Katie Lewis is the Director at Brand Chatter and Workplace Mental Wealth. She has a strong background in PR, communications, and the health & fitness industry and is passionate about promoting the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Katie, you have a strong background in marketing and branding.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT TAKES TO BUILD A STRONG FITNESS BRAND, WHETHER IT’S A LOCAL INDEPENDENT CLUB OR A FRANCHISED BUSINESS?
It all comes down to community. Human beings are social creatures who thrive in the company of others. Successful fitness facility brands, whether multi or single site, work hard to create an environment where people feel safe, comfortable and motivated to train.
In today’s digital world, communities can be built in-person, online or, most typically, a combination of both. The main ingredient for success is not just about the physical or virtual space in which the community exists (although this is important) it’s more about the emotional connection each and every individual feels towards the brand.
There has never been more competition in the wellbeing and fitness market for an individual’s share of attention. Brands who succeed will be those who excel at bringing people together in engaged communities.
IN MANY WAYS SOCIAL MEDIA HAS CHANGED THE WAY BUSINESSES OPERATE. HOW CAN BUSINESSES IN THE HEALTH & LEISURE INDUSTRY USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO GROW THEIR BUSINESSES?
Whilst the various platforms may rise and fall in popularity, the concept of connecting people via online communities has been a part of daily lives now for many years and should form a core component of any communications and marketing strategy.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer huge opportunities for fitness facility owners to attract new members through highly targeted and comparatively affordable marketing campaigns and to create sub member groups that bring together likeminded individuals to to train, motivate and inspire each other.
Like all components of a marketing and communications mix, social media is not a magic pill. The success of its integration depends on the time and resource allocated to its management and monitoring. Just like any physical social group, these online communities need constant attention. Without a strategy, an individual properly resourced and accountable for measuring success and impact, it will be difficult to harvest the true value from the social media opportunity.
YOU’VE JUST LAUNCHED WORKPLACE MENTAL WEALTH, CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS?
I have launched Workplace Mental Wealth with my industry friend, Lindsey Simpson, to shine a light on mental health and to ensure that the mental health of our workforce remains on the agenda of employers within the sector.
Earlier this year, with the backing of CIMSPA, we conducted the first ever survey to explore the mental state of those working at all levels of the fitness and active leisure sector. We attracted responses from more than 1,100 individuals and 80 employers and compiled findings into a report that is available, free of charge to everyone via a link on our website. The plan will be to repeat this research on an annual basis to start to build intelligence that can be used to inform and drive positive change.
The research suggests there is a need to drive workforce mental wellbeing up the agenda. Of those who responded, more than half (53%) stated that they had experienced a mental health issue in the last 12 months.
Creating working environments that enhance, protect and support mental health will drive health, happiness and prosperity. So, from the survey, we have now also launched The Good Work Pledge, giving employers in the sector an opportunity to publicly declare their commitment to driving positive change in the area of workforce mental health.
The Pledge is open to any employer in the fitness and active leisure sector and is based on six core mental health standards identified by the government backed, Thriving at Work Report. It is believed that the achievement of these core standards is within the gift of almost every organisation regardless of size.
When you sign up to The Pledge you receive guidance on how to diagnose your current workforce mental health provision and how to implement positive change. You also receive a logo that you can apply to your internal and external marketing materials to let your audiences know that you are committed to focusing on employee mental wellbeing.
Again, more information and how to sign up is all detailed on our website.
SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR BRAND CHATTER AND WORKPLACE MENTAL WEALTH?
The honest answer is, I don’t know. I very much hope that I can continue to add value to the sector through my work in both fields.
For more information about Workplace Mental Wealth visit: workplacementalwealth.com