Branding Fitness

We’ve talked about athleisure for the past decade. Now we hear wellness is the new luxury and spinning is the new happy hour. We know fitness and health is a lifestyle that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

We also know we’re in an era in which brands matter. Pick a commodity category and now there’s a brand being built around it: Care/of for vitamins, Bombas for socks, Billie for women’s razors, Goby for electric toothbrushes, Parachute for home linens.

So how big a role does brand play in people’s decisions about where to work out? Regardless of its significance now, I think its importance will increase as fitness companies continue to define and amplify their brands. Will it become hard for us to align with a company - especially a boutique fitness studio one visits many times weekly - if the brand turns us off?

For example, I’ve been a huge Flywheel Sports consumer for nearly 5 years. But the recent "F* Limits" branding of Fly Anywhere (their recently-launched Peloton competitor) doesn’t resonate with me. The seemingly harsher studio music doesn’t either. What also interests me in the Flywheel example is that the recent changes don’t seem consistent with the friendly front desk staff nor the merchandise - “Champagne & Cardio” tank, anyone? - sold in the studio. As wellness companies try to build communities, being intentional about all brand signals seems important.