Marketing muscles Featured

7:00pm EDT January 31, 2007

Name recognition is critical to a company’s success, and having Arnold Schwarzenegger associated with your company certainly helps increase the odds that people know its name.

At Global Fitness Holdings LLC, growing that name and brand recognition is the task Royce Pulliam faces every time the company opens a Gold’s Gym in a new market. “If you took a look at our industry, on a global picture, and you took one out of every 10 people who are familiar with fitness and you did a brand awareness test, Gold’s Gym wins by 70 percent brand recognition,” says the CEO and founder of Global Fitness Holdings, which owns the Gold’s Gym franchising rights for Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Pulliam will be spreading the gym’s recognition through its new location slated to open early this year at Westlake’s Crocker Park and at future spots in Rocky River and Legacy Village. “Typically, when we go in and do marketing, we have a really professionally designed component trailer,” he says. “It’s kind of a modular. We’ll have the public come in during construction, four months out from opening, and we’ll do this big blitz. We’ll let people know that we are coming, and this is what we do.”

Although Gold’s association with Schwarzenegger may conjure up certain images about the gym’s customers, Pulliam markets his franchises as a family-oriented place to exercise. “There’s much more awareness on fitness for kids and child obesity,” he says. “People are paying a lot more attention to that, especially at the club level. We’re adding a lot more programs and equipment to become more of a full-service solution for all the families. “There’s a lot of glitz and glamour and amenities for people, a lot of energy and high-tech stuff to keep it fresh,” he says.

As the number of locations grows, Pulliam believes in studying each location carefully before and during the negotiation process. “We do a lot of diligence,” he says. “We investigate and spend a lot of time on every site and through demographic studies. It’s endless, time and time again, until we buy property.”

While it’s important to stay true to your business model, Pulliam says it is also all right to step a little outside the box.

“We’ve done some projects where we’ve tied in retail, an office component, some mixed-use instead of a stand-alone gym,” he says.

Pulliam says management should never be so confident in a company’s success that it forgets the basics. To continue to have a strong brand in any market or business, no matter what you do, you make a marketing and advertising budget a priority, he says. “Keep the brand out there and keep it fresh and have new promotions tied to it,” he says. “I don’t think we step back and smell the roses. When you are growing your company, it’s not time to pat yourself on the back.”

HOW TO REACH: Global Fitness Holdings, (859) 281-5110