Globalism A Huge Driver Of The Health and Fitness Business In 2014 And Beyond

What Globalism means in the traditional sense isn't necessarily what everyone thinks. From my perspective its simple: our world is becoming more interconnected. For the health club and fitness industry that means that growth is coming increasingly in new countries with various cultures, languages and resources.

The world has about 7 billion people living in it today (there are almost as many smartphone internet devices as people). The shift to Asia, which has driven 50% of economic development over the past decade and the realization that other cultures and languages are comprising larger shares of our global consumer base are just a few of the implications of "Globalism". What that means is a world of increasing opportunity and change. Those who are prepared to embrace this with flourish while others who avoid it will fail.

Please watch the video a New Global Era In 2014 below and tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think ? Is 2014 the New Global Era for our industry ?

A New Global Era In 2014 - The Globalism Trend In 2014 - Bryan O'Rourke from Bryan ORourke on Vimeo.

 

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leaders on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

How Technology Can Make Human Experience Richer And Better - A Case In Point

People often see technology as being the antithesis of humanity. I guess this view was created in the mind of Terminator fans years ago (Watch The "I'll Be Back" Scene). The evidence doesn't always substantiate the modern world reality on this point. For example, Amazon's Net Promoter Score was second highest among US brands last year at 76 . You don't speak to a human when buying from Amazon yet the brand outperforms banking giant ING with a NPS of only 48. Perhaps the technical human divide isn's so wide. The point is technology can serve needs and augment human interaction in very impactful ways, creating more human experiences. Helping people reach their potential and contribute when they might not be able to otherwise is the greatest example of the potential technology offers to augment humanity; and its just getting started.

Here's a case in point, thanks to a recent tweet from @AugieNieto whom I follow closely on twitter, with respect to people suffering from disabilities or various physical limitations due to a variety of conditions and situations. If you are in the fitness industry you no doubt are well aware of Augie and his teams fight to progress research around ALS. My colleague and dear friend @LindseyRainh2o has a family member battling the disease as well and we are supporters of Augie's Quest to identify a cure and you should be one to :) . Augie's recent tweet included a TED Talk, below for your review, that demonstrated the power of technology in enabling people to continue to lead meaningful lives despite their limitations ( Thank you Augie). Here's the story of Henry Evans as described n the Ted Talk website.

At age 40, Henry Evans was left mute and quadriplegic after a stroke-like attack caused by a hidden birth defect. Years of therapy helped him learn to move his head and use a finger -- which allows him to use a head-tracking device to communicate with a computer using experimental interfaces.

Now, Evans is a frequent and enthusiastic collaborator with robotics teams who are developing tools to help the severely disabled navigate their lives. He collaborates with Georgia Tech professor Charlie Kemp on using the Willow Garage PR2 robot as a surrogate, as well as Chad Jenkins' RLAB at Brown on quadrotors for expanding range of motion.

As the Willow Garage blog post says: "Every day, people take for granted the simple act of scratching an itch. In Henry's case, 2-3 times every hour of every day he gets an itch he can't scratch. With the aid of a PR2, Henry was able to scratch an itch for himself for the first time in 10 years."

Technology is a great human accelerator. Using it wisely can make a big impact on the lives of not only Henry but everyone. What do you think? I'd love to hear your views. As the health club industry increasingly interconnects technology and human interaction I think its important to keep these real world examples in mind. The potential to create meaningful human experiences by relying on technology in the right way is limited only by our imagination. Do you agree ?

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leaders on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

The ANT+ Symposium 2013: The Importance Of Technology In Health & Fitness

Getting an invitation to speak at the 2013 ANT+ Symposium is an honor, to say the least. I am grateful to my friend Paul Lockington and the team at Dynastream, particularly  for their dedication and involvement in the Fitness Industry Technology Council . Dynastream continues to push innovation and develop new technologies, moving the industry forward. If you haven't registered for the ANT+ event yet please do here as soon as possible, since rooms are going to run out. Believe me, you do NOT want to miss it this year.

Having written extensively on the subject of wearable technologies and the looming explosion of opportunities for health and wellness that technologies will create, an event like the ANT+ Symposium is my kind of event. Speaking at this forum is even more important because the players in health care, health clubs and wellness are about to watch the emergence of a New Era of Wellness unfold at a rapid pace (the recent ANT+ integration into the Samsung Note 3 is an example of what is to come). This will be a time wrought with risks, changes and HUGE opportunities for forward thinking leaders and companies.

