The popularity of fitness gurus such as Gunnar Peterson and Tracy Anderson have created a micro industry of ambitious instructors vying to turn their name into a celebrity fitness brand, and with good reason. Celebrity status provides pros with a platform to promote their passion and their business. To achieve an effective level of notoriety, targeted personal branding builds essential relationships with clients and the community.
As the owner of your studio, you are the walking, talking representation of your business. Living your business’ brand is imperative to it’s success. Your brand is your philosophy of fitness and how your techniques are part of an overall lifestyle of wellness. The way you speak with your clients, the atmosphere you create in your studio, your social media posts and the dietary choices you make should align with the professional image you want to project. You can’t preach the virtues of Whole30, then pick up Chipotle for lunch. The way you dress makes a brand statement; the music you play can contribute to branding. For your fitness brand to be effective, you have to live it everyday.
While you may not have set your sights on launching an eponymous product line or a series of DVDs, creating a local following and a public awareness of your studio will go a long way for creating high demand for your classes and opening more possibilities for expanding your studio.
The following tips can help you to live your brand and establish yourself as a fitness celebrity in your neighborhood.
CREATE STANDARDS AND LIVE BY THEM
Identify the values and fitness philosophies to live by. For example, if you believe that fitness should be fun, approach all your professional activities and interactions with a sense of humor. If you value pushing your physical limits, make sure you’re pushing yourself to continuously improve your own performance. Think about how your philosophies should impact other areas of your life besides working out. If you would encourage clients to follow a raw food diet, you should follow one as well.
DISCOVER YOUR UNIQUENESS
What can you offer clients that no one else can? Why do clients love you? How are the methods you use more effective for achieving results? Focus on the professional and personal qualities that distinguish you from other studio owners and trainers in the area because these are the qualities that will make your brand memorable.
PARTNER WITH PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES THAT SHARE YOUR BRAND VALUE
Be aware that any product you use and any company you work with can have a significant impact on how you are recognized as a brand. For example, if one of your brand philosophies is to support the health of the local community, consider volunteering at your neighborhood farmers market or wear athletic gear designed by a local apparel company.
BACK UP YOUR CRED
If you want to be known as the Pilates guru or foremost TRX expert in your area, you have to have the knowledge – and credentials – to back that up. Before you embark on self-promotion, make sure you have all the expected degrees or certifications. Master your niche. Experience beyond the fitness industry or your specific activity, such as a nutrition certification, martial arts training or even business degree, can help, too.
GENERATE AS MUCH INSPIRATION AS YOU DO PERSPIRATION
While giving your clients a safe and effective workout is the core of what you do, what clients often need most is motivation. To stand apart from from your professional competitors, you have to be inspirational. Your success depends on clients showing up to work out and telling others how you are helping them to make positive changes in their lives. Find ways to help clients believe in themselves and in you.
NAIL DOWN YOUR MESSAGING
Once your fitness philosophy and personal brand are established and you’re living by these qualities, it’s time to focus on getting noticed. Before embarking on any self-promotion, make sure you can clearly — and concisely — communicate your messaging. When asked about yourself or your studio, it’s essential that you are able to communicate your fitness philosophy, your credibility and your uniqueness. Think in 30-second soundbites. Your messaging should be easily repeatable and memorable.
DEVELOP YOUR STAR POWER
Search for opportunities to get your name out to the community. Volunteer to teach basic techniques in community organizations. Get involved with a charity and commit to providing hands-on help. You also should seek out opportunities to present at conferences and teach at industry events.
Writing is another way to get your name in front of more people. Start your own blog by coming up with innovative fitness topics, strategies, workouts or analyses that support your personal brand and write about them. Reach out to popular lifestyle blogs, community papers or newsletters and offer to write complimentary fitness articles for them.
GET SMART ABOUT PUBLIC RELATIONS
Be your own biggest advocate and do not shy away from self-promotion. Have confidence in your skills and your personality when pitching yourself.
Become familiar writing press releases and build relationships with editors and local TV news producers. Develop a list local media contacts and email each contact a media kit. Your kit should include:
- Contact information
- Your bio and studio history
- Press releases
- A summary sheet of what you offer
- Links to any recent press blogs you’ve written
- Photos that showcase your studio and client community
- A calendar of upcoming events
- Your logo image file
- Nonprofit and community projects you have participated in
- Recent awards
NETWORK LIKE CRAZY
Find ways to meet and interact with industry and community influencers. Attend as many local events as you can and set a goal to meet five new people at each one. Organize dinner parties or small group hikes or rides. Start your networking strategy with the people closest to you and branch out. You never know when a new client who walks through your studio’s door will turn out to be a local news producer looking for an expert for an exercise segment.