Building a Brand for the Perfect Fitness Formula
When an expansion of service offerings calls for a brand expansion
Assembling the Elements
Element Fitness (then CrossFit RTR) is a Tuscaloosa-based gym offering CrossFit and X4, a HIIT program developed by Nexus Fitness out of Birmingham. At the time, CrossFit RTR had just made the decision to expand its service offering from solely CrossFit to include X4, and the gym needed to expand its brand to match the new, diverse fitness offering. CrossFit RTR needed a brand that still represented their long standing core values, commitment to community, and existing membership but also resonated with a new audience.
Because of our experience working with Nexus Fitness on their launch, this was a perfect partnership — our Knight Eady team understood their goals, challenges, audience and potential for future development with the new hybrid of fitness services. When we build brands at Knight Eady, we take into account more than good marks and color palettes. Every facet of the brand experience has to be cohesive, and a gym is a practical embodiment of this ideal.
CrossFit RTR didn’t want to lose the name ‘CrossFit RTR’ entirely; they had built a passionate CrossFit community and didn’t want to risk alienating their loyal clients, so the primary challenge in this rebrand was to find a new name for the company that would allow for growth opportunities without losing the things that had made them so successful.
All other extensions of the brand, such as the primary and secondary marks, color palette, website, etc., ultimately had to align with those goals.
The Game Plan
At Knight Eady, our belief is that a brand is not about reinventing who you are, but clarifying what you value, your brand experience and telling that story as clearly and consistently as possible. While we saw that CrossFit RTR needed a new name and marks to go with it, what we ultimately wanted to do was communicate their mission: to create a fitness experience that is accessible to all fitness levels and interests, one that offered several elements to help you achieve your individual fitness goals.
We also believe a brand should be forward-focused — it should allow for growth, not restrict it. The name “CrossFit RTR” has inherent limitations, both in services and location. So our goal was to create a cohesive visual identity under an overarching name that would allow for growth, whatever that meant for the brand.
The Perfect Fitness Formula
The cornerstone of this rebrand would be the name. We wanted to communicate something that was systematic in nature, flexible enough for growth but precise at every level.
We eventually arrived at Element Fitness.
The name emphasizes the idea of multiple components, precisely chosen and coming together to achieve individual fitness results. We like the scientific associations that come with the name because every service offered at Element Fitness is intentional, precise and defined.
Element Fitness gives the opportunity for the X4 and CrossFit RTR names to live on. Both exist as components of the larger system, allowing for a consistent brand without sacrificing familiarity. It gives opportunity for new services to be developed and avoids being too Tuscaloosa-focused to allow for future expansion to other markets.
It has been said that a brand is a promise. The promise made with the name “CrossFit RTR” is a premium CrossFit experience, but Element wanted to be more than that. They wanted a bigger promise.
The promise made with Element Fitness is to provide multiple, precisely-selected services that come together in a cohesive fitness experience. The marks we developed for Element Fitness evolved to make that promise at every step of the experience.
Another deliverable for Element Fitness was a new website. Their previous site met the narrower needs of a CrossFit-focused gym, embodying the CrossFit RTR spirit in its distressed, intense look full of Alabama athletics-themed imagery.
The website for Element Fitness needed to be broader to emphasize the cohesive system of services and to invite a broader audience to join. We amplified the scientific, precise nature of the brand through clean aesthetics and intentional simplicity.
Finally, we knew from experience that the brand needed to be extended into the interior gym aesthetic. The building is in a high traffic area and having a strong brand exterior was a focus for the gym. We provided assistance in designing the physical space and delivered a new library of photographs.