"Gyms have lost touch with consumers" says Fitness First marketing chief as it unveils £225m transformation plan

Fitness First has overhauled its brand identity as part of a £225m transformation plan, which includes club upgrades, fresh logo designs - backed by a £1.5m campaign.

The gym brand worked with The Clearing to create the rebrand, which centres on rewarding and motivating existing customers rather than focusing only on attracting new ones, a strategy informed by an 18 month-long research project.

“We decided about 18 months ago that it was the right time for change. It’s very well publicised that the industry has been through some tough times in the recent page. I think as gym chains have grown, a lot of them have lost touch with the consumer,” David Jones, UK marketing director for Fitness First, told The Drum.

“Now we felt the time was right to start shouting about what we learned. The rebrand is the next natural step of that journey. We want to draw attention to all the changes we are making.”These changes include the new red logo, which aims to symbolise energy and strength, as well as updated equipment and the launch of a fitness app and dashboard, which looks to enable members to track progress daily, get feedback and connect socially as a community. All these changes will be promoted through the newly launched campaign by The Clearing, with the first stage of the £1.5m brand campaign to run across key commuter media channels around newly refurbished clubs in and around central London, including outdoor, press, digital and social media.Richard Buchanan, director of consulting and founder at The Clearing, said: “The strategy aims to deliver a new approach to fitness that won’t solely get you into fitness for a matter of time but naturally introduces fitness into your life. Redefining the look and feel of the brand to reflect a contemporary apparel lifestyle image, a number of new brand innovations and features as well as the new logo will help to define a clear defendable territory for the brand.” The repositioning and campaign will look to promote motivation, with Jones admitting “the industry has been a bit too obsessed with membership sales and deals.”He added: “It’s been about getting new members and not enough about the membership experience and goals of the existing members. The plan for us and our brand spend will not be about falling into that trap but will much more be focused around developing the consumer’s experience from the inside out.”A global roll-out of the brand will take place later this year.

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