Creating a Lifestyle Brand

At a recent conference, I heard a presenter predict that a trend of the future in the fitness industry is lifestyle branding. What does lifestyle branding mean, anyway? A lifestyle brand is when a business transcends being a commodity (just something you buy) and becomes more a part of your life. This means that you (your brand) needs to embrace and represent the things that are important to the lives of your clients.


Harley Davidson is not just a bike, it’s a lifestyle.

Of course, you need to dig into your clients’ life to discover what it is that they love to do, how they like to think of themselves, and what else is meaningful to them. In example, Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) offers apparel and riding gear, organizes rallies of owners, have a Mileage Recognition Program where members add up the miles they ride on their bikes (because “The miles you ride show your dedication to freedom and the open road.”), share members’ stories, and more. It is how owners like to identify themselves.


Mark Fisher Fitness is not afraid to make a statement about who they are.

One fitness brand that speaks to its tribe is Mark Fisher Fitness (MFF). It says it all on the home page of its website, “Serious fitness for ridiculous humans.” and “Yep. We don’t love gyms either. That’s why we created an Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams. Why be a gym member, when you can be a Ninja?” MFF’s fun, light-hearted approach has created a following that includes the outrageous and unicorn wannabes with the permission to be as free as they want. Now, maybe you don’t relate to MFF, but that’s the point. They aren’t trying to be for everyone. They only want individuals that really connect to what they are all about.

How are you crossing over into your members’/clients’ lives? Are you taking a stand on the ideals important to them? Are you creating opportunities to connect with them and to connect them with other members of your community? Take a leap and be more than a product. Show them who you are and what you’re all about. They want to know that you’re one of them, a kindred spirit, and that they have found a home with you.



My Profile Picture, My Brand

Your brand, as a personal trainer and fitness professional, is what people think about you. Their perception of you and your business, is created by everything you do and all of the content you put out. This includes all of your social media posts and even your profile picture.

trainer quad

I admit that I’m going on a little bit of a rant here, but, I think I need to at least make you aware of the issue. I would bet that at least half of the personal trainers out there use some kind of self body shot for their profile picture. I’m sure that the prevailing thought is that, “I worked hard, got into great shape, and I want people to know that I can do that for them.” Well…. yea for you. No, seriously, congratulations. However, I have a couple of issues with your posting that picture.

  1. You are perpetuating the idea that if you look good, you must know what you’re doing. We all should be able to admit that we know that’s not true. So, why play into that illusion.
  2. As much as you think you are attracting clients by showing off your body, you are intimidating many potential clients as well. The more you show off your perfect or near perfect body, the worse “normal” people feel about their own.
  3. Body shots, in general, also make it very difficult to make out your facial features and, when clients and/or potential clients are trying to connect with you, you want to make it easy for them to recognize you. (This is the same reason that you shouldn’t use a picture of your dog as your profile pic.)

marknuttingc.jpgSo, what is the best profile picture? In my humble opinion, I would choose a tightly cropped headshot, professionally taken (or at least very clear), that portrays what you want your brand to be. Choose a warm and welcoming headshot that gives the air of professionalism and makes it easy to know that it is, indeed, you.