Fighters Hive is a mixed martial arts gym in West Lothian, offering training for amateur fighters and athletes as well as mums, kids and everyone in between wishing to get fit or learn self-defence.
Can a 'fighting' gym appeal to the ‘everyday’ individual who is just keen to get fit and learn a martial art? First impressions are one of the most important aspects to any business and with this business, it was important to overcome the possible preconception that this gym wasn’t suitable for everyone.
A strategic rebrand - logo, messaging, apparel, website and video that is unique, inviting and represents the atmosphere and personality of the gym and its clientele.
In the past, the majority of the students attending the gym were male, under 30 and either amateur fighters or looking to go semi-professional. There were some students who were there just to train and attended classes as a hobby. However, there was still a slight divide in how serious some took the training over others. This reversed over time and the client now has more ‘hobbyist’ students and students of various ages and gender. The addition of kids classes brought in more families to the gym and has added to the welcoming and inclusive feeling of the gym.
The client wanted an even greater mix of students and wanted everyone to feel welcome no matter their background or experience in martial arts. The client had noticed that numbers had not increased in a while and it was clear to me that the problem lay in the overall brand of the gym and the initial first impression that brand gave. The first impression given by the existing brand did not reflect the atmosphere of the gym or the mix of students.
The logo is harsh and targeted towards MMA fans/fighters. It feels sharp and dangerous.
The photos were very focussed on the fighters and their accomplishments.
The existing site was not responsive, it used grungy textures, stock photography and felt very industrial.
Felt quite cheap and reflected the MMA style of the logo.
The client’s vision was to have a more inclusive gym that brought in people who share similar values and goals. The client said at the outset of the project that if he could
"get people who would normally be nervous or intimidated to come into the gym and experience at least one class, then the project will have been a success."
During various meetings with the client, I gathered as much information about his background, goals for the business and his customer base. I took notes on his view of the gym and its atmosphere. 'Welcoming', 'friendly' and 'family' were words used to describe the gym when I spoke to some of the students. Below, I have shown some of the notes collected as well as a moodboard I created to gather ideas for the logo design and brand attributes.
Another source of income for the client is through the sale of t-shirts, hoodies and patches. This does two things; it helps to gain brand exposure when the students wear the clothing out in public and it also makes them feel connected to the gym/feel part of a tribe.
I spent several weeks attending the classes at the gym, gathering photos and videos. Spending time capturing imagery, watching the students train and watching the client teach and interact with the students was invaluable in understanding the customer base and the gym. I edited both the photos and videos collected for use on the website, as well as social media.
One of the main focus points of the project was to update the website. A one page website was all that was required here so I broke down the site into its main sections that a user would need. About, Memberships, Class Timetable and Contact information. I also created a section for uploading the latest news articles which would also help with SEO.
The photographs and videos were also used on social media where the client does the majority of his advertising and communication with his students.
The client was extremely pleased with the work created and feels he has a more cohesive brand identity. The logo is simple but unique and the client described it as "timeless". There was immediately an increase in new members which has averaged out over time. My suggestion now for the client is to continue to produce content and market the brand through social media and continue growing the exposure.
Views in one month and an engaement of 384
The average hits per month the website receives.
There has been an increase in new students on average each month.
Increase in sales of the apparel and patches.