What is your gym’s brand identity?
It’s a big question
If you don’t have a clear answer, we get it. You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal — isn’t running a gym about the workout experience and the community?”
Yes, absolutely. And never sacrifice that!
But your gym’s branding dictates how people think of your gym. How your gym makes them feel. And therefore, branding is equally as important as all those other elements. Happy gym members who feel seen and understood are the ones that are going to keep coming back.
Let’s take a look into how you can knock your gym branding out of the park.
The Goals of Gym Branding
If you do it right, good gym branding will:
- Capture your gym’s overall vibe
- Communicate the quality of your gym
- Help you stand out from your competition
- Make your gym easily recognizable
- Reinforce your gym’s existing sense of community
Gym Brand Differentiation Is Key
Let’s keep it real — gym branding is an expense. It requires forethought and strategy. However, branding doesn’t have to drain a ton of your money either.
In fact, good gym branding can be a massive differentiator simply because your competitors don’t want to dedicate the time or resources to it.
To that end, we’re going to send you on a quick Google Maps research challenge:
- Open Google Maps.
- Select your own city, or choose a city at random anywhere in the country.
- Search for your type of gym (ex: MMA gym near me).
- Scroll through the top 15 closest listings, and check out their gym branding.
What do you see?
- Are the gym brands cheesy? Intense? Confusing?
- What do you love about their gym branding? What do you dislike?
- Is there a fitness niche that hasn’t been explored yet that you could fill?
- How can you make your gym stand out from the branding that’s already out there?
Now that you’ve got the creative juices flowing and learned what gym brands look like, let’s break down the 7 steps toward better gym branding.
7 Steps to Improve Your Gym Branding
Gym Branding Step 1: Identify a Target Audience
In order to have a good gym brand, you need to understand who you’re catering to. This target audience should be the foundation of all your gym branding efforts.
The boutique fitness market is saturated, so think about what specific groups you want to serve and speak to them directly.
Here are some examples of general gym target audiences that you can use as inspiration:
- Serious weightlifters who live for getting stronger and competing against their own personal best.
- Young women who are looking for an inspiring, body-positive place to take classes and be active.
- Families who want to keep all their kids busy in after-school activities.
Once you have your basic target audience, you can get even more granular than that. Break the broader category into personas for each potential gym member you’re hoping to reach.
Expanding on one of the examples above:
- Women in their early 20s looking for a women-friendly gym to go to for the first time outside of their hometown or college
- Women in their late 20s who want a gym that provides a sense of community and a variety of exercise options
- Women in their early 30s who want a set of gym acquaintances and low-impact exercises that won’t wreck their joints
Once you identify what types of people your gym will ideally serve, you can begin crafting your branding language and imagery to speak directly to that group of gym-goers.
Gym Branding Step 2: Determine Your Gym’s Voice
Once you know who your brand will be speaking to, you can figure out your gym’s voice. You can keep it intuitive here — no need to get into fancy marketing buzzwords.
- Like talking to a best friend (who also happens to be fit)
Some owners find it helpful to choose movies, TV shows, celebrities, or existing brands for inspiration. Whatever works for you!
The idea is to stick to that voice across all your branding and marketing materials so your gym is easily identifiable.
This includes the wording you use in:
You want to ensure you keep your language consistent, since it’s the most effective way to communicate your gym’s goals and message. A clear, consistent voice is a key component of a recognizable and reputable gym brand.
Gym Branding Step 3: Select the Right Gym Name
First impressions are important. You need to consider what customers are going to think about your gym the first time they hear of it.
Your gym’s name has the power to convince people to check out your fitness facility or dissuade them. You want to make sure that your name communicates the right message about what your gym will do for a future member.
To pick the right gym name, choose a word that accurately speaks to the services your gym will provide and the clientele it will appeal to. You can use an online word generation tool like RelatedWords.io and RelatedWords.org or an AI tool like ChatGPT to brainstorm words related to your fitness niche. This can be a starting base for your gym name.
Some other important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a gym name include:
- Easy spelling
- Simple pronunciation
- Uniqueness (it shouldn’t be copyrighted or easily confused with an existing gym’s name)
- Availability of an online domain name for your website
Gym Branding Step 4: Design a Logo
Alongside a unique name for your gym, you’ll want to design a logo that matches your gym’s name. There are several components to a good gym logo:
- Colors that complement your gym’s purpose and energy
- A typeface that fits the fitness area you specialize in
- A graphic that represents your brand (optional)
Here are some gym logo examples for inspiration.
Your gym logo doesn’t have to be super literal, but it can be if you want. For example, a yoga studio logo could have a purple color, slanted font, and a graphic of person doing yoga. However, this is probably not the best way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Having trouble choosing a brand color?
Consider what emotions people associate with certain colors. Some colors are more energetic, while others instill a sense of calm.
What about the logo typeface?
You can get a professional-looking typeface from Google Fonts or hire a font designer to make you a custom font.
One mistake you don’t want to make is combining a bunch of different typefaces for the sake of visual variety. Font families include multiple variations in font weight and italics to accomplish that dynamic look for you.
And the graphic element?
Unless you’re a designer yourself, we’d recommend going with a professional for any sort of imagery or logo bug. That way the quality remains the same whether your logo is plastered on the side of your gym, embroidered on a T-shirt, or shrunken down in an app.
Gym Branding Step 5: Order Branded Apparel
People love swag. When they belong to a gym with a strong sense of community, they’re more than happy to sport your gym’s branding. It’s a badge of honor!
You can order any kind of apparel you like, but we recommend starting with items people are likely to wear both to your gym and around town, such as:
- Tank tops
- Workout shorts
Think about it: You’re basically getting paid to advertise your own gym.
With that in mind, you might want to spend some time and money on the apparel design and the feel of the clothing so your gym seems inviting. You don’t want to waste time creating gym apparel that ends up in the trash because it’s ugly, itchy, or ill-fitting — that’s not the branding you’re aiming for, even if it seems cost effective in the short term.
Gym Branding Step 6: Create a Branded Gym Website
Your gym’s website represents you, your staff, and your business. Potential members often see your site before they enter your gym, so you want to make sure your message is clearly communicated through text and pictures.
This means that a well-branded website is nonnegotiable. You want your site content to be written in the right tone and voice, and it needs to deliver your message clearly and directly. Your overall design, images, and text must match your logo and complement your brand.
For more tips on how to design a great gym website, check out the website deep dive on the UpLaunch blog.
Gym Branding Step 7: Develop a Social Media Presence
The last way to build your gym’s brand online is through your social media presence.
Social media gives you direct access to leads and members and has a faster turnaround time than things like branded apparel or website creation. You can also get more experimental with your branding on social media to see what resonates with your ideal gym members, offering you instant feedback on your gym branding and ideas for the future.
Bringing Your Gym Branding Together
Ultimately, running a fitness business is a great way to change peoples’ lives for the better. And one of the best ways to bring those people into your facility is to create strong gym branding. If you establish your gym’s identity and philosophy — and then run an excellent business to back it up — you should have no trouble drawing in new members or changing the lives of the ones that are already there.
Are you on the right track with your business but feel your branding isn’t all it could be? Learn new ways to market your brand and improve your overall marketing strategy with your free copy of our 10-Step Gym Marketing Guide!