If you own a health and fitness brand or have a great idea for one now is the time to consider how your brand story can include making a contribution in the world.
Let’s look at how a brand can make a profit at the same time as contributing to a particular charitable cause.
Fitness is bigger business now than ever before. Gym membership in the UK has increased approximately 4% year on year from 2015 to 2018. The UK industry is worth a staggering £4.9 billion (according to The 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report). That is an increase of £0.6 billion since 2015 and, with that growth likely to increase in the coming years of data driven health and fitness, it’s the industry to be in.
Fitness apparel, for example, is no longer just about the big names. Small boutique brands are appearing – each with their own unique take on what looks and feels good in the gym.
Beyond style, functionality and quality (which should be givens for every brand) – what is there to help a consumer choose one over the other? The answer lies in choosing to prioritise social responsibility in your brand.
The fitness industry has traditionally had strong links with charity. For example, the Virgin Money London Marathon is the world’s largest one-day fundraising event. Over 75% of the 40,000+ runners who participated in 2018 raised money for charity.
In the UK every year there are approximately 807,000 running events. There are 100,000 members of British Cycling and over 140,000 active triathletes running, swimming and cycling. So, with such large numbers of keen people willing to push their limits in the name of doing good, why are the fitness brands not living up to this generous giving mentality?
The answer is, of course, profit. They are there to make money. And that’s exactly where they are missing the point. Doing good is also good for your bottom line.
Examples of profitable companies, in a variety of sectors, making a contribution to the world include:
- FIGS – Provide medical scrubs and other clothing, whilst donating thousands of scrubs to medical projects around the world
- TOMS – For every pair of TOMS shoes brought, they provide a pair of shoes to someone in need
- S’WELL – Providing sustainable water bottles and coolers that support UNICEFs water projects
- ASUNO – Providing premium quality fitness and yoga clothing that supports charitable actions with every purchase
- SOAPBOX – A one-for-one model donating soap bars for good health and sanitation with every product purchased
- VITAE LONDON – Each watch purchased supplies a child with two sets of a school uniform, a bag and footwear to see them through the year in Africa
As these companies show, doing good is good for business. As so many fitness fans are also keen charity fundraisers it makes perfect economic sense to combine the two if your brand is in this space.
There are a variety of ways of approaches and you need to find the one which suits your business model, internal resources, and target market best:
- Donate a percentage of your profits. Every penny helps when it comes to charity, and if you are rocking a healthy turnover then even 1% contribution will make a huge impact.
- Partner with a charity. Support a charity directly with co-branding and awareness campaigns; keep your profits but co-advertise to bring more awareness for your charity partner. Make it easy for your customers to donate, promote the charity on your website, social media and in your newsletters.
- Empower your employees. Support and sponsor employee fundraising days, put on an event, get your employees family and friends involved. Target your employees that are most passionate at volunteering.
- Buy one, give one. Adopt this into your business model. Do you have a product that could help others? Support a cause that compliments your product and donate one for one.
- Sponsor events. Becoming a corporate sponsor for an event is not only a huge help to the charity, it provides your company with a great advertising opportunity.
- Develop your story. Customers want to know the story, envelope themselves in the cause and believe that your company is seriously in it to do good, build your brand story to tell them.
All of these options show your brand’s commitment to social responsibility by helping those in need.
Don’t just focus on profit. Your brand will be even more successful when you are part of something bigger.
About the author
Ben Moreland is co-founder of Asuno, a Manchester-based fitness and yoga clothing brand passionate about making an impact on the world. Using the city as inspiration, the team design beautiful, premium quality, functional fitness clothing that saves lives. Every item in the range is linked to an individual charity and each purchase provides a specific contribution, from helping to alleviate hunger to providing access to water and helping children build an identity.
- 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon: The Runners’ Stories – https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
- 2018 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report – http://www.leisuredb.com
- 2016 – More people are taking part in endurance sport than ever before – https://www.sports-insight.co.uk/trends-features/