CrossFit Life Lesson 16 – Build You Brand

Hanging out with Mike’s Gym coaches this weekend doing the Olympic Lifting Cert…

One of the best part of my travels is meeting box owners all around the world. As CrossFit explodes in popularity many gyms struggle to differentiate themselves from each other. Recently I was in a town with 3 boxes within 5 miles of each other. They all looked and felt the same… Competition is everywhere at work and life and the best always find a way to stand out even where differentiation is not obvious.

There are so many examples of gyms that decided to specialize in a skill or an approach that gave them national or even global appeal way beyond their immediate membership. Great examples are San Francisco CrossFit with mobilityWOD, CF Endurance, Mike’s Gym with Olympic Lifting. Yet, I keep seeing gyms that have a truly unique specialty and fail to leverage it. One of my favorite boxes (remains nameless) has the best warmups to fit the needs of the workout and could easily define the WarmUpWOD standard across the industry. Another club has everyone doing double unders, every day. I mean everybody doing over 30-40 reps. I would certainly subscribe to their DoubleUnderWOD if they launched it… The point is that even with thousands of new boxes opening, current gyms could still gain national fame and stand our for their clients by being the best rope-climb trainers, best in butterfly pull-ups, rings, swim or even tire flips… Am I the only one who noticed that there is no CrossFit Snowboard affiliate? All things being equal prospective clients need an edge to decide which box to pick. Let’s give them one.

Of course, broader business teaches us the same lesson. When you work for a big company or in a tough industry, what does your name stand for? I mean you, personally. I believe we all have to stand for one (positive) phrase that describes and differentiates us in our jobs. Something that only we bring to the table. Many times that requires us to create a new idea and link that to ourselves. For some classic comments on this topic go back to the 15-year-old article at the FastCompany Magazine that launched the personal branding revolution currently led by people like Dan Schawbel. My team at work knows this all too well as I want them every year to declare what their brand will be in 12 months. Specifically, what is it that if you could accomplish, you would blow your mind away? That is most likely what you want to stand for and stand out with. It is amazing watching someone stepping into a new space and becoming the expert and leader in it just by declaring it as their own. At my firm, we get to do this every day and it is the ultimate reward I wish for everyone. Give yourself a new, unique brand and stand out…

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