Q&A with the Chief Brand Officer at Orangetheory Fitness

McKenzie Gregory

During our Spring Launch at Marketing United 2017, Jeff Middlesworth (Chief Product Officer at Emma) sat down with a few Emma clients to talk about their brands and discuss some ways they're using email marketing to grow their businesses. 
One of those clients was Orangetheory Fitness, a popular fitness franchise with over 1,000 locations. Here's a look at what their Chief Brand Officer, Kevin Keith, had to share with Jeff and MU attendees. 
Click here to see the full interview! 

Tell us a little bit about Orangetheory Fitness. 

Orangetheory Fitness is a 1-hour, heart rate based, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. When I say heart rate based, you literally wear a heart rate monitor while you’re working out. When you hit 84%-91% of your maximum heart rate, you’re in the "Orange Zone," which is your optimum fat burning zone. That's where you want to be for 18-20 minutes.
The theory is that when you’re in that zone, you experience a 36-hour afterburn. And it’s really good for your heart –  so it’s not just about losing weight, it’s about your overall fitness.

What does a Chief Brand Officer do?

It’s really about the overall brand experience. Two-thirds of our business is driven by referrals, and being a member myself, I can totally understand that that sense of customer loyalty and advocacy. 
Philosophically as a marketer, I really believe the best marketing is about creating exceptional and memorable experiences. I draw a lot of inspiration from people like Horst Schulze, the former president of The Ritz-Carlton Hotels. 
And now, with all the technology that's available to us, marketers really have no excuse not to deliver an amazing experience to their customers. 

What are some of your big initiatives this year?

In that same vein, a lot of what we’re doing revolves around technology. As Ann Handley mentioned, it’s not just about having the technology for technology’s sake: We use technology to personalize our members' workouts, so the heart of what we do is technology based. 
We track member data about their performance in the studio, their progress, their health, and their overall fitness levels. And speaking of email – we’re probably the one company people want to get emails from the most. You step outside a class, and everyone’s noses are buried in their inboxes because they want to see their post-workout performance summary. 
So this year, we're putting an emphasis on getting the most out of our data. We’re also working on taking out any sort of friction out of the member experience and making it all as seamless as possible. 

What are some of the challenges around rapid growth?

We’re one of the fastest growing franchises in the world right now. We just signed our thousandth studio in Modesto, CA, and we've opened 91 studios in the first quarter this year. We’ll have about 2,500-3,000 studios in the next two years. We currently have half a million members. 
It’s been a phenomenal ride, but we also know that if we’re going to grow, we need to do it right. Sometimes you have to tap the brakes – because when you get ahead of yourself, you can lose sight of what your brand is really about. 

What is your definition of great marketing?

My definition of great marketing is delivering a great brand experience. You can communicate everything you want as much as you want, but at the end of the day, if you can’t deliver an awesome experience, it’s all for naught. So our focus in marketing is on great experiences. 

What are some traits of a successful marketing team?

Everyone talks about collaboration. So often, I’ve worked with teams where there’s been a lack of collaboration or an inability to communicate. Truly being able to see the larger picture and your specific role within a team is crucial.  

What’s your favorite thing about Emma?

As far as features go, my team loves A/B content testing and the data we learn from it. 
But in the larger sense, we love Emma because it gives us the sophisticated suite of tools we need to provide the right content to our member base as well as prospective members. We’re able to customize exactly what we want to do and say, and it’s so easy to use!  


Want to try Orangetheory Fitness for yourself? You can schedule a free workout here

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin
Previous Article
Email showdown: ClassPass vs. Equinox
Email showdown: ClassPass vs. Equinox

In this email marketing matchup, two fitness behemoths battle it out in the inbox.

Next Article
How Emma helped a Canadian fitness company navigate CASL
How Emma helped a Canadian fitness company navigate CASL

Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is one of the toughest laws of its kind in the world. Here's how we helped Ba...