Your Club’s Brand: An Asset or Liability for 2018

By | Customer Experience, Industry, Organizational Health | No Comments

In just two short months, individuals in your community will once again recommit to the pursuit of health. Your preparations are probably already underway to ensure that people choose your club vs. a nearby competitor.

State of the art equipment? Check.
Well-trained, friendly staff? Check.
Enticing programs? Check.
Powerful, relevant brand? Hmmm…

While not always top of the checklist, your brand can play a powerful role in enticing new members to join AND keeping them committed even as their new year’s wellness enthusiasm fizzles. On the flip side, your brand can work just as hard against your success.

In this 3-part series, I’ll share insights gained from Daxko’s own recent brand strategy initiative. My hope is that you’ll come away inspired and armed with a framework to evaluate—and if needed—evolve your club’s brand for a more prosperous future.

PART I: Evaluate

At Daxko, we intentionally took stock of our brand earlier this year. With our acquisition of CSI Software in late 2015, we had expanded to serve many more member-based health & wellness organizations. Daxko’s software now powers health clubs, medical wellness, and campus recreation facilities in addition to our long-time YMCA and JCC customers.

We set out to understand current perceptions of Daxko. What did customers think about us? The market? Our own team members? And how did the perception of our brand compare to other providers in the space?

Here’s how we approached understanding Daxko’s brand equity, guided by the experts at our brand strategy firm, R2i.

  1. Identify a cross-section stakeholders to interview. Prospective members. Current members. Terminated members. Boomers. Millenials. Engaged staff. Disgruntled staff. Pro-tip: Avoid the temptation to only talk to people who love your club. While the picture they paint will be rosy, it won’t be the whole picture.
  2. Draft a brand perception interview guide. Build an interview guide of questions that you’ll ask to each stakeholder. A few to get you started:
    • How do you initially hear about our club?
    • Has your experience with us compared to what you expected when you joined?
    • If you had to describe our club in one word, what would it be?

Pro tip: Keep questions as open-ended as possible to get as much information. Asking around 15 questions or less will keep the interview to a manageable length of 45 minutes.

  1. Invite them to share their perceptions. Listen, listen, and listen some more to what they have to say about you. Pro tip: Guarantee their anonymity when sharing results of the interviews to ensure there are no barriers to sharing. Having a neutral third-party conducting the interview makes this even easier.
  2. Compile and look for commonalities. After you’ve finished all of the interviews, what seems to be repeated over and over again? Is it that your staff are friendly and knowledgeable and make starting a routine less intimidating? Or perhaps that your group exercise programs are cutting edge? Pro tip: Compare how those common perceptions compare to what your competitors say to position themselves. Where do you stand out?

Valparaiso Family YMCA Launches Daxko Well

By | Engagement, Membership | No Comments

We’re excited to welcome the Valparaiso Family YMCA to the lineup of YMCAs using Daxko Well! They join the YMCAs of Florida’s First Coast and the Pike’s Peak Region.

Our own Wendy Feild, Daxko Well Implementation Manager, was on-site at the Y to ensure a successful launch. “It’s energizing to work with our YMCA partners who are committed to making their communities healthier every day. It’s a privilege to provide a virtual membership solution through Daxko Well to scale their efforts and make an even deeper impact on more individuals.”

The leadership team at the YMCA were just as energized about its potential impact. Chris Aungst, Chief Operating Office shares, “We are excited to offer this virtual solution to enhance our current members’ experience and to extend our reach beyond facility walls to reach more within the community.”

Welcome aboard to the staff and community of Valparaiso, Indiana. We’re excited to have you!

Reach Underserved Areas with Community Meetups

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Events & Happenings, Facilities, Industry, Marketing, Membership, Mission Delivery, Online, Programs | No Comments

Member-based health and wellness centers focus on making their communities stronger. However, doing so at physical locations has limitations. While the vast majority of American’s are committed to improving their health, 82% are not joining fitness facilities to do so (IHRSA 2014). Why? Perhaps locations are too far from work, home, or school; maybe they are self-conscious working out in front of others; or maybe they aren’t quite sure how to use the equipment and are intimidated to ask for help. Whatever the reason, you’re missing out on making a positive impact on the health of the majority of your community constituents.

What if you could flip the equation? Instead of expecting members to come to you, meeting members of your community where they are. Could you extend your mission of health and wellness to many more without having to invest in another expensive facility? Yes, you can and it’s simple — organize a community meetup. Here’s an example:

As the suburbs have continued to sprawl, your YMCA is now missing a key and growing area of your community with your closest location being 20 miles away. You could build a new facility, but that takes time and considerable funding. In the meantime, host a bootcamp in a local park every week. Your staff can bring along some weights, jump ropes, and mats, and lots of enthusiasm. Organizing community meetups and allowing community members to connect with each other and the Y in between sessions is quick and easy with a tool like Daxko Well. 

Is your center using community meetups to extend your mission and serve more? We’d love to hear how in the comments below.

Executive Interview: Focusing on Progress

By | Industry, Leadership, Mission Delivery, Organizational Health, Webcasts | No Comments

Recently, Daxko’s own Tom Massey, sat down with 4 prominent YMCA CEOs to discuss leadership, technology, and YMCA best practices:

  • Billy George of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads
  • Danny McConnell of The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta
  • Paul McEntire of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area
  • Baron Herdelin-Doherty of the YMCA of San Diego County

Each one provided great insight into the workings of successful YMCAs. A few highlights that stood out to me:

When asked the top things they knew they needed to take care of in order to make progress at their associations, Danny McConnell mentioned that the YMCA of Greater Augusta put a focus on the following:

  1. Building a great team,
  2. Building a culture of success to help community partners “think of the Y first,”
  3. And staying true to the mission of the organization.

Danny mentioned that the faith-based mission of the YMCA really resonated with him and so his team makes a concerted effort to, “keep the mission of the organization clear in our sights, we talk about it a lot, we plan around it…and I have not doubt because of that that we have been blessed with what we have done here along the way.”

Paul McEntire’s priorities centered on technology goals with the transition of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area to Daxko software.

  1. Making sure that the association has accurate data and making data-driven decisions a priority,
  2. Establish common business practices across the association and decide what decisions should be made at the branch level versus the regional or association level,
  3. And make online registration a priority.

Watch the full webcast to catch all of the interview and find out more about how these successful CEOs make changes and measure progress at their YMCAs.