Should fitness brands be using train strikes to their advantage?

19th January 2017 by Dan French

After a miserable week last week with four of my five work day commutes affected by train and tube strikes, I wondered if fitness brands should be doing more to capitalise on the industrial action? Surrounded by disgruntled commuters, I felt there was an evident opportunity for an industry worth £4.4 billion in the UK.

I decided that the strike would be positive for myself by beating the madness to hit the gym for 7 am. Now, I know that not everyone has this luxury, some commute further (thankfully, I don’t live in Brighton), others have considerations like child care and school drops whilst others, let’s be brutally honest, are just plain lazy.

I not only feel physically better but mentally more positive as I avoid the customary morning moan about my commute. As you know, when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.

As a sport and entertainment communications consultant that helps brands #betheconversation, this got me thinking about retail, digital, community and social activations that could capitalise on the chaos that at present has no end in sight. What could this mean for your brand? Here’s a bit of inspiration:

  1. Could gyms like Virgin Active offer free usage of their showers for commuters that run and cycle to work but don’t have the luxury of a shower in their office?  Once the consumer is in the building, we know it’s much easier to build a relationship and deliver sales message
  2. Could PUMA offer strike alternative geo-fenced facebook promotions with ProDirect Running offering exclusive online promotions on their Ignite range for consumers that travel in and out of London Bridge?
  3. Could community managers for brands like SweatShop encourage followers to run home together from Central London locations rewarding them with running backpacks to carry their clothes? Not only is this safer for runners, it furthermore fosters a sense of community that social teams strive for
  4. Could cycling retailers like Evans Cycles offer free bike services for commuters to encourage them to try pedal power? It’s highly likely that once they offer a free incentive, the commuter could be encouraged to upgrade their lights or buy a new reflective jacket
  5. Could TomTom Sport share free to download route maps home for commuters that want to avoid major footfall pavements and the runners frustration of constant stop and starting?
  6. Could gyms like FitnessFirst look to incentivise consumers with Pay as You Play/Workout promotions on their first classes of the day which tend to be undersubscribed?

There are 6,435 fitness facilities in the UK with footfall a key objective for many of these brands. So, as Londoner’s prepare for another week of transport misery, can we as marketers turn this into an opportunity?

Email me at dan@cliffordfrench.co.uk if you share the same opinion and want to discuss this further.