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I enjoy keeping fit and find exercise a really good way to relieve stress, but sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation when I know I’ll most likely just be doing a fairly boring run on a treadmill with nothing to see but my own reflection in the mirror for half an hour. I find running around London, especially by the river, much better but sometimes it’s just easier to go to the gym after work, rather than getting home and risking giving in to the sofa. So when I was given the opportunity through the DMA to go to Be:Fit and investigate some different fitness experiences, whilst also keeping a close eye on the way the brands there engaged with the audience, I leapt at the chance.

This festival for women was a brilliant celebration of health and fitness. The event included back to back classes, talks from industry leaders, live cooking demonstrations, workshops, as well as a shopping village. It was a perfect environment for brands wanting to establish or build on relationships with young women interested in health and fitness.

With 67% of millennials saying the reason they’ve followed a brand is because of an event (according to Splash, a creator of marketing software) Be:Fit provides a great opportunity for brands to gain increased awareness, improve perceptions and ultimately inspire the predominantly 18-30 audience.

But which brands really stepped up to this challenge?

We know that brand perception is comprised of the physical and emotional interactions consumers have with brands and it was clear that Reebok, a sponsor of the event, were fully in tune with this. They took every opportunity to raise their profile at the event, with a selfie-led approach. The first of their three branded photo pods featured people sitting within the Reebok logo, the second gave people the opportunity to feature in a professional street-style shot and the third was more humorous with the use of novelty props. This activity fits in nicely with their “Be More Human” positioning, and given the fact that 24% of millennials said they attended events just for “social media bragging rights” (Splash), this seems like a fairly faultless strategy. And even if the selfie scene wasn’t for you, they had such an extensive array of branded assets dotted around the venue, you couldn’t fail to be influenced by their presence and see them as experts in the industry.

 

In complete contrast, despite Be:Fit being a Telegraph event they only had one small stand towards the back of the venue with little to offer but a larger than life version of their app. With no clear strategies in place to entice and engage the millennial audience, the underwhelming display was largely ignored.

Instructors from Another Space, based in Soho, held classes in the cycle studio. But even though it was very popular, the limited number of bikes led to keen spinners being turned away (I only just made the class after queuing for an hour!). Only once inside the class were we told more about Another Space, which I felt was a real missed opportunity to spread their message.

ReboundUK, a trampolining exercise company, were a brand that tackled this issue very well. They had back to back classes that ran for around 10 minutes, meaning many more people could get involved and experience the brand first hand. They also had a separate stand giving people the opportunity to have a selfie taken against a branded background whilst bouncing on one of the mini trampolines. Again, neatly tapping into the social driven desires of the millennial audience and basic principles of brand perception building.

Once in the spin class, Another Space gave me a free pass for a class in their Soho studio, and my experience there certainly did not disappoint. This trendy fitness boutique really was a sensory haven. The spa like entrance (equipped with smoothie bar…of course) and tranquil changing area really contributed to an overall sense of indulgence. The high energy spin class with diverse choreography and ridiculously motivational instructor was just what I needed to kick me into fitness mode on a Monday evening. They provided me with everything I needed for the session, from Cowshed hair and body products, to ghd hairdryers and straighteners, and even a pair of cycling shoes. Turns out they also give you a towel, so don’t bring your own, especially a white one…all theirs are white too and it takes a long time to go through their laundry bins when you’ve lost yours! I left the boutique with endorphins fully engaged and received a well-timed follow up email as soon as I got home with a link to view more class options. I think I’ll be back there very soon.

Overall I’d give Be:Fit a big thumbs up, and definitely feel as though my enthusiasm for fitness has been re-energized! I would recommend the festival to any budding, or even not so budding, health and fitness fans.

Originally published by the DMA.