“I was tired of feeling like I had to wear makeup to work out,” a woman in her 40s told us in a focus group. It was a common theme we discovered while weeding through the health club clutter. Gym goers wanted more from their health club experience. They were tired of feeling like just another number at big-box clubs or like they needed a six-pack before setting foot in the gym. And with steep competition inside and outside of Anytime Fitness’ segment, the brand needed to differentiate itself from other 24/7 gyms that offered cheaper memberships.
By marrying Anytime Fitness’ brand truth — that the club is a welcoming, comfortable place for real people — with the human-truth that motivations are individual, but it takes a community to be successful — we seized the opportunity to be the club for the rest of us. Launched in 2014, Anytime Fitness’ new brand umbrella, “Get to a healthier place,” offered an intensely personal, yet relatable ethos. It wasn’t so much about joining a health club, but feeling like you belonged.
“Get to a healthier place” has become a guiding principle for Anytime Fitness’ entire enterprise. Franchisees now have a greater understanding of their purpose, beyond just operating a 24/7 retail space with rows of treadmills and stacks of free weights. And the analytics have been equally impressive: Membership increased by 16%, while unaided awareness doubled in 18 months. We also saw a 40% increase in membership leads. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine named Anytime Fitness its No. 1 franchise that same year.