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Fitness Will Never be the Same - Time to Focus on Your App

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Apr 14, 2020 6:16:58 PM

The last decade saw major transformations to the fitness industry, with an explosion of new digital fitness companies spurring the old guard to adopt digital engagement strategies. Yet even the most farsighted would likely concede that the future has arrived much quicker than expected. COVID-19 is already seen as a tipping point in the merging of fitness and digital. As discussed in our recent whitepaper, Content, Community and Technology: Digital ecosystems for fitness brands, fitness customers increasingly expect that all brands provide convenient, high-tech options for exercising remotely.

There has never been a more pressing need to get your content online. Our recommendations seek to balance this expediency against the considerations that can deliver long-term ROI to your business. At Feed.fm, we've found that there are five essential pillars of a unified digital fitness experience.

  1. Custom-built mobile apps
  2. Integration with wearable health-tracking devices
  3. Professional-quality video content and hosting
  4. Training content
  5. Music integration

This article focuses on the first pillar of digital fitness: Your mobile app.

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Topics: Apps, Customer Engagment, Fitness

Sweat Equity: Building Fitness Communities that Last

Posted by Lauren Pufpaf on Apr 10, 2020 1:58:40 PM

As discussed in our recent whitepaper, Content, Community and Technology: Digital ecosystems for fitness brands, the community aspect of digital fitness is key to building a sustainable fitness business. Factors including technological advances, more varied living arrangements, and decreasing participation in organized religion (especially for millennials), are driving people to create community in different ways than in the past.

For many, their fitness community plays an increasingly important role, helping to create connections, purpose, and accountability. Even when your customers aren’t in the same building, they should feel connected to your brand and part of something bigger than themselves. It’s not just about driving a stickier user experience, but building community that can foster deep relationships and help people reach their full potential.

At Feed.fm we work with fitness brands across the consumer landscape and we’ve seen a wide range of community-building strategies employed. To help get the gears turning on how you can implement features of your own, we’ve gathered 4 innovative and proven examples from companies that excel at promoting community.

1)  Strava - Though created primarily for cyclers as a way to document their biking miles, Strava has expanded their scope to “be the center of [exercisers’] active life. The popular app (more than 8 million activities are uploaded per day) has expanded from its commonly-known cycling & running footprint to court Peloton subscribers, rowers and other athletes, and former CEO James Quarles sees it more as a social network for fitness: “We think Strava plays a role for people not just when they’re recording an activity but before and after, right?” he says. “You can find routes, you can find groups to join, people to go with. Then, once you post the activity, you can talk about it, post photos, tag friends, and memorialize and relive the event.” Members say that being connected to cyclists of similar interests and abilities allows them to discover new routes, which helps keep them invigorated in their training routines.

2)  Studio - Billed as a “boutique fitness studio in your pocket”, the Studio app offers treadmill, outdoor running, strength training, and stretch workouts led by top trainers. Head instructor Lisa Niren had this to say about the prioritization of community: “Our members are the lifeblood of our company and community is central and integral to everything we do. I like to say that our fanatical member base is a mix of a little bit of luck and also a LOT of nurturing from the entire team. It is non-stop 24/7, but the most rewarding part of the job.” While it may seem obvious, the number one recommendation is being present and getting to truly know your members, which is a massive time commitment. Niren puts it succinctly: “I make it my personal goal, and the goal of everyone on my team, to be deeply rooted in our community and members. Caring, getting to know them, being present on social media & in Tribes is the key to our success and really making members feel at home when they are with us. Especially now, during a trying time, they come to us not just for physical fitness but also mental and emotional fitness, support and time away from everything else going on.

3)  Pharos Athletic Club in Los Angeles has achieved renown in a fitness-obsessed city for the strength of their community (the owners of other gyms regularly work out at the 20,000 square foot facility.) Three times a year, Pharos hosts a “Limitless Challenge,” in which members are grouped into teams coached by Pharos’ full-time Personal Trainers, take multiple group fitness classes together, receive one-on-one consults throughout the challenge and have their vital health stats (weight, lean body mass, body fat percentage, etc.) tracked on a weekly basis. Combining teams in a competition format creates a balanced environment that pushes participants while maintaining camaraderie, and all participants (there were more than 50 in the latest Limitless Challenge) celebrate with a group outing following the five-week competition. The latest Challenge, which ended in early March, resulted in 122 pounds of muscle gained and 331 pounds of fat lost. More recently, as Pharos (along with most gyms in Los Angeles) has temporarily shuttered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, its trainers have begun conducting multiple free classes daily via Instagram Live. In the words of Pieter Vodden, one of the club’s owners, Pharos was “started by community and it will survive by community.”

4)  Mirror - Described as a “Nearly
Invisible Interactive Home Gym,” Mirror is a unique piece of fitness hardware - it’s a mirror that hangs on the wall, but doubles as a wireless video screen through which you can participate in workouts remotely, both live and on demand, with top fitness trainers from across the country. The fast-growing startup has received a ton of buzz for its adoption amongst celebrities, and the community aspect of their workout is played up in every press mention - “everyone in the class can see the names and locations of the other people in the class, displayed as bubbles that pop up on the screen when they join.” Participants can also share injuries or questions with the instructors - who can’t see participants - anonymously, maintaining privacy while still allowing for a community feel. Instructors also have access to heart-rate data to ensure sufficient motivation and impact for each workout. Much of the community-building takes place on Instagram, and instructor Gerren Liles has even created his own sub community, Team 100, which is all about giving 100% of your effort every time you show up. Mirror engages with the community on social platforms to get to know them, then references users during live workouts, which brings the studio feel to a digital environment.

