Consumer Insights Series: Trend Two

Brand, Inclusivity, and Community in 2021

Inclusion and diversity are the new buzzwords in business. But what can we do as fitness leaders to play our part?

 

The WELLTODO 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report highlights eight key trends in the industry that ambitious operators will need to stay abreast of: we’re taking these trends one by one to give you the insight – and practical action points – you need to emerge as a frontrunner as the dust settles over the next 12 months.

The ground-shaking events of the last year have brought the issues of culture, race, and identity into the spotlight.

 

Movements like this might feel far removed from the realities of coaching a client or running a gym, but the ripple effect is having a tangible effect on global consumer trends – and the fitness industry is no exception.

Diversity and inclusion are playing an increasingly important role in businesses: not just because an enlightened approach is the ethical way forward; but also because a foundation of strong values and beliefs is swiftly becoming a must-have for successful brands.

The power of brand

68% of consumers say that a company’s social responsibility reputation has at least some influence on their purchasing with that company.

41% of consumers want to buy from a company with social, political and environmental ideals.

60% of consumers claim they will now buy or boycott brands based on how they respond to calls for diversity and racial equality.

 

So what can we, as gym owners, personal trainers, and fitness managers, do to address this increasingly urgent call for diversity and inclusion?

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Create a solid brand

Brand has always been a foundational piece of the business success pie. But today’s consumers are looking for brands that don’t just work on one level – the direct benefit for them as the customer. They’re looking for brands with depth, with conscience, and with a tangible sense of the responsibility held by businesses in an increasingly enlightened society.

It might be time to revise your brand values, thinking carefully about what you stand for and ensuring that this is played out in everything you do as a business – from your recruitment processes to your brand aesthetic. If you don’t have a diversity and inclusion policy in place, now’s a good time to create one.

Walk the talk

Like any aspect of your brand, diversity and inclusion shouldn’t be something you talk about but don’t live up to in your day to day. While it’s important to give the impression of an ethical brand in your marketing, clients will jump ship if they realise you don’t have follow through on your messaging. Beyond statements of solidarity, you need to show how your brand is breaking down barriers and leading the way in innovation in a concrete way.

“Customer intimacy: get closer to your target population and make real connections.”

Involve and evolve

Remember, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” Rather than speaking on behalf of marginalised groups in your brand evolution, include them in the process of forming messaging, policy, and communication. Think outside the box and consider nationality, physical ability, mental health, race, age, financial status, and more. Think through both internal and external facing aspects of the business: how you treat your potential and current staff, and how you create a welcoming atmosphere in the gym for a wide range of people.

Develop customer intimacy

Getting closer to your business’ target population is a must when it comes to defining an approach to diversity and inclusion. The better we understand the nuances, differences, and behaviours that contribute to the diverse identities of our audiences, the stronger and more reflective our business brand and voice will be. This in turn will drive real connection with our customers and encourage loyalty and community.

Are you a gym owner, fitness manager or ambitious personal trainer looking to stay at the cutting edge of the industry’s charge for change?

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