WNiF Magazine - Winter 2019 Edition | Page 36

Design matters — jump-the-curve — 10X the competition differentiates your brand “exponentially” beyond competitors in your marketplace (exponentially simply meaning 10X better). In the late 1990’s global electronics manufacturers jostled for consumer market share over the MP3 player, a digital hand-held device that stored music files in digitized form. In early 2001 Apple released their brightly colored iPod devices and by the year 2009 generated $22 billion in iPod sales. The outcome resulted in a glut of obsolete MP3 players finding new homes on EBay and in the bottom of consumer’s desk drawers. Guy Kawasaki illustrates Apple’s approach to design, its philosophy if you will, as follows. “Apple believes that design matters” says Kawasaki, “Apple strives to jump-the-curve, to be 10X better than the competition” anything less he says “is better- sameness by Apple standards”. If gym developers would liberate their minds of the wired-gym- blueprints they falsely believe as self-evidently true (and stop building gyms that look like gyms 36 and boutique hotels) they would encounter immense blue-ocean opportunities which could catapult them to the forefronts of their marketplaces. expense. Yet they remain “gym-ified” as they are, two decades immersed, locked in better-sameness, in exhausting antiquated competition lanes, grinding on price, clawing back ROI, scanning retention figures, sparring at social media and ever-searching for the illusive lifetime-value proposition beyond their vision and reach. New Gutenburg Revolution Historically gym design was a low tier line-item requisite of low priority in the building a new gym brand. And historically the same blind spot, disregard for innovative “design- think” opened the flood-gates to the big-box gyms, the franchises, and now, the bespoke studios; all of the preceding embracing thoughtful design that resulted in the decimation of countless independent gyms which dismissed design as an ineffective low priority The Internet has democratised information, and in our case, democratised gym design is all the rage. That was then, and this is now, and low-and-behold, a new Gutenberg Revolution has joined the scrum. Design savvy fitness consumers voraciously consume social media platforms scrutinizing the latest and greatest in good design. Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, accompanied by broadcast media in the likes of HGTV, YouTube and Facebook. Aligned with printed lifestyle editorial all of these platforms coalesce in a design hierarchy of WHAT’S NEW IN FITNESS - WINTER 2019 which fitness consumers are now judge, jury and arbiters of acceptance. In order to arrest fitness consumer attention and move fitness consumers away from your competitor’s gyms (to yours) you must abandon the design-think of building a gym that looks like another gym or boutique hotel. 10X Gym Design Philosophy 10X gym design is done by embracing a conceptual design- think. You embark on a process of designing in exploratory terms. I argue the closer you get to an innovative, theatrical, Hollywood- esque gym environments, the greater the wedge you drive between the predictable gyms of your competitors and your own. I further believe that you should invest 80% of your construction budget in the design and build-out of your reception and locker rooms spaces — those spaces that will seduce prospects to buy into your brand during the presale tour. Finally, be fearless. There is no gym-glory to be won in building a facility that looks like other gyms in a fitness marketplace. If you want to dominate a fitness marketplace you do it by giving consumers unexpected, dramatic, entertaining fitness environments that motivate them to train and exercise. Not another gym or boutique hotel. Cuoco Black is a trusted and respected master fitness facility designer, gym brand architect and design academic. A former faculty member of the New York School of Interior Design, Black advocates for the development of conceptual and theatrical gym models that dominate consumer attention in any fitness marketplace. Promoting an ideal that fitness facilities must embrace design attributes which embrace luxury, telegraph fitness, motivate fitness consumers to exercise; and most importantly, amplify the brand. His work includes independent gyms, PT studios, women’s only facilities, residential fitness centres and franchise models. More at Instagram/GymDesigner. WHAT’S NEW IN FITNESS - WINTER 2019 37