Whether you’re looking to build a community from scratch or make your member’s bonds stronger, there’s a lot of great inspiration available right now. To summarize, successful brands (physical and digital) recommend:

  • Offering ways to memorialize exercisers’ efforts and easy ways for them to connect post-activity;
  • Taking the time to get to know your community and be present for them on social media;
  • Bringing people together with common goals, celebrating the wins together; and
  • Referencing personal facts and user names during live digital classes to bring the studio feel to life.
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Topics: Apps, Customer Engagment, Fitness

Why Music Now? Top Reasons Your Fit Tech Company Cannot Afford to Wait

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Dec 11, 2019 6:24:40 PM

Feed.fm works with the world’s leading fitness companies to provide legal, curated music integration in their apps and digital settings. While each brand has unique considerations (development bandwidth, customer acquisition challenges, competitive pressures), we consistently hear from customers that "I wish we'd done this sooner."

From our vantage point of working across the fit tech sector, we can see there is a clear opportunity cost to waiting on music integration. So we tallied the Top Reasons for “Why Music Now?”

REASON #1 — Exerciser Impact

The world’s leading authority on fitness and music, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, has proven that music can improve running performance by 15%; it can be a sedative or a stimulant; a nerve calmer or focus inducer; a pre-workout entryway into flow state; a mood enhancer; and an agent that reduces perceived effort by up to 10%.

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Topics: Apps, Music streaming, Music as a Service, legal music, Customer Engagment, Fitness, Music for wellness

Customer Spotlight: How MoveWith is Reshaping Personal Fitness

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Apr 9, 2018 2:15:05 PM

In 2015, Holly Shelton left her career at Apple to start MoveWith, a digital fitness company that puts instructors front and center. A former ski racer, Shelton understands the motivational power of a great coach, and wanted to make it easier and cheaper for people to connect with the best fitness instructors working today. “For the MoveWith app to succeed, we knew it was essential to capture all the unique elements of our instructors’ classes, from verbal instructions to specific timing to custom music mixes,” says Shelton.

Feed.fm partnered with MoveWith to build out their music integration, handling all the licensing to ensure that Movers get the popular music they love and artists get paid. Our curation team worked closely with MoveWith and their instructors to create playlists that motivate across a wide variety of movement types—from treadmill to yoga.

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Topics: Apps, Feed.fm Blog, Music streaming, Music as a Service, legal music, Customer Engagment, Fitness

Top 7 Apps for Generation Z…and Why

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Feb 23, 2017 12:41:59 PM

Generation Z—those aged approximately 14 to 22 years old—is the first generation to grow up in a world where Google and free wifi are ubiquitous. While social media platforms have exploded in the past 5 years, we see teens less interested in broadcasting to a wide network and more focused on specialized messages. Anonymity, more freedom of self-expression and the ability to send specific messages to specific groups are the keys to success with the “curation generation.”

As Generation Z continues coming of age and flexing its consumer might, it’s increasingly clear that businesses and brands need to modify marketing and communications strategies to engage these young people where they’re at. A recent Business Insider report cited that teens spend about six hours a day on their smartphones.

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Topics: Apps, Feed.fm Blog

Going Beyond the Initial Hook: Creative Customer Retention Strategies

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Dec 13, 2016 8:15:31 PM

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for the bottom line. As retailers prepare for the final push of Q4, all of the usual sales drivers are carefully in place. Witness the festive store decorations and holiday music in malls across America, discounting galore, and omnichannel tactics to ensure customers have a consistent experience whether in store or online. But that’s not all: most bricks-and-clicks retailers are building engagement digitally through relevant offers, and increasingly pushing in-app messaging and exclusive offers and products. You may be one of them…

These days it’s not enough to just sell sell sell. Meeting your customers’ life-on-demand preferences is needed to stay relevant beyond the holidays. If you want to stand out from the competition and earn your customers’ long-term loyalty, consider the following unexpected ways to strengthen customer relationships:

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Topics: Apps, Feed.fm Blog, Music streaming, Retail, Music as a Service

How to Think in Stereo about Content Marketing

Posted by Eric Stensvaag on Nov 8, 2016 7:14:31 PM

In an age when content is king, individuals rely on a wide range of organizations—both media and non-media companies—to curate and help them navigate a high volume of information. Everyone seems to be getting into the content business, as it’s proven to create authentic engagement in a landscape where traditional ads get ignored.

While most organizations use content marketing these days, it’s notable that the majority of these do not think highly of their current programs. According to a recent Content Marketing Institute report, just 32% of B2B and 37% of B2C said their content marketing was either sophisticated or mature, so there is clearly much room for improvement. This can take many forms, from better measurement to a wider array of tactics.

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Topics: Apps, Feed.fm Blog, Music Business, Music streaming, Retail, Music as a Service

Location, Location, Location

Posted by Admin on Aug 27, 2015 3:12:29 PM

Retailers who have lived and died by this mantra for decades are still clinging to it, but for a different reason. 

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Topics: Apps, Criteo, Demandware, Feed.fm Blog, Google, Localytics, Optimizely, Puma, Retail, Trunk Club