What's Trending in Training
It's time for America to put down its Big Mac and hit the gym. Being in shape is in style, and it's looking like the fitness fad is here to stay. Restaurant menus list healthy dishes and lower calorie counts, while new workout classes like CrossFit and SoulCycle are crowded with loyal members. The exercise craze is good news for the promotional products industry because it means a growing demand for exercise goods. Fitness lovers can stroll through the park with pedometers that announce their progress, stay sweat-free at the gym with microfiber terry towels, or safely bike at night wearing L.E.D. reflectors. In case you need a few tips for selling exercise products, here is a review of what's hot and what's not in the world of workouts.
DESIGN WITH PORTABLE IN MIND
"On-the-go fitness products are must-have items this year," said Kim Collins, director of marketing for Crown Products in Mobile, Ala. Modern fitness enthusiasts have busy schedules and hectic lifestyles, so products such as shaker bottles and duffel bags are popular because people can travel straight to the gym from their homes or offices. Collins described how Crown Products' selection lends itself to busy gym-goers. "Our Yoga Mats feature a convenient carry strap, our Shake It Up bottle easily fits into a car cup holder and our Get Fit Duffel is perfect to take from the office to Zumba or a traditional gym workout," she said.
For some though, it's often impossible to squeeze in a daily gym session. Andrea Reid, promotional market sales manager for Ad Bands, Hot Springs, Ark., suggested a way for frequent travelers too busy for the gym to still exercise regularly. According to Reid, resistance exercise is an ideal way for jetsetters to stay fit and works for low to high impact workouts. "Travel makes it difficult to keep up a regular exercise schedule, but our Work-Out Bands are portable and lightweight so that they can be thrown into your suitcase or carried in a purse or briefcase," she said. These bands can be used to stretch and tone muscles through a variety of exercises while showcasing an imprint.
MAKE IT BRIGHT
"I believe that more companies are beginning to see the positive impact of encouraging their employees to lead healthier lifestyles, meaning less time off from work and lower insurance costs," said Reid. As they gain popularity, fitness products are becoming bolder and brighter. "Neon colors are making a strong comeback in the market," Collins noted. She listed Crown Products' brightened fitness product selection: The Neon Revolution Tumblers for smoothies and protein shakes, the Lazer flat bottles for outdoor fitness and the Nitro Backsack. Reid also mentioned a preference for bolder hues. "We do offer some bright colors like lime green, orange and yellow," she said, also noting the popularity of bold red and blue products.
Murray Siegel, CAS, marketing director for Baltimore-based Towel Specialties, described how brightening color choices is beneficial for promotional purposes. While the company's Turkish Workout Towel had previously only been sold in white, the perennial best seller is now being made in a variety of vivid hues. "Customers often mix their colors so that, at big events like a multi-participant marathon, there is an eye-grabbing sea of colors at the start of a race," Siegel explained. "This visual statement not only has impact, but is great for publicity photos and other PR."
TECHNOLOGY IS TRENDY
Advances in technology, especially smartphones, have changed the way people pursue healthy living. "Modern technology has brought along some really great apps that allow people to keep up with their eating habits and fitness routines," Reid said. "If anything, I think it has enhanced awareness for the need to have workout products."
Of course, phone-based fitness routines require phone-based fitness promotions. MP3 players and smartphones are vulnerable during workouts and could be broken or stolen. Suppliers such as Crown Products are designing new ways to protect them. "Products like our Audio Earbuds, Waterproof Media Pouch and Listen and Protect Media Pouch can be used when working out, while still protecting your mobile devices," Collins explained.
EVERYONE CAN WIN
Both Collins and Siegel listed a number of markets for fitness products. "As more sports and activities become organized on school and private club levels, there are more branding opportunities," Siegel explained. He listed hospitals, wellness centers, marathon sponsors, beverage companies, running clubs and corporations with in-house fitness centers as examples. "The companies we see most often are gyms, smoothie shops, rehab programs, health food stores and even health insurance companies," Collins added. Recently, one large health insurance company selected Crown Products' Exercise Bands as the item for their "Be Healthy" campaign.