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When you think of a fitness brand and high-profile sport/fitness experts, what springs to mind? Nike? Kayla Itsines? Usain Bolt?
I bet when you think of these brands and personalities, you get very clear images of who they are and what they stand for. That's because they're all brilliant at branding.
Branding is the way businesses and fitness personalities present themselves to the world through their website, social media accounts and marketing efforts.
Think of a ‘brand' like a person. It has a particular way of talking. It looks a certain way. It has specific values. It also has a character and personality, and it will appeal to different groups of people.
Let's have a look at some companies and fitness experts that are brilliant at branding.
When you think of Nike, ‘Just do it' instantly comes to mind. This is because Nike is one of the best-branded companies in the world.
If you have a body, you're an athlete. That's the core brand value behind the company's branding. This idea plays out in everything that they do, from the images they use on their social media sites, to the way they use language on their website and in their TV ads.
The Nike brand is inspiring and empowering. It targets people's desire to be a champion at whatever fitness level they are. The brand says ‘we are all heroes, now go out, just do it and be great'.
Check out this Nike campaign to see the company's branding in action (warning, you may be inspired!).
What the Kayla Itsines brand does very well is to create a community of women. You could say that Kayla's brand value is ‘women coming together to be healthier'.
The queen of client transformations, Kayla utilises client before and after photos to sell her brand as relatable, inspirational and one that will get results.
Brand voice (how her brand uses language): It is about celebrating women, creating fitness communities and helping women to get healthier together. The tone is bright, positive, motivating and supportive.
Visual Branding (how her brand uses visuals): Itsines uses a lot of hot pink. This colour communicates many things about her brand without saying a single thing. It's feminine, powerful, playful and energetic.
To see her brand in action, check out her Sweat with Kayla website.
Three words can sum up Usain Bolt's brand: lightning bolt pose. Arguably one of the greatest athletes ever, Usain Bolt is even better at branding.
Bolt has harnessed the power of his fun-loving personality, coupled it with his incomparable talent and impressive world record achievements, and packaged these things into brand Bolt, complete with his own logo (the lightning bolt pose).
Looking at his website and social media, Bolt's brand is energetic, fun-loving, passionate and demands to be noticed. It is about being a ‘champion'.
Companies that have aligned with his brand include Gatorade, Virgin, Puma, Hublot and Optus. They have taken his brand and aligned it with theirs so that people relate Bolt's brand with their company. For example, Bolt is a champion, so Gatorade fuels champions, or Bolt is fun-loving and world-class, so is Virgin. You get the picture.
Branding yourself as a fitness professional can help your career in lots of ways. For example, you may want to:
Whatever your reason, creating your personal fitness brand can get you there.
As a fitness professional you are a business and your product can be anything from PT, to coaching, online programs or fitness modelling.
Giving your business a brand personality helps you to reach potential customers, build loyalty, build a reputation and keep a loyal client base.
The main keys to branding
The two main aspects of branding are:
Basically, how your brand looks and speaks.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Take some time to answer these questions, because the answers will form your brand identity.
Sum your answers up in one line, and write it down. This is your brand mission statement. You will draw from this when working out your brand voice and visual branding.
It's now time to translate your brand mission statement into brand voice and visual branding across your website, social media sites and any marketing you do.
Your brand voice speaks with your brand's unique personality. It is the words, sentences and the writing style that you use in your website, social media and marketing efforts.
To define your brand voice, think of three words to describe your brand (go back to your brand mission statement to refresh your memory).
An example of this could be: fresh, fit, fun.
These three words are the backbone of your brand voice. They will dictate how you will write content and communicate with your audience.
Now you need to dig deep and expand on these words. This will help you to craft a really unique and specific brand voice.
Let's take the earlier example of fresh, fit, fun.
If these were your brand voice words, you would ask yourself what these words mean in relation to your brand. This will help you to shape your brand voice's language and style.
Fresh – vibrant, youthful, up-to-date
Fit – healthy, active, energetic
Fun – joyful, playful, bubbly.
Visual cues tell people a lot about your brand.
When building your visual identity think about:
Consider how all these things work together to create a brand personality.
If someone visits your site, will they know exactly who you are, what you value and what you're selling?
Once you have settled on your brand voice and visual branding, you need to keep them consistent across your web platforms.
Everything you post, every image you Instagram, your blogs, everything has to have a purpose.
You will notice that even if a fitness personality is putting up images of their pug, or their breakfast, or their feet against a green field, the images are reinforcing their brand and their values.
For instance, the image of the pug might reinforce a fun brand voice.
You need to be authentic in everything you do. If your brand voice does not represent you, then scrap it and find one that does. There's no point branding yourself as a nurturing trainer if you actually offer military-style training.
Everything you post needs to give the viewer something. Whether it's a nice image to brighten their morning, or a short video on perfecting their squat technique. You have to give people a reason to connect and follow you. Inspiration, tips, tricks and advice are a great way to do this.
You need to post on your sites at least three times a week to keep people connected and following you. So set aside some time every week to post new content, and respond to comments from your followers.
Engage with people that comment on your posts, start discussions and build a sense of community with your followers.
You can take this a step further and create events for your community to attend, or simply shout out every once in a while about an informal event like, ‘Hey, I'll be going for a 5K run, if anyone wants to join meet me____ at ____'.
So now you know the basics of branding it's time to get into it! Have a look at some of the masters of branding, like Nike and Itsines, get a feel for what they're doing and how they're doing it.
Meanwhile, if you're interested in how you can really harness the power of social media for your fitness career, come along to our Social Media Workshop (free) at the TAFE NSW Northern Beaches Fitness, Sport and Recreation open day on 24 June. Learn more here.
Full list of Open Week events here.
Image source, Image source.