Anytime Fitness was suffering the malaise common with franchise brands; small, busy head offices and proactive networks of growing franchises mean keeping up with the demands for local marketing usually defaults to ‘local DIY marketing’ and core brand standards quickly become diluted.
Andrew Mitchell, Head of Storyteq in the Asia-Pacific region, talked to Vanessa about the Anytime Fitness brand and how she is helping to transform the marketing across its network, which is now enjoying a brand-health kick.
Vanessa, to introduce us to Anytime Fitness, can you tell us what are the key pillars of the brand?
We have over 5,000 franchised locations in 50 countries, and each one is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. In 2021 we launched a new slogan that highlights our core values: “Real people. Real success”. It reflects our commitment to assisting the individual fitness journeys our members are on in a down-to-earth, non-intimidating environment. In New Zealand we have 59 clubs.
How well was this brand position being expressed across the club network when you joined?
Very inconsistently. We were all over the place with clubs interpreting various brand elements such as images or videos in different ways. We couldn’t blame the clubs. They are not marketers or designers, and because our head office team didn’t have the design resource or budget to meet all their bespoke marketing support requests, clubs were just doing the best they could.
What attracted you to a Storyteq Brand Portal as the right solution for Anytime Fitness?
We needed a self-service solution that would allow our many local teams to create and localise their own on-brand content, but in a way that meant our design standards and quality of output wouldn’t be diminished. I could see right away the Storyteq template software was super flexible and would allow clubs to adapt content as they needed. But the kicker was how easy and intuitive it was to use, which I knew would be key to it being adopted by clubs. I was also amazed to see video and banner templating was possible.
What are the key features and content you have included in your portal?
We wanted to launch the portal with a lot of content and templates. We included social tiles, event collateral, in-club posters and flyers, staff profiles, time-table templates, monthly promotional material and more; all ready to localise and personalise at the click of a button. The launchpads for specific events and promotions have been really popular and make it easy for clubs to access what they need. The ability to build customised landing pages has been very helpful for presenting brand guidelines, playbooks and instructional videos. We have also added the ability to order printing via the system.
A year in, how would you rate the success of the platform so far?
Like most franchises, the investment in technology comes from a centralised marketing fund that clubs contribute to, so it is imperative that we can show strong value from everything we do. With the high levels of asset downloads and template adoption and adaptations going through each month, implementing our Brand Portal has been one of the best things we’ve done. It has now become integral to how our business runs and the clubs love it.
How easy, or hard, was the implementation process?
The biggest task was creating the master templates and first batches of content. The Storyteq team made everything easy, and we went from the first demo through to going live in just over three months. Our launch date coincided with a rebranding release, so the date couldn’t be moved. However, the project management and commitment from the team was so superb that I was always confident we would be ready.
What would you say are the keys to success for any marketer implementing a Brand Portal?
Understanding exactly what marketing material local teams need before starting is key. And you won’t know this without talking to them and understanding what content they utilise now, and what they would like to use but don’t, because it is too difficult, costly or time-consuming to create. The other key factor is the software must be super easy and intuitive to use or the portal will fail.
What is the next MarTech initiative for Anytime Fitness?
We are keen to add video templates to the portal. As we all know, video is super important these days for the digital channels. We also plan on implementing Storyteq’s local social automation tools. The ability to cascade organic content and ads across the club network and have the content automatically localised will help us take our digital marketing to the next level in a scalable and efficient way.
If you are interested in learning more about Storyteq’s Brand Portals, get in touch.