What I'll be sharing during my talk at the ANT+ Symposium is how industries like Banking, Computing, Publishing and others at one time and presently all faced huge disruptions. I'll share how these industries either embraced or ignored technologies and the implications of those choices. If leaders fail to embrace what technologies like ANT+ and others will enable for the health club business, for example, they will likely be punished severly. This is not just a risk for individual players its a risk for whole industries as the new dynamic of competitive "ARENAS" emerges. As I've written before, industries will increasingly see competition from other industries. How an industry like fitness applies vision and embraces collaborations that create new standards around these emerging technologies will enable us to take advantage of them. Failing to do so will likely mean missing one of the greatest opportunities that ever existed for making a real impact on the quality of people's health through primary prevention. Its up to us to collectively do what it takes to take advantage of this opportunity or miss it. This is exciting to me because I see this new Era happening and attending the ANT+ Symposium is like being at one of the "ground zero's" where that future is happening now.

The opportunity of bringing health care, fitness and wellness together around consumer needs is going to be created by technologies and smart leaders who see what will be possible. Are we ready to embrace this new era ? Spend some time at the ANT+ convention and I'll tell you what I think and how. I hope to see you there.

So what do you think about ANT+, the symposium and how technologies will revolutionize, health and fitness ? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many as one of the most prolific thought leaders on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

 

 

Marketing Your Fitness Business - Do You Care Enough ?

Thanks to my colleague Eleanor Hisey at Fitsomo who shared a post that I just had to use from Gary Vaynerchuk, and to my partner Robert Dyer who spent so much time with me last week. These two along with my conversation with some of Gold's Gyms leading franchisees at the GGFA roundtable on social media last week led to this post.

By the way it meant a great deal to me to be invited by Ginger Collins and the great bunch of GGFA professionals, who I love, to discuss social media marketing at the Gold's convention. Thanks Ladies :). I was particularly excited that Gordon Johnson, along with several other leading Gold's franchisees, were there and asked so many relevant questions. They wanted to know about using social media, yet the conversation was less about technology and more about being human. I'll explain.

In a world where brands are accustomed to only broadcasting or as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, presenting their message, now consumers want engagement (see his video below and thanks again Eleanor :)). They want to interact. Consumers want to be relevant. Everything we used to think about marketing has ended because now marketing is the consumer's experience. Its not our message and what we want to tell them; its all about what is important to THEM and our recognizing that fact. The "Connected Consumer" trend has really accelerated this because of technology.

This is a very hard thing for many brands to grasp and execute. In a world where many old school CEO's still worry that having a twitter account opens them up to having to answer to consumers, well what can I say ? Anyone who would have to ask if they should have a twitter account demonstrates they do not understand. You see people who don't understand this, at least 90% of the time, must not really care because if they did they'd want to have customers be able to let them know when they are happy and when they are not. Right ?

This leads to my partner Robert and I having many conversations with customers and industry leaders last week both during the Gold's convention and following it. For those of you who know him, Robert is one of the most sincere and caring people you'd ever meet; he's very human and it shows. It was instructive to hear the comments from a highly respected industry leader who following our meeting asked, "Is this how you conduct all of your meetings?" Well Robert was unclear as to what the person met. They went on, "You see I am so used to getting pressured and sold and you did not even have a presentation." (So I might have paraphrased a bit :)). Get it now ? Its not about us its about them.

The bottom line is this, if health club and fitness brands keep broadcasting content around what they do, what they have, and who they are consumers aren't going to connect. We can't use social media effectively if its not centered around the customer and we must reengineer our businesses accordingly. If the DNA of your organization can't "GET IT" then you've got a real problem on your hands.

Watch the video above from Gary Vaynerchuck and tell me Bryan O'Rourke, what is your marketing strategy with social media ? Do you agree with Gary that you've got to change from presenting to working the room ? Thanks for your thoughts and for reading the post.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US and heads up the firms Integerus and Fitsomo. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org ). Recently Bryan was named to the ACE industry advisory panel.  To learn more contact Bryan here today.

 

The Affordable Care Act - Implications For Fitness Facilities

 

There is no doubt that primary prevention is key to addressing the long term cost of sick care. With over a billion people on the planet being pre diabetic today, lifestyle is THE key factor in people not being well. Enter the controversial Affordable Care Act, which reflects an attempt by policy makers to incent employer health insurance plans to increase incentives and participation in programs designed to promote improved lifestyles. I believe the dawn of a new era in fitness and wellness is here.

Graham Melstrand of the American Council on Exercise prepared the content with me and we delivered a webinar that you can watch on the subject here. Thank you Graham and ACE for your support and thanks to the Fitness Industry Technology Council for underwriting the webinar with help of Michael Scott Scudder.

So what do you think about the Affordable Care Act ? Is your business contemplating the impact of the legislation ? Let me know your thoughts and hopefully you will find the content informative.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .