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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Consumer culture: Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
There’s been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months

The coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and aftermath have given human behaviourists new insights into global consumer behaviour,” said Ken Hughes.

“For fitness business owners, this is an important time in your working life because there’s been a lot of disruption and everything has changed quickly.

“If you stand still, you’ll be moving backwards. When everything stops, the winners move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months.”

Predict and prepare
“The captive economy, with consumers in lockdown, is unique,” he said. “It’s global and spans all ages, beliefs, languages and locations.

“You need to appreciate consumers’ concerns and anxieties. Data from YouGov shows only a proportion of people will feel comfortable with the idea of going back to the gym.

“Understand what they want, need, and expect during recovery, and you will thrive,” he said.

Action now
“Consumers are rethinking what is important,” said Hughes – “make sure you’re one of the things they need, rather than one they can do without.
“Devise a strategy and start investing in key stages: the next six weeks, the next six months, and the next two years.

“Understand the strong desire for human connection and you can grow the business more than you ever thought possible. 2021 could be a significant year for your business.”

#1 Attachment

• The current situation offers you a shortcut to building lifelong brand loyalty. When people are scared, sad, and lonely they naturally want to attach themselves to someone or something that offers stability and security.

• Make sure your business is the one they go to for help. That attachment will last far longer than the pandemic.

ACTION POINT: Think about how you can be there for them as a positive influence, give them ways to attach to your brand emotionally as a way to soothe their worries about fitness, health, nutrition and wellness.
#2 Freedom

• Freedom is important to us and has suddenly been taken away for the foreseeable future.

• This overnight loss of freedom and choice has significant emotional and mental ramifications, leaving consumers in a cycle of grief. You need to understand which phase your customers are in.

• Customer experience will be more important than ever, so multiply your efforts by 10. Customers want their freedom back and your brand, business and team need to be that point of human connection, giving them solutions that reinstate freedom and choice.

ACTION POINT: Give customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control.
#3 Autonomy

• People feel safe when they know what’s going to happen. The pandemic has removed this sense of autonomy. Your customers can’t see what’s coming, and don’t know when it’s going to end.

• Two of their main environments – home and work – have collided, and many are locked in.

• People desperately want to get a sense of control and autonomy back over key areas of life. One of these areas is fitness and health. This gives you a huge opportunity if you get the conversation right.

ACTION POINT: Make customers feel involved, allow them to feel in control, make your services flexible so they can choose.
#4 Community

• Community has always been a key value for health and fitness brands. It’s now time to leverage this to strengthen the retention of existing customers.

• Humans need connection. Your customers are missing people during shutdown. Your gym gave them one of their tribes to belong to.

• You need to reinforce the relationship between your business and your customers, and capture those moments of community and connection.

• During this challenging time, don’t forget to build connections and emotional links.

• People need to feel that they are part of your community.

ACTION POINT: Write a list of things you’ve done to make your community feel special – you urgently need to contribute to community connection and keep this going.
#5 Digital

• Digital has always been a business advantage, and now it will be pure survival. Don’t fear digital. Create a ‘phygital’ business, where the physical and the digital combine to offer consumers what they need.

• Consumers are getting used to having digital experiences. You need to digitise your business to thrive during the pandemic and beyond. The gym and your other physical assets are the core of your business. But have that as the hub, with digital strands.

• The gym is not your product. Customer wellness is and delivering on their wellness is your solution. You need to be active in every part of what they need.

• Digital has destroyed some direct-to-consumer industries. Don’t let that happen to the physical activity sector. Make sure you’re crucial, so consumers can’t bypass you. Consider hiring equipment or sourcing it for customers to buy. Sell nutrition and supplements. Create a community. Give value. Link everything back to your facility.

ACTION POINT: Reshape your business by adding digital assets. Use it to build a community, strong social media, virtual home workouts, personalised online assets and anything else your customers need.
#6 Health

• Health has always been an important value, but the pandemic has skyrocketed it to the top of many people’s lists.

