What’s the reason Chick-Fil-A — or any other fast-food chain — always looks the same? For the purpose of recognition.
“Even though we might get sick of the same colors, we know as far as branding goes, the consistency is really important,” said Cortney Cunningham, the owner of CrossFit Stimulus in Hampton, Virginia. “So our signage, all of our ads on Facebook, our website, Constant Contact email blasts — we keep everything consistent with that same look and feel … From a glance, people can now start to recognize CrossFit Stimulus without necessarily reading the name, just by seeing the logo and the colors and the overall look.”
Cunningham explained if nothing else motivates you to have a consistent brand, the fact your bigger-named competitors have it should. While Tony or Jenny might not visit your Box the first time they see a Facebook ad, the goal is to make your gym come to mind when it matters. Perhaps Jenny just had a baby and is looking to lose some weight. Or, maybe Tony is going to hike the Inca Trail in Peru. If your brand is powerful and consistent, they will remember it when they are trying to figure out their next steps.
One way CrossFit KLEW in Somerset, New Jersey, has kept its brand consistent is through customized equipment. Owner Kathryn Lewis said from their medicine balls to the rig, every detail is clearly KLEW.
“We wanted to make sure everything that could be KLEW in here was KLEW,” she explained.
But, in order to be consistent with a brand you have to have one to begin with. Lewis explained the logo came from a combination of efforts. Her brother liked the idea of an asterisk, so their graphic designer had Lewis write her name on a piece of paper 100 times. From there, he took the most commonly used K and mirrored it into an asterisk.
The colors came about from a brainstorming session. Lewis said the last thing they wanted to do was pick colors they’d get sick of. So, they got patriotic. “America isn’t going out of style; why don’t we go with red, white and blue? That will never look old to us,” Lewis recalled thinking.
In fact, this has been huge as the brand of KLEW has exploded in terms of apparel. Lewis said she mailed some of the first shirts she made to her friends. They loved them, wore them and it spiraled from there. “People wanted them, so I said, ‘OK we have to build an online store,’” explained Lewis, who had pursued a merchandising and retail degree in college.
Although you might not open up your own retail store, Lewis said one of her biggest pieces of advice on branding deals with apparel. “From the branding side, that’s my big thing I tell everyone: Make a T-shirt,” she said.
Members want to represent your brand, as they are often proud of it. And although you might not want to put $1,000 up front for apparel, Lewis said you can make twice as much back.
So, while you can have a stellar brand, you cannot forget about putting it out to the community. And some of your best billboards are already walking in and out of your doors. “My biggest business cards are my members,” said Lewis. “So, give them the tools.”