As the fitness industry evolves into the wellness industry, here’s how to evolve your comms strategy

by | Aug 7, 2020 | Analysis, Public Relations

Some realms of the ‘fitness’ industry have undoubtedly exploded in recent months as many look towards new ways to satisfy their wants and needs amidst a global pandemic. That being said, here are some insights on how the fitness industry is evolving—and how proactive PR can help brands evolve and stand out from the crowd at this time.

I’ve definitely noticed a switch and somewhat of a blurring of the lines over the course of the last year in terms of the evolution of what was deemed the fitness industry, to the wider ‘wellness’ industry if you like, and the pandemic we find ourselves in has no doubt accelerated that considerably.

For me it stems from brands, from start-ups through to established names, recognizing consumer needs and acting to satisfy that demand

People and their needs are being made the focal point and in recent months even more so than ever I’ve found that although many brands are thinking of consumer wellness wholeheartedly internally, it is those that are reacting and communicating their offering effectively that are finding the most success.

In lockdown and with so many of us now remote working, for many brands the switch has been facilitated by upscaling their remote offerings in entirety, or from a versatility standpoint. For example, Boutique London Fitness studio 1Rebel acted quickly to launch Rebel TV, a new online platform that allowed its loyal customers to not only access its cult Reshape and Rumble workouts from the comfort of their own homes, but to introduce lifestyle masterclasses and workshops on the likes of yoga, meditation and sleep.

Those that are taking the time to individualize their offering, empowering individuals to take control of their own health & wellbeing, are thriving it would seem

Percussive massage therapy pioneers Theragun are another great example of this. Having recently rebranded to Therabody, launching a brand-new range of smart percussive therapy devices in the process, they vastly upscaled the user experience and functionality of their app, to provide consumers with a fully integrated, connected experience whatever your lifestyle.

From a B2B standpoint and on an organizational level, advancements have also been noticeable, and I think these have largely correlated to the importance of diversifying your offering to stand out from the crowd. Platforms such as PT Hub, Glofox, Lenus & Trainerize are revolutionizing the way in which individual personal trainers can differentiate themselves through the creation of their own platforms, and we are also seeing businesses in the industry taking the time to consider around the clock wellness. For example, health and wellness providers, Pavelka Wellness, have acted to produce a remote working wellness guide for employers and leaders, to complement their consumer health and wellbeing app, JP4.

What was a cluttered fitness industry is without a doubt still highly competitive as it broadens and evolves into the wider wellness industry, but that’s where I believe brands must rise to the challenge—that is, think on their feet to cater for consumers, and think about how they then communicate their offering.

By differentiating themselves, and conveying their USPs clearly and consistently online, I believe stakeholders in the industry can make consumers face up and realize how a service or product might be for them, to integrate into their day-to-day lifestyle.

Through a proactive approach to communications, businesses can stay ahead of the pack too

Looking ahead, it is going to be incredibly interesting to see how gyms control their messaging to stimulate increased footfalls. I was impressed to see The Gym Group act to deliver a neat #SafeWithUs video detailing how they would protect consumers when they returned last month.

Interestingly, the brand (The Gym Group) also revealed figures to evidence an 80 percent membership retention rate during lockdown, while internal research had suggested they expected 92 percent of that 80 to then return. In the gym space, I see the importance of conveying messages alike #SafeWithUs of paramount importance in stimulating not just continued return, but the acquisition of new customers, and believe proactive PR considering the full media landscape is incredibly important relative to this.

Although the wider UK economy and at that the British public have been hit considerably from an economic standpoint amidst the global pandemic, the newly coined ‘wellness’ industry has without question the opportunity to thrive, if brands can recognize their place in it and reach their audiences effectively.

Thomas Inskip
Thomas Inskip is Head of Fitness at award winning PR agency, The PHA Group.