Marketing Campaign for Fitness, Gym, Martial Arts Academy: Part I - Branding - Pawel Kaczynski
Marketing Campaign Gold's Gym

Marketing Campaign for Fitness, Gym, Martial Arts Academy: Part I – Branding

This is 1st out of 6 articles devoted to building marketing campaign for your business whether it is local fitness club, competitive BJJ academy, CrossFit box or new chain of expensive gyms. All six articles will compose one, ready-to-use marketing campaign example guide that will give you step-by-step process of creating your own marketing strategy.

  1. Branding – What is brand? Why you need it? How to create your own brand?
  2. Data – Which marketing activities work and you should spend money on?
  3. Free Offline Marketing – examples of things you can do for free or almost free to promote place.
  4. Paid Offline Marketing  – what advertising forms bring return on investment?
  5. Free Online Marketing  – How to engage people around your brand with small or no money investment?
  6. Paid Online Marketing – Which tools you should choose? How to measure effectiveness?

 Why you should trust me?

First of all, I am Black Belt under Maciej and Mariusz Linke. I have been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for over 13 years now, so I had some time to observe how different academies promote themselves.

Secondly, my professional career was in marketing and advertising field. I used to work for network agency Ogilvy and FMCG corporation Procter & Gamble. To work on Fairy brand I had to pass 5 stage recruitment process where over 2500 other candidates applied. That gave me solid standards how big companies are doing advertising.

 Last but not least I left Procter & Gamble to open my own BJJ academy. During that time I’ve learnt the most about actionable promotion tactics. I’ve tried all by myself, so information I present here are 100% field-tested.

If you want to know more, you can read about me section.

Every marketing campaign starts with a brand

First of all – what is marketing campaign? It is not handing over flyers, nor giving out coupons. Marketing campaign is a long-term plan on how to tell people around you (in your neighborhood, city, country, etc.) you are doing awesome stuff, that is interesting for SOME of them. „Some” is crucial here. The worst you can say? „Services for everybody”. It means precisely nothing. The only thing all people have in common, is that all of us are unique and would like to be treated with special attention. This is where the brand comes in.

Brand is basically an abbreviation of everything you would like to say about your product with one word or symbol. If you hear Dolce & Gabana you don’t need to see the product to know it is luxurious, exclusive, expensive. They vouch for it. So instead of saying all those words you just use D&G.

You cannot start marketing campaign unless you know what your brand is like. To give you an example: there are two gyms. You might say: „Hey, gym is a gym. People come to train there, so it is all the same right?”. Well, no. There might be a hardcore old school bodybuilders gym with community (like Gold’s Gym used to be  in 60′ before Joe Gold sold it). There also might be a family oriented, casual gym. Those two are selling totally different service. Let’s take a look at two Planet Fitness and Iron Sports Gym response:

Our goal here is to create mind shortcut for your business. However before you do that, you need to understand what is your place like. What your brand is like. When you have that ready, you can move onto next step – collecting data and creating ads.

What is a brand – summary

The brand is „WHAT” you want to say. Advertisement is „HOW” you will say that. Example: if you want express love to a woman you can:

  • say: „I love you”
  • buy a big diamond ring
  • give a bouquet of roses

In this example LOVE is the brand, those 3 expressions are different forms of advertisement.  It up to you to decide which one sells your brand better. (HINT: data say a shiny ring works best in 95% cases)

Let’s make a brand!

Before we move on, watch this video.

Believe me, I’ve read tons of different guides, manuals and books from prominent authors. I have even read whole Kotler’s Marketing Managment” which is so-called „Marketing Bible”, huge 700 pages long book! I am not saying those things are worthless, but certainly they are complex. Simple is actionable; complex is paralyzing and error-prone.

So ask yourself 3 questions regarding your business. I will give you example how my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy brand has been planned:


Will to create a place that makes people overcome their limitations: obesity, shyness, lack of self-esteem – whatever they might be.


Through regime in the gym and friendship among members.


Martial arts academy focused on BJJ, but also with Muay Thai and Wrestling classes and plans to eventually expand through gym and physiotherapy services.

One word summary

Order, Brotherhood

All it takes is 3 sentences and one word to understand your brand. This helps to answer all of the business questions, for example which services we could introduce:

  • Elderly classes? Probably not.
  • Children classes? It may fit, especially that some of members probably have kids. It can be BJJ for kids, Muay Thai for kids and so on.
  • Zumba? Hell no!
  • Judo? Yes, obviously it is a service consistent with the brand.

We have a brand. Let’s start a marketing campaign!

Once you have your brand on paper you can design visual brand identity. I do not recommend doing it by yourself. Logotype stays with you for long, maybe a life-time, that’s why it should be done by professional who has expertise in this field.

Chaos Gold Team logo

Chaos Gold Team logo

Now we have all that is needed to create marketing campaign. Once again, brand description is our guide when choosing suitable advertising forms and messages. Based on Chaos Gold Team brand description above you can tell there are no flowers, happy ponies, nor pink color in our advertisements.  As I presented in video examples above Planet Fitness and Iron Sport Gym are both gyms. However they will use completely different language and arguments to reach their potential customers.

I will publish next part of marketing campaign guide in February. Sign up for reminder and I will send it to you mailbox.