ABOUT FUNCTIONAL BRANDING
Here’s a great episode of Chasing Excellence where Ben & I talk about branding, marketing, & advertising.
The idea for Functional Branding started shortly after Coach Glassman surprised everybody & dramatically shifted CrossFit® away from the Games & toward Health. In an interview with Morning Chalk Up, he said the changes were "the path to 150,000 affiliates.”
Growing to 150,000 worldwide affiliates is what's known as a BHAG - a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. I loved it.
After all, I fell in love with CrossFit because of a BHAG. In the early days, it was the stated mission of building the fittest humans on Earth that attracted so many of us.
Now, it's this.
Is the number achievable?
I bet on Coach's vision back in 2006 when I helped start Again Faster Equipment. I'm willing to do it again.
That doesn't mean it will be easy. A lot stands in the way. I believe that if it happens, it will be because of individual affiliates doubling-down on improving three areas of their business:
Better Coaching - This includes seeing, correcting, cueing, class management, & nutrition. But just as important, it includes becoming better leaders & understanding the science of how people learn, how they form habits, & how motivation works.
Better Operations - By this, I mean the unsexy parts of running a business. Spreadsheets, facility management, hiring/firing, standard operating procedures. The necessary stuff.
Better Branding - No business in the world gets to ignore its marketing & branding & not see an effect on its growth. The change from the Games to Health is all about course-correcting the brand of CrossFit. Affiliates need to follow suit.
Functional Branding exists to help tackle this third challenge. At its core, it's built atop three principles:
Brand with Intention - Every CrossFit affiliate is already marketing & already building a brand. So let's do it consistently & let's do it on purpose.
Brand with Specificity - CrossFit is for anybody, but it's not for everybody. It's time to get honest about this so you can market your services to the right people - the people most likely to respond.
Brand with Empathy - It's no longer enough to put the word "CrossFit" on your door & expect it to bring you success. You have to market your gym in a way that puts your prospective customers first. You have to meet them where they are & acknowledge that your expertise is only relevant when it relates to their journey.