Our annual trip to FIBO is always a much anticipated event and this year we also decided to attend the European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF) so our normal two days in Cologne turned in to three. With Chloë safely ensconced in a pair of comfy trainers after a recent knee op and Jody not pregnant or with a fractured foot like last year, the pair took to the skies and prepared themselves for a busy three days.
Having not attended EHFF before, we had high hopes about the event after hearing good things from last year’s event and happily we weren’t disappointed. Aside from the superb lunch (food is always important to us) we were inundated with positive stats and figures showcasing the EU as a healthy and growing fitness market, indeed with a projected 80 million members across the EU in 2025 our collective health and fitness world looks set for some good times in the next decade.
A big part of the day’s discussion unsurprisingly revolved around the increasingly complex and fragmented market we all work in, nothing new there, but what did peak our interest was the importance of a collaborative, inclusive offering to help all types of fitness business bridge the gap between life outside the fitness centre and inside the fitness centre. We’re not just talking about offering a connected digital experience (which is also a priority) so we can all track our ParkRuns and our workouts indoors, but collaborations between a broader range of reciprocal businesses.
The reason our interest was peaked is because there is an often under-utilised opportunity in the fitness industry to run some truly engaging campaigns that deliver results for both partners over a longer period of time, not just a quick tip of the hat, flash in the pan campaign. Don’t get us wrong, we often see joint offerings popping up and some of them work really well, for example Virgin Active and Tough Mudder with their bespoke Mudder Maker 45 minute classes (epic video, love the simplicity and energy build up) but actually that scale of partnership isn’t always feasible, manageable or affordable for some businesses. It can also be quite a costly process if you don’t get it right.
Great design is the delivery of a much bigger plan and that’s where we feel businesses in the health and fitness industry often underestimate the role of creatives such as ourselves when looking to deliver real value for money and maximum ROI. One of the key roles we can play for our clients is to ensure that each partner’s business objectives and existing as well as potential reach are carefully considered before deploying a clever mix of communications with targeted messaging at the right times, in the right places. Simply put, if you’re considering a collaborative venture make sure you partner with a forward thinking creative agency as early on in the planning stages as you can, before you get too far down the line and waste money on a fizzle rather than a POP! campaign.
Our remaining two days at FIBO itself were no less inspiring and armed with a bag full of our spangly new case studies we walked a whopping 12 miles and burned around 5,000 calories between us as we made our way round the expo to catch up with some of our clients Dynamax, MyZone and eGym – we were especially excited to see eGym’s One Training Experience section showcasing the true extent of their network and partners, as well as having a bash on the newly launched Fle-xx range. It looked absolutely stunning and we can’t wait to see it in a UK site soon!
As always we made a beeline to see the lovely chaps at the Miha Bodytech stand and were delighted to meet one of the new UK sales team – well done guys, you’ve made a good decision with that one, she’s going to do a great job. We were also introduced to a great business called FitQuest, a state of the art concept in fitness measurement, courtesy of the fabulous Tiffeny Gould. We love this business and the hugely credible medical background they have behind them gives the brand an understated confidence which we found intriguing.
We’d be here all day if we listed all the incredible people and businesses we met during our three days in Cologne but suffice to say that we were two very tired but happy ladies when we finally landed back in Cornwall. Thanks EHFF and FIBO for a really fantastic trip – totally worthwhile and will be hard to beat next year!