CMO interview: Building the Orangetheory brand

Global chief brand officer of fitness brand shares the purpose, vision and content approach he's adopting to drive growth

When Kevin Keith first received the call asking him to become Orangetheory Fitness’s first chief brand officer at the start of 2017, he thought they were joking.

Keith had built a career in marketing with brands including Coca Cola and UPS, as well as through lengthy stints within agencies. But he had also been a regular attendee at Orangetheory sessions for about two years and had become a passionate advocate for the brand.

“They convinced me to come down to Florida to their global headquarters and have a chat with the CEO,” Keith tells CMO. “I immediately fell in love with the vision for the brand. It’s so much more than a fitness company.”

Today, Orangetheory has more than 850,000 members and over 1000 studios in 22 countries, with 16 studios in Australia and plans to open more in the next financial year. Its guided one-hour workouts use high intensity interval training blending cardiovascular and strength training, tracked using its OTbeat technology that measures heartrate and performance.

“My experience with the brand already as a member had been very transformative personally, and I was excited about that,” Keith says. “The business wanted someone who could help steward the brand and guide the experience and innovate.”

Brand purpose

When Keith joined Orangetheory, the marketing team consisted of just two people. One of his first tasks was to clearly define the brand purpose for which the company existed and ensure this was known through every level of the company.

“People buy into brands before they buy from a brand, so I wanted to really articulate why we existed and pull that through from the inside out,” Keith says. “We had all the right words with the right actions in place, but we didn’t have a really clear sentence as to why we are on the planet.”

That purpose is now defined as giving people a longer, more vibrant life, and he says the entire company is behind it.

From a marketing perspective, Keith says one of his key assets are the company’s members, who says have proven to be a most valuable marketing channel when it comes to attracting new signups.

“We have an NPS [Net Promoter Score] of +82, 83,” Keith says. “I have been in business 25 years, and I have never worked on a brand with a network promoter score so strong that has been maintained for so many years.

“We give our members the voice of the brand, and our job in marketing is really to set the storyline. And the storyline we have given is how what you’re doing in the studio for one hour every few days is going to give you a much more vibrant life.”

Of course it helps one of those members is Michelle Obama, who revealed in April in an interview at London’s O2 arena she can often be found taking sessions.

“She [Michelle] got really into Orangetheory about a year ago,” Keith says. “We have a lot of celebrities, but when they walk through that door, they feel like everybody else. We treat them like regular people, and they love that.”

Orangetheory now has a marketing team of more than 20, with a heavy emphasis on in-house content creation.

“We are constantly evolving and changing, and our members are constantly looking for content from us, and for inspiration and stories for motivation,” Keith says. “That is something we are increasingly taking in-house. But I will always need and cherish agency relationships, because sometimes organisations can so insular and devoid of an outside perspective.”

So far, the team has produced more than 1300 pieces of content on topics such as how to best maintain your base pace, much of which can be accessed via the company’s app.

Consistent credibility

As the company grows, there are two possibilities Keith is very wary of. The first is to avoid Orangetheory becoming a fad, as has happened with many other popular fitness programs over the years.

“Things can come and go in this industry very quickly, so even though it looks on the surface like a very easy job to have, the reality is we have to be on our game very day to make sure we are getting better and better,” Keith says. “If we are not continuing to give our customers results and a better experience, then we could start failing and fading away.

“And we need to know our lane. There are times where there is temptation to try and drag too many changes and enhancements to the brand too fast. So my focus has been to maintain what we do best and make it even better.”

Keith’s goal then is to ensure that as a global brand, Orangetheory is relentless in its commitment to providing consistency to members all around the world.

“My job is to make members never feel like they are walking to a franchise organisation,” he says. “They are walking to a world class brand experience. And as we grow our members, expectations are to have the same experience whether they are in Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne or Japan.”

Read more about how brands are harnessing purpose and values for success:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu    

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Hi,When online retailers establish their multi channel strategy and they are using or will to use live chatbot to support their customers...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Thanks for nice information regarding Account-based Marketing. PRO IT MELBOURNE is best SEO Agency in Melbourne have a team of profession...

PRO IT MELBOURNE

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Read more

The best part: optimizing your site for SEO enables you to generate high traffic, and hence free B2B lead generation. This is done throug...

Sergiu Alexei

The top 6 content challenges facing B2B firms

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Check out tiny twig for comfy and soft organic baby clothes.

Morgan mendoza

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

Blog Posts

Getting privacy right in a first-party data world

With continued advances in marketing technology, data privacy continues to play catchup in terms of regulation, safety and use. The laws that do exist are open to interpretation and potential misuse and that has led to consumer mistrust and increasing calls for a stronger regulatory framework to protect personal information.

Furqan Wasif

Head of biddable media, Tug

​Beyond greenwashing: Why brands need to get their house in order first

Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance is a hot topic for brands right now. But before you start thinking about doing good, Craig Flanders says you best sort out the basics.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

​The value of collaboration: how to keep it together

Through the ages, from the fields to the factories to the office towers and now to our kitchen tables, collaboration has played a pivotal role in how we live and work. Together. We find partners, live as families, socialise in groups and work as teams. Ultimately, we rely on these collaborative structures to survive and thrive.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in