The health and fitness market is dominated by discounter business models and young audiences following the latest training fads. In this environment, offering trendy services is considered more important than proven concepts and training protocols, resulting in lower loyalty to brands. As a result, Kieser Training with its medical- and science-based philosophy, saw an increase in new customers after decline between 2003 and 2013.
Together with Kunde & Co, Kieser Training created a stronger brand position in the highly competitive market, but without disrupting the core brand position that has been built over the previous five decades.
Starting with detailed analysis
To gain an in-depth insight, Kunde & Co developed and used a well-defined and successfully tested process for Kieser Training’s specific needs. It started with pre-interviews with board members, the executive management team, employees from HQ, and staff from all studios owned or franchised by Kieser Training. This assured the involvement of a large number of stakeholders and provided a common understanding and shared purpose to make strategy implementation more efficient.
Internal and external stakeholder testing
The gained insights from pre-interviews were then used to create a framework for an online survey and series of tests involving more than 8,500 people in workshops within the target countries. Together with an in-depth questionnaire, creative test material was developed comprising positioning directions, communication concepts, logos and claims, tone of voice, style, values and decision factors. Participants covered all types of stakeholders, from current, lost and potential customers to board members and employees, and resulted in a deeper understanding of the current and future position of Kieser Training.
Realising the potential for growth
The analysis confirmed a huge growth potential for the nearly 50-year-old Kieser Training brand. But it needed to adapt its internal behaviour and external communication to the market. While the awareness and perception of the brand was different for each target country, there was a unified negative image of Kieser Training as a gym exclusively for old and sick people. Current customers, meanwhile, demonstrated an exceptional high loyalty to the brand.
Securing and developing the brand’s core
The result of discounter price pressure and negative brand positioning was a lower number of new customers, a higher marketing spend, inefficiencies in the marketing system and lower average prices. Kunde & Co’s comprehensive analysis showed that Kieser Training needed to reinforce the brand’s medical- and science-based core, and to reach out to younger people looking to stay fit with the most efficient technology and training methods.
Internal implementation first, external communication second
The internal and external analysis served as the foundation for defining a new brand strategy and marketing concept. The new claim, 'Say yes to a strong body', was devised while a creative concept was developed to perfectly position Kieser Training in the market. To ensure the new marketing concept was supported by the entire organisation, the implementation began with an internal kick-off event, with all 1,500 employees and franchisees, instructors and medical doctors in attendance. Following the event, all Kieser Training facilities held individual workshops with tools developed by Kunde & Co to support them in living the brand every day.
Dedicated marketing programs to focus sales channels
The Kieser Training concept offers special training protocols and equipment to treat and prevent a high number of chronic diseases and metabolic problems. This positions the company as the best partner for healthcare practitioners. The same concept offers healthy people methods for preventing illness and increasing their fitness in a professional training environment. Specific target group marketing tools were developed to match the demands of healthcare practitioners and consumers. And all elements had one thing in common: in contrast to typical fitness industry communication, Kieser Training provides more in-depth information and thought leadership within health-oriented strength training.
Building a new online platform and community
After developing the strategy and creative concept, Kunde & Co designed and implemented a new website to support the customer journey of Kieser Training’s target audiences. A key element of the website is the blog from company founder Werner Kieser. It offers deep insights into the company’s concept, training methods, equipment, and solutions to health challenges, resulting in significant customer engagement. This content is activated using several channels, including a centrally-managed Facebook profile. A social media community management manual was also developed to secure a unified approach, both centrally and locally. Within a few months, the company’s Facebook community grew to an audience of 65,000, generating a 25% share of all industry interactions and the highest engagement rate. In addition, the blog attracted nearly 4,000 readers.
Reaching new audiences on television
After the implementation of the new brand and marketing concept in 2014, Kieser Training looked to TV to communicate its unique concept and value proposition while creating more customer awareness. In 2015, Kunde & Co developed a TV commercial, and all supporting online and offline elements, to increase traffic to the website and to facilities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. To further support facilities, and encourage word-of-mouth leads generation, special programs were developed to activate current customers.
Building a community to strengthen brand involvement
The typical Kieser Training customer has a very strong bond to the brand and likes to share experiences. This has led to the creation of a dedicated online community using special hashtags, in both online and offline communication, enabling existing customers to become brand ambassadors. These ambassadors were part of a strength test campaign where the effects of the Kieser Training philosophy were measured and the results could be used in all communication. Aside from the external effect, the community also increased the identification of employees within the brand.
Changing from yellow to blue
Kunde & Co developed a new visual appearance, replacing the colour yellow, which is perceived as a colour of discounter business, with a more stylish blue that supports the brand’s roots. This change was implemented at all customer touchpoints to ensure brand experience during the customer journey is consistent: from external signage, flags and brochures to the website and a newly developed Kieser Training app.
Moving back to growth
The Kieser Training brand is now perceived as the market leader for health-oriented strength training, recommended by healthcare practitioners and supported by science. The close co-operation between Kieser Training and Kunde & Co during strategy and creative concept development, together with ongoing campaign planning and execution, has resulted in positive numbers for new customers after several years of decline.