The Gym Group’s History & Our Partnership
One of the largest gym chains in the UK, The Gym Group was founded in 2008 by former England squash player, Jon Treharne. Opening their first brand that same year in Hounslow to incredible success due to their low-cost market positioning and 24/7 nature, they have quickly grown to over 221 locations nationwide in just 14 years. The organisations mission – as stated on their website – is to break down the barriers to fitness faced by people who cannot afford the high cost of their competitors, while also offering high quality environments and features. Their added offering of a no-pressure monthly fee with no contractual obligation places them in an ideal position for people who are just starting out, or people who are looking for a gym that is more suited to their own lifestyle.
The Blaze Signs & The Gym Group’s signage partnership began in the year 2015, at a time where the fitness and exercise brand went from strength to strength and continued its excellent growth strategy. Blaze’s unique offering of high quality, beautiful signage solutions, paired with industry leading project management and roll-out capabilities ensured the partnership between companies made sense.
In 2022, The Gym Group decided it was time for a new look, and unveiled a new logo and colour scheme to the world in August. The business wanted to emphasise its “proudly mass market” appeal and set itself apart from its many competitors in the industry, which also helps them get ready to launch more than 40 new sites in the UK. Their website, app and other digital collateral were very quickly and smoothly updated to match their new look, but there remained the big one, their signage.
The Issue The Gym Group Faced
The Gym Group needed to have every single one of their physical sites updated to match their new branding, and quickly. The longer a site sits there with old branding, the more damage it does to the brand, while simultaneously reducing the impact of your new brand. This can also be confusing to the customer, as online, or on the app, there is one look, with a completely different logo and colour scheme, but in person the design looks completely different.
They needed businesses with the expertise of nationwide large-scale rollout programmes, with experience to back it up. With our long-standing relationship with The Gym Group, we were awarded 110 sites out of the full 221 strong estate, which now left the question, how were we going to pull this off effectively?
Blaze Signs And Their Services
We have a history of completing rollouts of new signage to a customers’ stores across the country in a slim window of time, so the Blaze Team have become quite astute at this type of project. Whether that’s creating design documents for each site, with bespoke solutions, or the manufacturing and logistical challenges that we’re able to navigate and solve through our planning and production departments. However, even with decades of experience in this project type, every client has their own needs and requirements when it comes to their own signage, which is why communication between supplier and customer is paramount.
With 130,000 sq/ft combined between our Broadstairs and Birmingham facilities, we have the manufacturing capacity to meet even the toughest of requirements, and with our dedicated Account Manager for The Gym Group, we are able to have a heavy focus on the project to ensure all dates and sites are met with equal amounts of care and precision.
The rollout officially began during the first week of August, and prior to this our planning and design departments had already begun work on carrying out full surveys for sites that were scheduled to be completed early in the project. Our reasoning behind this was to stay ahead and book surveys 2 weeks ahead of when we would need them to continue the process through to design.
Our talented team of designers spend less than a week for each bespoke design document, with multiple sites being designed by each designer at any given time. Any amendments would be solved within 48 hours, pushing the process onto the next stage. With a standard template for design documents. The process was sped up massively and our designers were able to quickly work through the individual sites using the knowledge they had learned from the new brand guidelines and the surveys supplied.
With an approved design document, manufacturing can commence, and this project really allowed the Blaze Team to put their vast range of skills to the test. The nature of The Gym Groups estate, with many different types of site locations and varied types of signage suites utilised to ensure the business is in keeping with the neighbouring businesses, meant that there were many different types of manufacturing techniques employed and products produced.
Flexface signage is a popular type of signage for The Gym Group, making the process of delivering a rebrand project more simple, since you only need to replace the flexface skin to the existing box. That wasn’t always the case however, some sites needed built up lettering, some needed new aluminium fascia’s, which is often a more involved process. Additionally, most sites received new totem panels, into the typically unique retail park totems found across the country, as well as window vinyls that captured the essence of their new brand presence.
When it came to installation, the average time spent transforming the building could vary from one day to a whole week, depending on the level of branding present on site. No matter the site however, our professional and accredited team of installation engineers and assistants delivered our service with excellent levels of health and safety, customer service, and precision.
Collier’s Wood: The Gym Group trialled their new branding physically at their branch in Collier’s Wood, and it was their first opportunity to see the future of their business. As a result, it was crucial that the end product was exactly what they were looking for. With a cross-department collaborative effort, between our projects/sales team, design, production, and drawing, we were able to fulfil The Gym Group’s wishes in a way that was possible to be scaled up to an estate-wide roll out project.
Nottingham City: While many of The Gym Group’s branches are found in retail parks, they are also popular in city centres and high streets. These sort of sites present a different set of challenges for our teams to overcome, but nonetheless we always find a way to deliver on our promise of providing a complete signage solution for businesses. With the use of a classic projecting sign along the entrance of the building, as well as a huge set of window vinyls which all interconnect to represent The Gym Group’s logo, their brand presence is just as impactful here in the high street as it is in the retail park.
This project was a special one, it is not often that you get to work with a company to deliver such a staggering change. A rebrand or major brand image change is something that only comes along every five years for the average company in the UK, so it’ll always be the type of project you want to remember.
Timing and scheduling is often one of the most important aspects of a rebrand for a company; no business wants to have a branch in one town with the new logo and colour way only for the gym the next town over to still rock the classic look. The Blaze Team recognised the challenges faced of delivering a rebrand roll out of this scale, and successfully set about overcoming these challenges and reminding The Gym Group why we’re a supplier of signage to them – we put their needs at the top of the agenda.
This project was a big success for Blaze Signs, The Gym Group and our relationship together, and we’re excited to work with them into the future through a partnership that seems to push the art of the possible.