• Many are now interfacing with fitness for the first time, or returning to it because of this new drive. This creates a great opportunity for you to interact with 100 per cent of the population.

• Give advice, present solutions, show them what they need to do.

• When this is over, people will want more opportunities for health and fitness, but some fears and anxieties will remain. People will want to be healthy to protect themselves from illness.

• Start thinking of your business as part of a health solution, offering ways to keep people well and prevent illness. Use this health-based messaging in your communications and social media. People will want to attach themselves to health-focused businesses.

ACTION POINT: Think about how to amplify positive health attitudes and consumers’ need for health in fitness.

Watch the Technogym webinar from futurist Ken Hughes here:
HCMmag.com/KenHughes

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The gym is not your product.
Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
The gym is not your product. Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/561663_207424.jpg
'There's been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months' – Ken Hughes shares vital insights on navigating the new consumer landscape
Ken Hughes, Technogym,Consumer behaviour, fitness industry,
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The fitness sector has an unprecedented opportunity to become a credible partner in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the nation, says Mosaic Group MD and new chair of the UK Active Membership Council. He talks to Kate Cracknell
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Write to reply
Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
HCM Magazine
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As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Whole body cryotherapy
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Management software
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On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
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Sothys: Skincare
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Consumer culture: Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
There’s been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months

The coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and aftermath have given human behaviourists new insights into global consumer behaviour,” said Ken Hughes.

“For fitness business owners, this is an important time in your working life because there’s been a lot of disruption and everything has changed quickly.

“If you stand still, you’ll be moving backwards. When everything stops, the winners move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months.”

Predict and prepare
“The captive economy, with consumers in lockdown, is unique,” he said. “It’s global and spans all ages, beliefs, languages and locations.

“You need to appreciate consumers’ concerns and anxieties. Data from YouGov shows only a proportion of people will feel comfortable with the idea of going back to the gym.

“Understand what they want, need, and expect during recovery, and you will thrive,” he said.

Action now
“Consumers are rethinking what is important,” said Hughes – “make sure you’re one of the things they need, rather than one they can do without.
“Devise a strategy and start investing in key stages: the next six weeks, the next six months, and the next two years.

“Understand the strong desire for human connection and you can grow the business more than you ever thought possible. 2021 could be a significant year for your business.”

#1 Attachment

• The current situation offers you a shortcut to building lifelong brand loyalty. When people are scared, sad, and lonely they naturally want to attach themselves to someone or something that offers stability and security.

• Make sure your business is the one they go to for help. That attachment will last far longer than the pandemic.

ACTION POINT: Think about how you can be there for them as a positive influence, give them ways to attach to your brand emotionally as a way to soothe their worries about fitness, health, nutrition and wellness.
#2 Freedom

• Freedom is important to us and has suddenly been taken away for the foreseeable future.

• This overnight loss of freedom and choice has significant emotional and mental ramifications, leaving consumers in a cycle of grief. You need to understand which phase your customers are in.

• Customer experience will be more important than ever, so multiply your efforts by 10. Customers want their freedom back and your brand, business and team need to be that point of human connection, giving them solutions that reinstate freedom and choice.

ACTION POINT: Give customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control.
#3 Autonomy

• People feel safe when they know what’s going to happen. The pandemic has removed this sense of autonomy. Your customers can’t see what’s coming, and don’t know when it’s going to end.

• Two of their main environments – home and work – have collided, and many are locked in.

• People desperately want to get a sense of control and autonomy back over key areas of life. One of these areas is fitness and health. This gives you a huge opportunity if you get the conversation right.

ACTION POINT: Make customers feel involved, allow them to feel in control, make your services flexible so they can choose.
#4 Community

• Community has always been a key value for health and fitness brands. It’s now time to leverage this to strengthen the retention of existing customers.

