The gym brand that is shaking up its industry. Norwegian concept Evo is conquering Europe with its smart approach to fitness clubs.
In our new Brand Profile Series, we take a close look at surging brands across the world. For this first article of the series, we take you into the world of fitness and introduce you to a Norwegian gym concept that is taking Europe by storm. Happy reading.
The gym market is getting crowded
The first thing you note when you enter is the complete absence of staff. Here at Evo Fitness, there is no reception area with a tanned bodybuilder and also no constraining opening hours nor binding contracts. On the street of fitness clubs, Evo is the new kid on the block and the one to fear. Since its first Swiss opening in March 2015, the company already operates six clubs from Geneva to Zurich and is looking at expanding in Germany and Austria. The fitness market is undergoing important changes in central Europe, such as an increase in supply (Geneva itself welcomed 9 new clubs last year), competition from fitness apps such as Freeletics, and evolving customer expectations put fitness club operators under pressure.
Everything you need in a gym, nothing you don’t
To seduce customers spoiled by choices, Evo Fitness counts on its “affordable luxury” strategy. It scrapes off all the extra services of traditional fitness clubs such as sauna, group class, towel services, and juice bar to focus on interior design and smooth customer experience. New-York style brick walls, impeccable definitions, and dimmed lights give Evo clubs a very upper-class look. Evo is a “boutique convenience concept,” says Doron Dickman, General Manager of Holmes Place Germany (the licensing partner of Evo for most EU countries).
Open space design and high-tech
Evo challenges the traditional binary split between cardio and musculation equipments. Instead, Evo’s clubs are big open spaces with multiple zones cleverly delimited by changes in flooring. The layout encourages movement across the different zones to train all the body parts. The lockers are installed directly in the training room to minimize the space usage of the changing rooms. The visual identity of Evo also demonstrates attention to detail. The minimal monocolour theme is consistent across all the brand touchpoints, from website to club signage. Technology is seamlessly integrated in the concept. “Everything is online except the training itself,” proudly says one of the club staff members. The enter sign-up process is web-based and one enters all the clubs with an RFD wrist brand.
5mn to join, 2mn to leave
Goodbye registration fees and automatically renewable contracts. Evo offers a fixed monthly membership (CHF69 in Switzerland and EUR59 in Germany), and the possibility to opt-out at any time. This transparency in pricing is likely to appeal to urban nomads and millennials who value flexibility over commitment. The editorial line of Evo’s blog is in line with its target audience too. Avoiding the self-promoting trap, the blog covers the different aspects of healthy living with topics ranging from training advice to the benefits of meditation.
Where could Evo go next?
In our view, Evo has the potential to be not just a “smart fitness club” but a true well-being brand with an aspirational value. Yet today the brand story remains Evo’s Achilles heel.
The current narrative that speaks about “reconnecting ourselves with our natural environment” seems a bit out of place for its urban chic clubs. Shifting its confused brand story to a more pragmatic one focused on healthy urban lifestyle could make Evo more relevant to its current and future customers and foster a true fan community. With a stronger and more definite brand story, Evo could easily extend its brand experience through new products and services, be that in the fields of personal training, nutrition, fashion, or even travel.
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