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The founders of Fitwall, burgeoning vertical training fitness studios, realized they needed strategic communication to elevate its go-to-market plan, keep up with aggressive expansion goals, and accurately define and position the concept as a best-in-class workout with supreme technology.

In the very crowded fitness market everyone claims to offer the best experience in the world, so it was Stalwart Communications’ job to help demonstrate why Fitwall deserves that title.

The Strategy

The Pay-on-Performance Marketing and PR firm worked with Fitwall to bolster its corporate platform and executed a PR plan based on the positive changes it enables. The agency focused on three key points of differentiation; the studio itself, the workout/science and the technology to accurately define and position the fitness company for both a local and national audience. Fitwall had an immediate need for clientele called “athletes” in San Diego, as well as national attention to seed interest from potential investors who could drive growth.

Messaging was delivered through a mix of television segments, blog entries, print stories, magazine articles, etc. specifically targeting San Diego media, as well as national technology, business and fitness reporters. Stalwart Communications’ strategy helped give voice to Fitwall’s extraordinary and dynamic story of innovation and commitment to its members.

Local Audience

Fitwall’s first location is daringly situated on a street with a dozen different yoga studios and a couple pilates and yoga concepts in San Diego’s posh La Jolla neighborhood. In addition their are two giant gyms and a dozen more boutique-sized personal training studios within a three-block radius. 

Informal research unveiled key insights such as the public’s confusion about the concept. At first glance, it looks like one is surrounded by server racks in what feels like a modern and imaginative space at the biggest, buzziest startup of the moment. It’s throwback to the feeling when walking into an Apple Store for the first time, except instead of retail reimagined it’s where you’ll be working out for the next 40 minutes. The cashless environment has no front desk only an iPad to check-in.

Stalwart was able to capitalize on the intrigue by encouraging prospective members and reporters to visit the studio for a free preview and helped coordinate Fitwall’s visibility at events. The agency spread the studio’s “train smarter” moniker to celebrate themes of limitless innovation and responsiveness to members. Stalwart also had access to dynamic videos and photos to help Fitwall come alive for those without access to a studio. 

Results

Within the first month of Fitwall’s opening, Stalwart was able to secure several television segments on San Diego’s local NBC and Fox affiliates, San Diego Magazine and a story about how Fitwall was the number one way to get in shape for summer in the Union-Tribune, the area’s largest newspaper. One of the most noteworthy local stories was an NBC profile of Michael Johnston, a paralympic hopeful and Fitwall athlete. This drove an enviable amount of prospective members through the door to overwhelmingly positive response. The communication rapidly expanded Fitwall’s presence in San Diego with a second location able to open within six months.

National Audience

It’s no secret that the fitness world lacks innovation with rival companies ill-prepared for the onslaught of the digital age and specifically, quantified-self made popular by wearable devices such as Fitbit and Nike FuelBand.

Fitwall’s wearable heart monitors broadcast on iPads above every wall enhances and guides its smarter training experience. Fitwall constructed proprietary software to manage and monitor the customer experience from start to finish. Athletes put on a “peanut” that collects data in real-time. The data is used to tell several stories from athletes’ oxygen levels to heart rate recovery. Right away, an athletes’ workload and heart rate numbers are accessible online and on mobile devices so one can view a chart of the progression of your levels during each workout, or share sessions with friends. The system also has a gamification feature, where members at various studios can compete against one another.

Within the first month of Fitwall’s opening, Stalwart invited a San Diego-based CNET reporter with an affinity for CrossFit to preview the workout. The reporter said she likely wouldn’t cover the topic, but was intrigued. That intrigue led to the first national piece about Fitwall that incited global interest.

Results

Within three months of Fitwall’s opening, the concept was covered in CNET, Fast Company and Washington Post. It wouldn’t be the company’s first time in Fast Company, within a year of opening, Fitwall was named “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Fitness.” Additional examples of national placements include Entrepreneur, DETAILS, The Daily Mail and Refinery29. Seth Meyers also mentioned Fitwall in his NBC opening late night talk show monologue referring to the concept as a “prison library.”

The media coverage Stalwart Communications’ secured helped shape, define and identify potential innovation spaces that would eventually fuel expansion to franchisees and consumers across the globe. The brand awareness also helped attract passionate stakeholders including one of the co-founders of Skechers who made a sizable investment and accepted a position on Fitwall’s board. 


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