• Humans need connection. Your customers are missing people during shutdown. Your gym gave them one of their tribes to belong to.

• You need to reinforce the relationship between your business and your customers, and capture those moments of community and connection.

• During this challenging time, don’t forget to build connections and emotional links.

• People need to feel that they are part of your community.

ACTION POINT: Write a list of things you’ve done to make your community feel special – you urgently need to contribute to community connection and keep this going.
#5 Digital

• Digital has always been a business advantage, and now it will be pure survival. Don’t fear digital. Create a ‘phygital’ business, where the physical and the digital combine to offer consumers what they need.

• Consumers are getting used to having digital experiences. You need to digitise your business to thrive during the pandemic and beyond. The gym and your other physical assets are the core of your business. But have that as the hub, with digital strands.

• The gym is not your product. Customer wellness is and delivering on their wellness is your solution. You need to be active in every part of what they need.

• Digital has destroyed some direct-to-consumer industries. Don’t let that happen to the physical activity sector. Make sure you’re crucial, so consumers can’t bypass you. Consider hiring equipment or sourcing it for customers to buy. Sell nutrition and supplements. Create a community. Give value. Link everything back to your facility.

ACTION POINT: Reshape your business by adding digital assets. Use it to build a community, strong social media, virtual home workouts, personalised online assets and anything else your customers need.
#6 Health

• Health has always been an important value, but the pandemic has skyrocketed it to the top of many people’s lists.

• Many are now interfacing with fitness for the first time, or returning to it because of this new drive. This creates a great opportunity for you to interact with 100 per cent of the population.

• Give advice, present solutions, show them what they need to do.

• When this is over, people will want more opportunities for health and fitness, but some fears and anxieties will remain. People will want to be healthy to protect themselves from illness.

• Start thinking of your business as part of a health solution, offering ways to keep people well and prevent illness. Use this health-based messaging in your communications and social media. People will want to attach themselves to health-focused businesses.

ACTION POINT: Think about how to amplify positive health attitudes and consumers’ need for health in fitness.

Watch the Technogym webinar from futurist Ken Hughes here:
HCMmag.com/KenHughes

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The gym is not your product.
Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
The gym is not your product. Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/561663_207424.jpg
'There's been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months' – Ken Hughes shares vital insights on navigating the new consumer landscape
Ken Hughes, Technogym,Consumer behaviour, fitness industry,
Latest News
Music service provider Rehegoo (pronounced Reh-air-go) has launched a streaming service for health clubs, gyms, ...
Latest News
F45 has launched a corporate partnership programme which will enable businesses to open an F45 ...
Latest News
A two-year research project will look to find ways to transform the UK's physical activity ...
Latest News
The best in the business from across the physical activity sector were honoured last night ...
Latest News
At UK Active’s Active Uprising event yesterday (30 June) in Birmingham, Hattie Jones, the head ...
Latest News
HCM understands researchers are moving closer to creating a pill to mimic some of the ...
Latest News
Establishing new data and insight services and strengthening relationships with both government and the NHS ...
Latest News
More than one in five (27 per cent) Americans belonged to a health club or ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: It’s nearly time for Elevate 2022!
It’s now just days to go until your leading trade show for the fitness, physical activity and sports therapy industry kicks off in London!
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: How wearables-driven gamification will boost your business
It’s a known fact that gamification is an effective method to make everyday activities and work more fun.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active to launch new exercise classes to reduce gender gap
As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New partnership delivers swimming support to children with disabilities
A new partnership has been launched to provide inclusive swimming for children with mobility, visual and hearing disabilities.
Company profiles
Company profile: YOUR Personal Training
YOUR Personal Training is the UK’s largest and most successful PT Management company, offering a ...
Company profiles
Company profile: ServiceSport (UK) Ltd
ServiceSport (UK) Ltd specialises in maintaining, servicing and re-manufacturing all brands of cardiovascular and resistance ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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