Do you have clear and effective branding on your blog?
When someone encounters your brand, do they automatically know that it’s your brand?
Listen to This Episode
In today’s episode, I’m going to share some branding lessons I’ve learned from Planet Fitness that can take your blog’s brand to the next level.
Inside This Episode
Over the last 2 months, I’ve been working out with a friend at Planet Fitness. From my first day working out, I’ve been blown away at their branding.
In fact, I’ve learned a lot of lessons just from observing what they do.
After my first workout there, I remember telling me friend that I wanted what they have – in terms of branding, but I want it for my blog.
What is Branding
Taken from Wikipedia: “A brand's visual identity is the overall look of its communications. Effective visual brand identity is achieved by the consistent use of particular visual elements to create distinction, such as specific fonts, colors, and graphic elements.”
I would propose that branding goes beyond the visual elements and extends to other aspects that contain philosophical, emotional and, in some cases, even spiritual elements. Listen to the episode for my take on this.
Why Branding Is so Important
When I think about memorable brands, there are specific things that come to mind. It may be a logo, specific colors or some other features that I automatically attribute to a particular brand.
This is why brand identity is so important – it makes you memorable.
If you want your blog or business to be top of mind with your target audience, it has to be memorable. That’s what a strong brand identity accomplished.
Blog Branding Lessons
It’s easy to look at bigger brands and see what they do as an unapproachable ideal. However, I want to encourage you to do the exact opposite – look at what they have done and apply the same principles to your blog.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from my experience with Planet Fitness:
#1: Be Clear on What You Stand For
When you think planet fitness, you think a “judgment-free zone”. Taken from their mission statement: “We at Planet Fitness are here to provide a unique environment in which anyone – and we mean anyone – can be comfortable. A diverse, Judgement Free Zone where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built.”
By having such a clear stance, it allows them to stand apart from every other gym.
Do you have a clear stance for your blog? If not, I would encourage you to listen to my episode on creating a simple vision for your blogging business (Episode 227).
#2: Be Clear on Who You Are Trying to Attract
Planet Fitness started back in 1992. At the time, 12% of the American population belonged to a gym. When they set out to start Planet Fitness, the founders decided to target the the people who felt like they didn’t belong in a traditional gym.
People who were more likely to feel intimidated by gyms where you see all the supermodels and bodybuilders lifting heavy weights, grunting, dropping weights and posing in front of the mirror.
How clear are you on who you are trying to attract. Get clear. Get specific. Who is your ideal target person? If you aren’t clear on who you are trying to attract, check out my episode on how to set a firm foundation for your blog (Episode 104).
#3: Be Clear on Who You Are NOT Trying to Attract
Planet fitness is very clear on who they are not trying to attract – Lunks. Just check out this picture I took during my first workout.
In fact, they have gone as far as turning people away because they looked too intimidating. Whether or not you believe that they take it too far, it’s very interesting to see how strongly they try to hold to their message.
Are you clear on who you DON’T want to do business with? In many cases, that can be more important than who you are trying to do business with, because that distinction can often make you stand out.
#4: Be Consistent in Sharing Your Message
All throughout the gym, there are signs with messages reinforcing the message that Planet Fitness is a “judgement free zone”. Their mission statement is posted on a large sign on the wall and there are multiple signs all over reinforcing their message.
Are you consistently sharing your message with the world? When you write blog posts, record podcast episodes and/or videos, is your message present regardless of where or in what format people consume your content?
#5: Build a brand that’s community focused
If you’re building a business in 2015, you should be aiming to build a community.
The most effective businesses are businesses where people don’t feel like they’re being sold to. It’s businesses where people feel like they belong.
Planet Fitness goes above and beyond to make their community feel like they belong. Do you nurture that sense of belonging among your audience?
#6: Be CONSISTENT with Your Brand Identity
When you go to a Planet Fitness Gym, it is 100% clear that you are going to a Planet Fitness gym.
EVERYTHING is wrapped with elements of their brand identity. Their bright purple and yellow colors are everywhere and the fonts they use are consistent. Even the hand driers are wrapped with their branding.
#7: Build a Team That Reinforces Your Brand
Another thing I’ve been impressed with is the people they employ to work at Planet Fitness. As one would expect, they aren’t the typical fitness models that you usually see at many gyms. They are regular looking people.
However, they also seem to be very warm and inviting. This helps reinforce the idea of feeling welcomed and that you belong.
When you start building your team, make sure you are building one where your team members resonate with your message. They are representatives of your brand. Make sure they are on the page and that they help to reinforce the brand you are building.
#8: Don’t Be Afraid to Do Strange Things
There’s one thing that planet fitness does that makes absolutely no sense to me as someone who is trying to get in shape. They have free Pizza for their members on the first Monday of every month.
Now, we all know that Pizza is terrible for trying to get in shape. When I saw this, I thought that it was VERY strange. But then I thought about it from a branding perspective and saw it’s brilliance.
It’s such a great “no judgement” statement. Where that’s concerned, it reinforces their brand. While that’s strange to the rest of the world, it makes sense for Planet Fitness.
As a blogger, don’t be afraid to do strange things that reinforce your brand. It may not make sense to the rest of the world, but it will make sense to your community.
#9: Provide Value and Let That Sell Itself
When I first signed up for a membership, I was very impressed with their facilities. They had EVERYTHING I needed. However, I got their basic membership.
Then I found out about their black card, where you get access to the entire gym AND some additional features like massage chairs, hydro-massage and tanning beds. I asked about the hydro massage and the person at the desk simply asked me if I wanted to try it out.
I said yes. After laying for 7 minutes on the hydro-massage bed, I immediately upgraded my membership because of how awesome the experience was.
It's the same thing with your blog. If you provide a ton of value upfront, people will want to pay you more.
#10: Create Brand Terminology
This is one that is so subtle, but so powerful. If you're a member of Planet Fitness, you will understand the word “gymtimidation.” In fact, whenever I feel like my workout buddy is pushing me too hard, I always joke that I'm experiencing gymtimidation from him. In fact, I even jokingly reported him to the desk worker for gymtimidating me.
While it sounds silly, there's something about having unique brand terminology that helps to bring a community together and strengthen your brand. How can you use this in your blog? Use (or make up) words that are unique to your community.
That common language will help to strengthen the foundation of your brand.
I have 2 questions for you:
- Which of these ten tips do you find most valuable?
- Which one do you need to work on the most?
Let me know in the comments below.
- Episode 227: How to Create a Simple Vision for Your Blogging Business.
- Episode 104: How to Set a Firm Foundation for Your Blog (Episode 104).
- Blab.im: The platform I used to record this episode live.
- Planet Fitness: The company's website.
Some people just love being able to read along with interviews, or they might just prefer to skip the audio completely and just read through the transcript. Hey, if that’s what floats your boat, it is all good. Here’s the transcript just for you. 🙂