How is your imagery speaking about your business brand? The big corporations have it figured out, marketing budgets that exceed many of our annual take home pay, large teams ensuring every detail is handled and there is a cohesive line across all of the different platforms a business would use to reach their market. But how do small businesses create that same impact in their own branding efforts? They do it by being the marketing team. They do it by placing their trust in partners that can work in tandem to cultivate the brand they've worked so hard to build. They do it by identifying their strengths and leveraging them to lift their brand higher so they are able to continue to serve the community they have, and to not only reach but connect with a larger part of the network their business is helping to grow and serve. They do it by being more than "just a business".
Meet Abby and Jeremy McDonnell. Owners of Beer City Crossfit (Asheville, NC), Rocky Top Crossfit (in Knoxville, TN), and South Charlotte Crossfit (Charlotte, NC). They have been an integral part of the Southeastern CrossFit community since 2005 and bring a wealth of experience and heart to their business and locations.
When we were discussing their business and operations, one of the things that was more than evident was that their business isn't about bells and whistles, but about their presence and participation within it's structure. They're here because they WANT to be. Everything about BCCF is based around their fitness and nutritional expertise, service, and community. Period. And, in designing their initial branding session, that is what I wanted to bring to the table. To define that kind of entrepreneurship with a fairly casual approach.
In collaborating with them both, Jeremy & Abby brought in an Olympic bar for some more structured branding shots but the imagery with them specifically is purely about showcasing the people. Their relationship to their client base, their relationship as a husband and wife business team, and how approachable they are as owners and as mentors to their network and community. Nike can have the swoosh all day long. The McDonnell's have; over ten years of experience within the CrossFit community, military training, a focus on philanthropy, and heart.
I don't know about you but I'll take that kind of involvement over a shiny treadmill and Top 40 pop music any day.
So, what is a workout (WOD) like at BCCF? Well, in my world (the one where I haven't really placed a focus on fitness outside of home workout programs for much of my life) it makes me feel like tomorrow is really gonna hurt. Like...A LOT hurt. It also makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. I'm showing up for myself, and not just for my business or my todo list. I am just as important as the sum of my accomplishments so why shouldn't I BE one of those accomplishments?
One of the "rockstars" from the class before mine came through the other day and said "Man, today is a hard one!" but he said it dripping in sweat, with enthusiasm, and a smile on his face. A light bulb went off and I replied "Well good, right? That's what you want?" and he looked at me dead in the eye and said "Oh yeah. I wouldn't come if it weren't."
So, I'm going to say it publicly. I'm a pretty competitive person (you can stop laughing now, Mom). I'm also usually the last person in the class to finish. These workouts are HARD. Like, holy cow hard and after about a month of going now, they're STILL really, really tough but now I'm starting to look forward to it. Here's the thing. I might finish last every single class from now through eternity but you know what is different about Beer City? There is support. The trainers check in on you, they help you modify if you need to, they recognize your growth and fist bumps are a thing ya'll. After my first WOD, a perfect stranger walked up to me to congratulate me? Another person grabbed my bar, wiped it down and put it away? THAT is why it's different. The support there is incredible. That is a community I'm grateful to be a part of.
You will be seeing more of Beer City CrossFit in the coming months. I'm excited to be helping them keep their imagery updated and build their brand. And hey! If you're looking for a tough workout and cool people to sweat near, drop by for a fundamentals class and tell them Cat sent you. You will and won't regret every minute of it.