How every fitness brand can make more money by doing more good.  By Ben Moreland, Asuno

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Every health and fitness brand has the opportunity to do good in the world – and boost their own profits at the same time. So, why are so many failing to do so? What do they need to do to change this?

Fitness is bigger business now than it has ever been before, gym memberships have grown approximately 4% year on year from 2015 to 2018 in the UK, with the UK industry itself worth a staggering £4.9bn as of a 2018 study. That is an increase of £0.6bn since 2015, and with that growth looking to do anything but increase in the coming years of data driven health and fitness, it’s the industry to be part of.

Fitness apparel 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. But many are struggling to stand out in an ever-more crowded market place. What really separates them for their competition? 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 and more than 75 per cent of the 40,000+ runners who participated in 2018 raised money for charity. In the 37 years of the event over £890+ million has been raised for good causes.

With an estimated 807,000 running events, 100,000 event participating cyclists and over 140,000 competing triathletes yearly, the UK is anything but lazy when it comes to pushing our physical and mental limits. So, with a huge chunk of these keen people willing to push their limits in the name of doing good, why is the clothing they wear not living up to this generous giving mentality?

The answer is, of course, profit. Companies that are ‘for-profit’ tend to put their revenue over social good. 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.

Here are just a few companies, in a variety of sectors, that are nailing the bottom line revenue and having a huge impact on world in the process:

  • BOMBAS SOCK – working on the one-for-one model, Bombas donate a pair of socks for every pair purchased
  • S’WELL – Providing sustainable water bottles and coolers that support UNICEFs water projects
  • TOMS – For every pair of TOMS shoes brought, they provide a pair of shoes to someone in need
  • CH2OOSE – Eco-friendly non-plastic bottled water that gives all of their profits to Water For Africa
  • ONE WORLD PLAY PRODUCT – Donate 5% of the sale price to providing their product FutBols to communities in need
  • 1:FACE WATCH – Supporting numerous charities through the sale of their watch
  • ASUNO – Providing premium quality fitness and yoga clothing that supports charitable actions with every purchase
  • 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

 

These companies prove that doing good is good for business. And since so many fitness fans are also keen charity fundraisers – it makes perfect economic sense to combine the two.

So, if you are launching a new fitness brand, or wanting to grow your fitness business – consider linking it with a charitable aim.  You can do this in a variety of ways – whatever suits your business model, internal resources, and target market the best:

  1. Donate a percentage of your profits – 1%, 5%, 10%… 50%, there is no correct figure, every little helps when it comes to charity, and if you are rocking a healthy turnover then even 1% will make a huge impact.
  1. Charity partners – support a charity directly with co-branding and awareness campaigns, keep your profits but co-advertise to bring more awareness for your charity partner. Tell your customers about the charity and make it easy for them to donate, promote the charity on your website, social media and in your newsletters.
  1. Sponsor events – become a corporate sponsor for an event, this is not only a huge help to the charity, it provides your company with a great advertising opportunity.
  1. Buy one, give one – invoke this ethos 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Build your story – long gone are the days that customers took charity on face value, they 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 not only help those in need but will also boost your brand’s social responsibility.

According to the 2018 State Of The UK Fitness Industry Report (http://www.leisuredb.com) the UK fitness industry is currently worth £4.9bn, with 9.9m gym members nationwide and 7,038 gyms helping people get fitter. That is 1 in every 7 people attending a gym or fitness class.  It’s also 9.9m people buying fitness clothing – meaning a huge potential for the fitness community to make money and change millions of lives across the world at the same time.

Let’s look at the numbers; if we assume the average gym outfit is £30, and we have 9.9m enthusiastic people purchasing one outfit a year (more like five, I know, but let’s take worst case scenario), then we have £297m spent on fitness apparel every year in the UK. This shows us; a) if brands were to donate 1% of total sale prices, that would free up £2.97m for projects in need around the world every year, and b) if making that small donation enabled you to grab even just another 1% of the apparel market, it would make a massive difference to your bottom line.

So, if you’re looking to build your fitness apparel brand and boost your profits, stop looking only at what’s in it for you – and take a look at the good you can do in the world. Charity can pay dividends, when are you going to collect yours?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

How every fitness brand can make more money by doing more good.  By Ben Moreland, Asuno

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 action from alleviating hunger to providing access to water and helping children build an identity.

Web: www.asuno-uk.com

Instagram: @asuno.uk

Facebook: /asuno.uk

Indiegogo Community Crowdfunding: https://bit.ly/2FDtqNb

Citations: 

2018 Virgin Money London Marathon: The Runners’ Stories – https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

2018 STATE OF THE UK FITNESS INDUSTRY REPORThttp://www.leisuredb.com

2016 – More people are taking part in endurance sport than ever before – https://www.sports-insight.co.uk/trends-features/

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