"Disney's genius was his ability to take something from his imagination and forge it into a reality that directly influences the experience of others in a positive way"
(Copyright © 1996 by Robert Dilts., Santa Cruz, CA.)
Consider embracing Disney's strategy when developing your gym model.......that is, create spaces that transcend the ordinary, that upstage the conventions, that defy the clichés. Why? Because Disney, like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, created spaces that gave us a place between "work and home".
The Big-Box Chains Are Not Invincible
I have commented on the rise of the independent gym model in an earlier post making a case for the "erosion in the belief of the invincibility of the big-box gym model".
Yes, I'm directly saying that the big-box chains are NOT invincible in contrast to the rhetoric, illusion and smoke and mirrors that the populate the media regarding the chains indisputable, inevitable, undeniable, superior business model, that is, at one time.
Looking back it's no wonder the chains had made inroads against the independents. Historically the fitness industry lags, by a decade, the global vernacular of cutting edge design. One of chains strategies was to create operating systems and better design than the independents. Yes, there are many factors other than systems and design that are a result of this phenomena, however, this is a 250 word blog post and our clients are keen on the design equation. In design summary, the independents thought little of the marketing impact that interior design could have on their business and kept delivering, and still do, gym models that are simply antiquated.
.....a few of the antiquated gym design elements that continue to be embraced by independent gyms are as follows.
- Lifeless plants in macramé baskets
- Garish juice bar signage and graphics
- Juvenile and unimaginative branding and aesthetics
- Finishes and fixtures sourced at the local Home Depot
- Bleached out interiors courtesy of HID and fluorescent lighting
- Refrigerators brimming with muscle drinks beyond a reception desk
- Third world marketing efforts such as muscle T-shirts suspended on wire hangers
Gym developers, you just can't do this any longer, it's a new game. The chains in are streamlined and updated and the consumer knows the difference. Chains aside, I'm sure you've seen your social media feeds brimming with stories of the new boutique gym models....sexy, slick, sleek, all of whom are making inroads in the marketplace, and there you have it. The new cycle is unfolding in real time, right before our eyes, because the new boutique gyms are really just a resurgence of the independents. Employing new aesthetics, programming and marketing, those features which the early independents were resistant to change.
“Now, these new boutique brands are upstaging the big-box clubs, so yes, the boutique independents are wining smaller battles in a larger war”
New gyms brands are simply adopting strategies employed across all of commerce and are keeping a pulse on all that is new and relevant across their entire branding platform. Change is your friend, conformity, convention and comfort are not.