Your Club’s Brand: An Asset or Liability for 2018

October 18, 2017 Lisa Hasen

In just two short months, individuals in your community will once again recommit to the pursuit of health. Your preparations are probably already underway to ensure that people choose your club vs. a nearby competitor.

State of the art equipment? Check.
Well-trained, friendly staff? Check.
Enticing programs? Check.
Powerful, relevant brand? Hmmm…

While not always top of the checklist, your brand can play a powerful role in enticing new members to join AND keeping them committed even as their new year’s wellness enthusiasm fizzles. On the flip side, your brand can work just as hard against your success.

In this 3-part series, I’ll share insights gained from Daxko’s own recent brand strategy initiative. My hope is that you’ll come away inspired and armed with a framework to evaluate—and if needed—evolve your club’s brand for a more prosperous future.

PART I: Evaluate

At Daxko, we intentionally took stock of our brand earlier this year. With our acquisition of CSI Software in late 2015, we had expanded to serve many more member-based health & wellness organizations. Daxko’s software now powers health clubs, medical wellness, and campus recreation facilities in addition to our long-time YMCA and JCC customers.

We set out to understand current perceptions of Daxko. What did customers think about us? The market? Our own team members? And how did the perception of our brand compare to other providers in the space?

Here’s how we approached understanding Daxko’s brand equity, guided by the experts at our brand strategy firm, R2i.

  1. Identify a cross-section stakeholders to interview. Prospective members. Current members. Terminated members. Boomers. Millenials. Engaged staff. Disgruntled staff. Pro-tip: Avoid the temptation to only talk to people who love your club. While the picture they paint will be rosy, it won’t be the whole picture.
  2. Draft a brand perception interview guide. Build an interview guide of questions that you’ll ask to each stakeholder. A few to get you started:
    • How do you initially hear about our club?
    • Has your experience with us compared to what you expected when you joined?
    • If you had to describe our club in one word, what would it be?

Pro tip: Keep questions as open-ended as possible to get as much information. Asking around 15 questions or less will keep the interview to a manageable length of 45 minutes.

  1. Invite them to share their perceptions. Listen, listen, and listen some more to what they have to say about you. Pro tip: Guarantee their anonymity when sharing results of the interviews to ensure there are no barriers to sharing. Having a neutral third-party conducting the interview makes this even easier.
  2. Compile and look for commonalities. After you’ve finished all of the interviews, what seems to be repeated over and over again? Is it that your staff are friendly and knowledgeable and make starting a routine less intimidating? Or perhaps that your group exercise programs are cutting edge? Pro tip: Compare how those common perceptions compare to what your competitors say to position themselves. Where do you stand out?

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