"In your place": a real example of engagement for fitness centres

When it comes to identifying the experience of a person with a trade mark, it always seems that one expresses oneself in terms that are too random and not concrete enough. It's hard to think that a buyer of a remote control could be so excited as to tell a story and become a natural promoter, or at the same time that a brand of pasta could push the individual to become a natural PR spokeperson.

Actually, it is only more or less difficult to create these mechanisms of diffusion and virality with some product categories compared to others, but in fact this is the subject of contention in recent years of marketing and communication strategies and those that are traditional and others less so. To make the single spokesperson of a product or service become, in the most natural and not self-referential way, it’s necessary to create a condition for the person to want to do it and to be able to do it with a guided path in a careful way.

The possibility to make the hoped for experience coincide with the one actually lived, amplifying it, is instead something of a few sectors and is closely linked to the type of service proposed and to the will to really confront the new expectations of individuals.

How to create engagement through a particular workout

It's time to think about how, with a training, involvement and entertainment plan available, it's possible to give everyone a role in these daily sequences, making them extraordinary. At certain times of the year, associated with a careful teaser and amplification strategy, it may be really strategic to create rotations of the "parts" and roles, making the user coach and vice versa.
Surely to enliven and communicate this change in the ritual of life in a fitness centre is something useful for everyone involved:

  • For the reception and reception staff, called upon to encourage and motivate their users to take up an ambitious challenge such as trying to guide and motivate in turn someone, for a breakthrough or on a given theme
  • For trainers, who have to think in terms of simplification, putting their clients in the position to apply what they have learned and share it with others, leveraging on the example of those who have reached an evolution following a path
  • For the instructors of the collective courses, called to cede the logic of the stage to the advantage of the logic of sharing and involving the group, with the team teaching not technical but emotional states, taking inspiration from their own users.

The idea under discussion is precisely that which can be read between the lines: to provide within the plan of loyalty and marketing initiatives a period or two, of a maximum duration of a week, promoted in the previous fifteen days, in which users are to support or even replace the technical staff in the presentation of the service. Why think about doing it (as a centre) and why should someone decide to participate (as a user)?

The reason for the centre
To give life to moments dedicated to those who choose a structure in an original way, sharing a purpose of witnessing and rewarding testimony, not only with a secondary service or incentives designed for those who decide to help, but also as attention, centrality of a history or experience.
The user's reason
To have a role in a motivational context, to show his technical contact that he can do it, to show at the same time to his friends and family giving the merit (or the fault) of the participation and the organization to third parties. A moment of contextualized and healthy reflectors.

Users instead of staff

But let's try to delve into this idea, starting from the real protagonist of these possible periods of promotion of the service of the centre, the user himself. Putting the user "in the place" of the staff at certain times of the year, planned, communicated and shared, is certainly a risk and a responsibility.

The risk: having to invest too much time to motivate, that of always falling on the same members of the initiatives, to include therefore little and exclude for the lack of management of the "competitive" effect among members;

Accountability: Success is commensurate with the participation and emotion, commitment and energy transmitted. The user becomes part of this responsibility and his desire to participate, to make it known and to share will become a driving force along with the normal communication tools of the centre.

Both factors must therefore be managed with a correct research plan of these testimonials, recruitment, with a teaser campaign that is well communicated and known by every part of the fitness organization, which aims to focus on the good but shy, prepared but silent, chatty but leaders, the evergreens "loudmouths" but faithful.

A sort of theatrical piece in which the choice of the different protagonists is orchestrated guiding each motivator: we remember the risk of always involving the same people, those of the first rows of courses or of the blatant exercises in front of the mirror, a risk that reduces the impact of communication and the potential targets of friends and other reachable acquaintances.

The role of staff in creating engagement

You can clearly understand that a fundamental role in this process of sorting, activation and motivation is played by the staff of the centre, at different levels of the User Experience: a receptionist who builds real relationships with users can really involve those who serve the week of training "for you", a trainer who follows small group or specific formats can identify the most engaged users or potential leaders with whom to share a special lesson, the instructor of the collective course can choose the "student" that is both prepared and shy to reward with a personal study of the special choreography, for the week "for you", to which the same will invite friends and acquaintances.

Organizing a week or moments in the week in which the scene and the guide is taken by the people who live the centre is certainly not easy but, paradoxically, the problem will not be the desire to participate but the overcoming of the initial inhibition. Anyone who manages to become a protagonist for a day of these moments will be totally rewarded with self-esteem, emotion and adrenaline. Those natural enthusiastic activators help and generate not only the testimony of "locker room" (the natural word of mouth) but also the active testimony, the video interview, which will however preserve a character of total spontaneity.

Imagine the difference in impact in hearing how a trainer led an individual to grow to the point where they shared a level they had reached, told them about it, and taught them to others ("I was a trainer for a day"), compared to a review written about staff skills or the beauty of environments. These are two different levels of involvement of members: the second must be induced continuously, the first can’t exist if there is no structured campaign that sees in the Testimonial Week, in the week "for you", something really unique, loyal.

Let's go back to the starting point: it's not so difficult to think that, in the world of wellness services, of customised fitness, the very person who gives us confidence becomes a testimony of trust. In this case it’s really possible to "wear" the service of the centre, in a concrete way: to transmit the emotion that springs from the experience of driving a moment in the life of this centre is an opportunity reserved to the colour that will live there. It is perhaps the strongest unplanned reference collection campaign ever planned: the rule is to try to do it for the first time, and then calendarize during the year the dedicated time, create the expectation and rituality, phenomena that in an ecosystem of people and social can only improve the perceived value.

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