If you’re a fitness business owner, or a lady or gent that would like to be one, you can’t narrow your focus to just coaching and programming. You have to expose yourself to the world (note: not a full frontal flashing) and let them know you exist and can bring them something that improves their lives. This means branding.
While we’re not marketers, and certainly don’t perpetuate the unchecked rhetoric that you have to “live your brand” before being a real fucking human being, we’ve done a few things that help us develop Strength Faction’s brand as tough, against the grain, but smart, and trustworthy.
We make that revolution dumbbell-fist stand for something.
Here are a few tips for you to help you develop your own brand based on some simple shit that’s worked for us.
Hear Your Favorite Song in Your Head
Our designer’s name is John Flude (more on him in a minute). He developed the Strength Faction logo over a few months of conversations with him. He also developed my personal logo (this is Todd) using the same process. There were a thousand and one text messages, and just as many emails that helped us flush out an image that represented our message and our mission.
During that process there were numerous conversations about whether or not we should do things—whether certain actions, marketing strategies, and business practices would truly represent who we are and how we want to express that to the world. To answer those existential questions, he gave us a simple metric to measure our decisions.
“If you can’t hear your favorite song in your head, don’t do it.”
That means if you’re considering running a certain ad, or making a certain post, and it feels like it might be inauthentic, try to hear your favorite song in your head. If the song won’t play, or the action doesn’t coincide, don’t do it.
Now, keep in mind that this works for us because music is a huge part of our lives, and Flude knows that. You may need another metric that works along similar lines but is manifested in a different way.
No matter the medium, find yourself an authenticity barometer. It’ll keep you from morphing into something that you’re not.
Develop Core Principles, And Don’t Break Them for Anybody
In developing your business, taking the time to list core principles that you truly value you, and that truly reflect your behavior, is invaluable. It sounds counterintuitive, but this kind of rigid structure creates the ability for dynamic growth. Without structure, everything is chaotic, everything seems important, and nothing really matters.
Core principles define what matters to you. They are your list of commandments, your line in the sand. We all need a fucking line in the sand.
Take a look at your current behavior and what you’re trying to accomplish with your life and business. List out the things that, supported by your behavior, not a bunch of sweet sounding idealized terms, truly matter to you. Consult this list frequently. These are the values that define you as a business entity or as an individual. Once you have these values defined, you make sure they permeate everything that you show the world.
Find a Designer That You Mesh Well With
You have your principles defined and you have your barometer for judging authenticity, now you need someone to help you accurately and authentically express your message via your logo, font, etc.
We lucked out—one of my best friends happens to be an incredible graphic artist that also knows me well. It made the process easier. But here’s the deal—the process was a deep probing. We talked every day for months about what Strength Faction is and what it’s going to do—what we wanted it to represent. That’s the big takeaway.
You need to find someone that wants to get to know you, and your mission, intimately to be able to express that through an artistic design. I’m not saying that you need some deeply symbolic logo that covers every expansive of your soul and being, but I’m also not not saying that.
If you’re kind of punk rock, don’t hire some straight-laced design firm to do your logo because they gave you the right price. If you’re a conservative person, don’t expect a throw caution to the wind type of artist to truly understand your values.
Find a mesh point and make sure that the designer’s process is probing enough to get to the center of what you, or your business, represents.
Don’t Be Afraid to be Judged
Most people don’t know how to best represent themselves or what they stand for. Don’t let their opinions influence you. If you know something is right, fucking do it. If all of your sensibilities, reason, emotion, and intuition tells you something is bullshit, don’t fucking do it.
All the while stick true to your path. People are going to talk shit—we’re people, that is what we do. (Side note: Some anthropologists believe language developed so we could gossip about each other.) Your message isn’t for everyone, nor should it be.
Pick the Medium That Works for You
Some folks are great writers, and others do well with video. Some folks kick ass on Instagram and others do well on other platforms. Do what works for you. If you can’t accurately express your personality on video, don’t do it. If your writing is stiffer than an Alaskan frozen turd, you probably shouldn’t rely on your writing. Swing inside your wheelhouse and then consistently and frequently put out valuable information.
Don’t Just Post Boring Fitness Shit
People want to know you—they want to feel connected to the human being, or group of human beings, on the other side of the article or picture. They want to see things that they identify in themselves. Just posting shit about your workouts, or the steak you had a Ruth’s Chris, doesn’t open up the door for people. There are plenty of internet famous jackwagons that do that. You’re better than that and you have more to share. Let people in a little bit.
I’m not saying that people need to know your entire life story, but if you dig music, use that to relate your message. Love travel? Use that to tell your story.
Being genuine with who you are, and letting people see that, goes a long way. People love Dan John because they can relate soulfully to him. He stands for more than training, and he shows that in a genuine way. Besides the valuable information he gives to the world, we love him because we all feel like we know him personally.
Have a Mission for Your Message
If you know what you’re trying to accomplish, and how it will positively affect you and other people, it’s much easier to stay the course and be consistent.
Drive Fast, Take Chances, Listen to Slayer
I didn’t feel like typing “conclusion” so I typed something that I thought was cool, because I don’t give a fuck. Contemplate these tips, take some action, kick some ass, and let people know who the hell you are.