CrossFit itself is kind of a grassroots movement; it started from the ground up as well as the associations with Berkeley,” said Bates. “Grassroots also means the common or the ordinary people … we wanted to base the style of our website and the branding and everything around that concept of being for everybody.”
This same message was to be implemented in the website’s design and the Box’s logo. Bates said they submitted ideas for the logo to Box Ally — the Box Bates had previously worked used the same company, formerly called Forging Elite Websites — and went through about five to six revisions before the logo was finalized. Although the referral to the graphic designer made Bates’ job easy, he said he appreciated the professionalism, the willingness to be worked with and the fact Box Ally catered specifically to CrossFitters.
The overall fact is that branding isn’t just there to just make your site look pretty. To Bates, it has had a larger effect on his business. What people see when they view the logo and visit the website will give them a taste of the Box. “[People will] base their decisions on if they think it’s going to be a good fit for them, if they think it’s going to be a place they’re going to feel comfortable in, the Coaches are going to be educated and well prepared and everything like that,” he said. “I think [branding] plays a huge role in customer acquisition.”