Recently came across a Denver-based "health and vanity lifestyle boutique", Anti-Gym, that is a great example of differentiation, and truly challenging the "dominant logic" of a category. Couldn't find data on business results, but they must be doing well as they are expanding to Scottsdale and San Diego.
Warning: this brand contains some material that can cause offense, as they say on their home-page!
Here are some of the learnings:
1. Clear and distinctive end-benefit:
Anti-Gym's pitch is that they will allow you to "Have sex with the lights on"! How refreshing and memorable compared to the conventional language of "get in shape", "get fit" etc. Anti-Gym are in-your-face about the real reason we want to look good.
2. Stand-out "sizzle"
The whole look, feel and style of the brand is aspirational, with black and red colours, stylish and sexy photography. And the tone of voice in their written communication is bold to say the least!
3. Provocative, polarising targeting:
Anti-Gym is not for everyone, and they're proud of it. They say: "No chubbies allowed! A 'chubby' is not necessarily someone with a spare tire or thunder thighs, it’s an unmotivated, lazy slob who wants to blame everybody else but themselves for their shortcomings." Better to be clear about you want to recruit, and who you don't, rather than being bland and trying to appeal to the whole market.
4. Unique customer experience:
All great service brands have a brilliant customer experience, or "sausage", and Ant-Gym does this. The key elements of their service are as follows:
1. High intensity training: special machines and training, so you do 40", 3 times a week
2. Custom meal plans: great tasting but healthy food plans to eat yourself fitter
3. Regular assessment: stop you reverting to chubby behaviour
4. Provocative lifestyle: this is the best... being open about the fact some people go to the gym on the pick-up! They say: "With cage dancers, live DJ's, weekly happy hours and our elite co-ed Ravish Room (huh?!) we have the hottest equipment and clientele."
Like many or even most great service brands, Anti-Gym has a charismatic leader who IS the brand. Michael Karolchyk is visually memorable (muscle-bound, shaven head) and outspoken. This helps the brand get invaluable, high-profile PR. He's even been named in one article as "the most hated man in Denver".
6. High impact communication
As you would expect by now, ant-Gym's TV ads are irreverent and no holds barred! They star Karolchyk with such priceless lines as "You're never going to have a hubby if you're a chubby, so forsake the cake!"
Really makes me want to check this place out. And readers from Denver? Please do tell all!