Brand Strategy / 03.14.2018

Grafik and Merritt Clubs recognized with 2018 REBRAND 100® Global Distinction Award

Grafik, a Washington, DC metro area-based branding and digital marketing agency, and Merritt Clubs, an affiliate of Merritt Companies, today announced its joint receipt of the prestigious REBRAND 100® Global Award for their collaborative efforts in successfully positioning and rebranding the Baltimore-based fitness club. This highly respected biennial competition, judged by a panel of international business, marketing and design executives, showcases the world’s most effective brand transformations through its evaluation of design and measurable results.

Merritt Companies engaged Grafik in 2017 to align its three distinct organizations—Merritt Clubs, Merritt Properties and Merritt Construction Services—under a singular vision of delivering uncompromising service. The rebrand of Merritt Clubs focused on better expressing and distinguishing its bold and vibrant connection to the Baltimore, MD community. A strategic transition from the name “Merritt Athletic Clubs” to the more inclusive “Merritt Clubs”—followed by a reimagined logo, a new mantra, visual identity, and website—have helped underscore the company’s value to both prospective and existing members and employees.

“We chose to work with Grafik because of its unparalleled creative eye and strategic, business-driven approach to branding,” said Donyel Cerceo, Marketing Director of Merritt Clubs. “We have always been focused on the well-being of our members, and Grafik captured the spirit of our clubs. The rebrand and new website are allowing us to create a stronger, more personal experience for them.”

Health clubs have come a long way since the days of a warehouse space with rows of machines. They have matured in their settings—and their marketing. For the Merritt Clubs rebrand, Grafik leveraged member surveys, market research, and online analytics to inform user experience personas that cover the entire gamut of potential members, both in the city of Baltimore and surrounding counties. The new identity underscores Merritt Clubs’ brand personality and family-friendly clubs and the new website experience makes it easy to quickly surface relevant classes and activities for each persona, and targeted offers are tested continually to achieve the best response from visitors.

“Merritt Clubs is a great example of what a true rebrand looks like. When work is grounded in research and strategy, the final product is an authentic, timeless, and effective foundation that supports business and drives tangible results,” said Lance Wain, President and CEO of Grafik. “We are a proud partner of the Merritt Companies and are elated to share in this award with Merritt Clubs.”

New Merritt Clubs Brand Driving Record Results

The new Merritt Clubs brand debuted January 2017 and year-over-year lead growth is up 39%; website visitors up 37%; page views up 28%. With this increased engagement, the average cost per lead and per sale have decreased dramatically, and marketing has gone from influencing just 13% of overall sales to 41% of overall sales. With member engagement and club visits up as well, the future looks bright for record renewals, as utilization is an indicator of likely membership renewal.

Rebrand Part of a Larger Strategic Branding Initiative for Merritt Companies

The rebranding of Merritt Clubs was part of a broader strategic branding initiative for Merritt Companies which included Merritt Properties and Merritt Construction Services. From customer service and ethics, to empowering employees to make decisions in the best interest of customers, Merritt Construction Services, Merritt Properties, and Merritt Clubs share a singular vision to build long term relationships with their customers, delivering beyond what they expect, or the industry demands.

While the three companies have a clear connection in terms of services, the overall look and feel didn’t adequately communicate that singular vision. To address this challenge, Grafik established a framework and brand architecture for a more consistent marketing of their three individual companies. This created a cohesive corporate identity, including a bold new logo system tying all the brands together.

About Merritt Clubs:

Merritt Clubs currently has more than 37,000 members who enjoy 24-hour access to locations in downtown Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs. Each location offers individual and group fitness programs including personal trainers, world-class Les Mills programs, weight facilities as well as specific amenities designed to meet the needs of the local community. Three locations feature state-of-the-art swimming facilities, and offer classes through the Michael Phelps Swim School.

About REBRAND 100®:

REBRAND recognizes the impact of strategy and creative efforts by noting standout improvements to website performance, return on marketing investment, and sales attribution. The REBRAND 100 Global awards are juried by a multidisciplinary panel of prominent, international experts. Other notable REBRAND 100 Global award winners include national and global brands such as Seimens, SAP, McAfee, Grant Thornton, Hawaiian Airlines, and AT&T. For more information, click here.

Check out the full story of our successful partnership with Merritt Clubs here!

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