An Essay: We decided to change our branding.

We at Big Little Gyms are 9-year affiliates owners and we’ve officially decided to change our branding.

I want to share why, because this isn’t a knee jerk reaction and I don’t think it is for a lot of us.

For us it’s been about 3 years in the making since we felt like our brand began to outweigh the CrossFit label attached to it.

Back then I proposed the move to our staff and community and received enormous amounts of backlash and disapproval.

Really, up until then the main value proposition for affiliating was the brand awareness. This, however, is a horrible marketing strategy. The days of “build it and they will come” have come and gone.

So, we continued to pay affiliate dues anyways to support our member base.

With rebuilding post COVID we have made a lot of changes and this recent media frenzy is really just a sign that it’s time to commit to the move.

When I post our members were actually in complete support. They too are pretty plugged in to the greater community and don’t stand for how this makes us all look. Owners and athletes.

Just to be clear, I understand that GG mis-spoke, that it was taken out of context and I don’t believe he is a racist or anything like that. And I am as done with the “cancel culture” as the next guy.

What bothers me and many others is that he is not thinking about us when he opens his mouth and says prolific things.

It’s not the first time and it doesn’t mean I always disagree with him, sometimes I do but ultimately a lot of people in the community and outsiders watching who’d love to give us a black-eye do.

This is a prime example of how people don’t have business problems, but personal problems that manifest in their business.

You simply have to have the awareness to know that people are triggered right now and it’s not about him when he speaks. It’s about the 10,000+ affiliates he leads.

That being said, we had to educate our members so they don’t think that a change in branding means a change in methodology or product/service delivery. That’s their only worry.

It went like this…

CrossFit has and always will be two things.
a brand name and a for profit corporate entity with a figurehead at the top.
a community driven and open sourced methodology.
You can have #2 while relinquishing your connection to #1.

In regards to the marketing side of it leaning on a brand name to prop up your awareness locally is a very poor way to structure the marketing and sales side of your business. This why so many affiliates fail. It’s not marketing and every business needs marketing as much as it needs good ops and fulfillment.

With the right strategy and tools it is not hard to have your brand awareness weighted more heavily locally that the CF brand.

That’s how we felt for years, I’ve struggled the last three years paying my affiliate dues simply because we did the work and weren’t really bringing in people because of the CF brand but because of our own local branding initiatives.

The only reason I paid the dues was because my die-hards demanded it.

This situation changed that and they’ve been in support of shedding the CF branding because they know we’ve built something special here that the CF brand doesn’t wholly transcend.

This is what our new branding looks like….

We still have a current affiliate and will be watching but going forward we will no longer lead with it and will likely de-affiliate entirely. From this day forth we are Spark Community Fitness, CF no longer means the same thing for us.
If you are considering a move to a different support channel or needs some help rebranding, this is something we can assist with at Big Little Gyms. We’d be happy to point you to many resources at no cost to make the move on your own or facilitate the shift for you.

Strategy calls are available to you should you be looking for some direction, complete our survey to let us know what’s up! 👉

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