How Planet Fitness’ Brand and Marketing Tactics Make It An Out of This World Company (Brand Like the Best Case Study)
I’m so proud to share the following guest blog post written by my intern, Brandon Winn and edited by me. I hope you enjoy it!
“Come As You Are.” This is more than just a hit song by 90’s band Nirvana: it’s the main idea behind the flourishing gym known as Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness doesn’t align themselves with fancy, high-end gyms or those targeting body builders. Because of this, they are carving out a brilliant niche that appeals to the average person who wants to work out in an environment where they will not be judged. Here are a few key branding and marketing decisions Planet Fitness has made that has helped it be so successful.
Messaging and Brand Language
Planet Fitness is for the average Joe or Jane who wants a good workout in an environment that isn’t intimidating and it echoes this idea through its brilliant messaging and brand language. The video on their homepage stresses that it’s a “judgment-free zone.” You can find this same phrase in big, bold letters on the walls of all of their locations. This is one of the ways Planet Fitness creates a comfortable, safe environment and experience for its clients. It wants to make sure you don’t judge yourself or others (or be judged as well).
Planet Fitness also uses phrases like “No Gymtimidation” and “No critics” to get their point across. Their dress code signs say they prohibit jeans, boots, sandals or string tank tops–any form of dress that might lead to “gymtimidation.” This once again helps everyone feel more comfortable at Plantet Fitness and drives their message home. And on the walls of its locations, there are signs saying “You did something great today.” These signs encourage members to share about their small or big milestones and workouts on a special website called “Planet of Triumphs.” Here, members can go to upload pictures, “like” other members’ status updates and post encouraging comments. This builds a community that encourages each other and celebrates all victories, great or small.
By choosing a set of brand phrases like this for their company and using them through the different touch points a customer will experience, they make sure they get their message across well.
Planet Fitness believes in rewarding its members and encourages them to treat themselves. You won’t find overzealous personal trainers pushing you to out potato chips for kale chips here! Instead, the first Monday of every month, they serve pizza. On the second Tuesday of every month, they serve bagels. By offering rewards like these to customers, it helps build community and shows its members that it appreciates them. In addition, Tootsie Roll candies await members at the front desk. The message is clear: It’s ok to reward yourself.
Other than food, the Planet Fitness rewards include Relaxation Zones (a place where a person can chill out after a vigorous work out) for members who have the Black Card. The zone includes massage chairs, tanning beds and HyroMassage zones. Once again, it gets the message across that you deserve to take care of yourself, treat yourself, and celebrate the great workout you just had. These specific rewards also show that the company knows its target market well and is including features that you wouldn’t find at other gyms. It’s part spa, part gym.
The Planet Fitness logo was very intentionally designed to get across the idea that they are encouraging and caring. It shows a thumbs up inside of a gear. The dictionary defines a gear as “one of a set of toothed wheels that work together … between the speed of a driving mechanism”. So it is communicating that Planet Fitness wants to DRIVE its members to be the best that they can be. A thumbs up is traditionally used to praise. Therefore, in combining these two images, Planet Fitness provides a symbol of a reassuring push.
The color choice for the logo is also important. The color purple represents royalty and sophistication, while the color yellow displayed in the thumb brings forth feelings of positivity. Black represents power here. This shows that while Planet Fitness is friendly and wants to create an environment where everyone feels very welcome…like royalty! Note the saturated texture of the thumb and the grungy paint splatter consistency of the purple circle. This texture gives an edgy vibe and adds energy to the overall look and feel. They want you to know that they are unique and innovative. Kurt Cobain would have (probably) loved this logo and Planet Fitness as well.
Their Social Media
The company further creates an encouraging environment using social media. Their Twitter feed is filled with motivational quotes and images of their clientele accomplishing their goals. Their quotes feature statements such as, “I Did Something Great Today” and “Difficult Roads Often Lead to Beautiful Places”. Powerful words like this propel the morale of their social followers as well as their members. These tweets are also displayed on TV sets near the workout equipment. Even the Planet Fitness merchandise shares these same messages and transforms members into advocates that spread positivity.
Planet Fitness has made a brand that everyone can embrace and love and it teaches people to embrace and love themselves. That’s a planet I wouldn’t mind going to.