Fitness branding encompasses more than a logo, a suite of machines, and a slate of punishing group classes.
For Catia Morgan, Senior Vice President Of Franchise Operations at The Camp Transformation Center, it begins with the reason that brought their clients through the door in the first place.
Fitness Branding for Worthy Goals
Tell me about your background and what attracted you to Camp Transformation.
I joined Camp Transformation about a year and a half ago and I’ve never felt so glad and inspired to be somewhere. Every day is a great day waking up, helping people—it’s an amazing place to be.
I’ve been in franchising for about 20 to 25 years. Most of my time was spent in the food industry before I switched over to the health, beauty, and fitness brands. I was Vice President of Operations for Fantastic Sams when an opportunity with the Camp Transformation Center came about.
“Transformation” is definitely the operative word. Throughout the fitness brand messaging there’s huge emphasis on the process of change and the time it takes.
Exactly, it’s not just about the body, it’s about an overall transformation from the inside out. That’s what makes it so great. When you hear people at the end of their calendars talking about how they actually reached their target weight, or how their diabetes is now under control, you begin to understand that is something real and impactful. I’m amazed and inspired by the positive role we can play in the lives of our Members.
How does that approach play out in the experience of the brand?
We don’t say we’re running a business because we don’t view every interaction as a sales transaction. Our brand is about dealing with people on a very personal level. It’s about how our Members feel about themselves, where they are, where they’d like to be, and how we can help them get there. To do that we focus on creating a real connection with our Members. Our brand is about being a part of a community, a part of a family. In the end, that’s what our clients truly are—family.
I believe that’s why so many people put their trust in us, because they feel that sense of community around them. Whether it’s the integrity of a work-out group, or their trainer, or their directors, everybody’s building that community—and that connection sets us apart.
How is that approach to fitness branding communicated in the physical environment?
When you go into a location, you feel like you belong. Most of our Camp Centers have a sliding door or two that open up to the outdoors. We love incorporating that into the experience because now you’re not cooped up in the gym—you’re in nature. The sun and the air are flowing in, you feel at home and perfectly in place.
Additionally, we have a lot of powerful motivational quotes on our walls. My favorite is “Walking through these doors will change your live.” I truly believe that. As small as it may seem, a simple statement like that can really anchor and inspire a person as they go through the process.
Within the realm of fitness branding, messaging of that size and prominence becomes a part of the experience.
I agree, I think the messaging does motivate people. But beyond the quotes, the “Before & After” photo galleries throughout our Centers speak for themselves. You look at those pictures and some of them are just amazing.
I mean, people have lost hundreds of pounds and radically changed their lives for the better.
As people move forward on their own path, reflecting on those achievements help to ground the whole process in reality. You have to believe that this is possible for you as well, because it is.
How has Camp Transformation been navigating the Pandemic?
This was something that put everybody to the test. It was a shock to our system, which is centered on being in our Camps, working together, and having this community to support each other. We really had to think fast.
How do we move that dynamic online? How can we keep that community intact and give our Members the same level commitment that we would give them if they were in our Camps?
That’s why we created a Community Comeback Facebook Page, where we did daily exercises live, AM and PM. We developed a line of programming that included healthy cooking shows, weekly motivational speakers, and happy hours where our team members would just come on and talk about what’s going on. How are they handling the pandemic? How is everybody staying upbeat?
As you know, positive mental attitudes are difficult to maintain in a pandemic. There’s a lot of negativity. That’s why it’s important for us to look beyond just the workout. For us, the focus is on helping our Members maintain their spirits, to look towards a better future.
Adaptation and Innovation
How is the Reopening going?
Thankfully, we’ve been able to open most of our locations. Our plan of action focuses on creating a clean and healthy environment for our Members. That means health screenings at Reception, aggressive and thorough Center cleanings between every single class, and plenty of signage to help our Members follow the new guidelines.
Currently, some of our locations can only work out outdoors. As a result, we’ve adapted many of our programs to fit that model, which allows locations to remain open while maintaining a focus on our Member’s health and safety.
Is there a part of this experience that has been inspiring to you?
I think the biggest thing is that it’s created a new bond between the Corporate Office and the Franchisees. I really appreciate the effort that we’ve collectively put in to make sure that our franchisees remain alive and their businesses are open.
And I think our Members really appreciated our role in their lives at this strange time. When everything was shut down and there was nothing for them to grasp onto, I think we gave them the hope that change is coming, for both themselves and the world. I think that level of care and involvement in our Members lives really speaks to the essence of the Camp Transformation brand. And I’m honored to be a part of that, every day.