Branding Case Study: BQ Fitness

Building A Brand From Scratch for BQ Fitness

This was a fun one! 

One of my clients was launching a personal training business with a difference. As a budding hand balancer and fitness enthusiast myself, I was over the moon at the opportunity to help the vision become a reality.

Meet Jo. Despite a successful corporate career, Jo had never launched or run a business before (which can be very overwhelming when you’re starting). I took a look and I knew that Jo needed a brand and marketing strategy created, as well as a website. She had a fairly strong social media presence but was ready to take the next step.

Down the line (and I’m talking almost a full year later) there was also an exclusive, limited clothing collection to help ideate, create, and launch. Not something I get to do every day, that’s for sure.

I knew it was important to get the brand strategy and identity created first so that the clothing collection, as well as any future collections, would be strong.

Back to Jo.

Jo has a background in engineering and she’s gifted with an analytical, mechanical mind which she uses to approach how she trains her clients. It helps her analyse the movement of her clients and troubleshoot any quirks which have come up from old injuries or movement patterns. It’s a pretty amazing gift and really makes her service stand out from other personal trainers. Essentially, this is what I call her market differentiator for her business – which became very apparent in our sessions together.

Overall, there are three different demographics Jo works with:

  1. Aspiring bodybuilders and high-level athletes, who are super dedicated. With her training, Jo keeps them accountable and shows them how to improve even further. With a background in bodybuilding herself (and more than a few medals to her name), as well as a nutrition qualification, Jo is seriously qualified to train this group.
  2. Older clientele who may have injuries that have stopped them from training. Jo offers guidance and support, to encourage her clients on how to train with an injury, allowing them to not be held back and live a fuller life.
  3. Clients of all ages who are approaching exercise for the first time and who’ve realised they need to take care of their bodies so they can have a higher quality of life.

The problem:

Because it was Jo’s first time in business, she was basically starting from scratch. She needed help with branding, market differentiation, positioning and marketing copy. Personal training is a very crowded space, so I needed to make sure Jo’s brand stood out and represented her personality and approach. This helps create and grow a customer base. All in all, a great thing to work on and a big job.

Our solution:

I worked with Jo to create an overarching brand strategy. If you have no idea what that is…well, it’s a company’s plan for establishing their brand and marketing their products. This includes a company’s look and feel, tone of voice, market strategy and communications. The whole shebang.

Tone of voice

To get under the hood of the business’s personality, I ran a few interactive workshops. This helped me to distil Jo’s philosophy into a brand personality and approach. The brand personality was strong, measured, vibrant and never talked down to its customers.

It was then onto the messaging framework, which is the language and phrasing that appears on your website and other promotional materials – from product to marketing messaging. In summary, it’s the way your brand speaks and sounds across all of its platforms.

Ideal clients

I also needed to know who BQ Fitness was selling to/speaking to, so Jo and I workshopped on the ideal client, using a discovery process to create customer personas. This allows the brand to get super clear on pain points, solutions and marketing messaging. Customer personas give you a picture of who your customer is and what they need from your business. They help you to solve your customer’s problems by prioritising the features and benefits you deliver.

Name and tagline

As part of the brand identity, we worked together to create a meaningful name, brand and tagline. In a world of blurred lines and indistinguishable brands, it’s getting harder to stand out, so I needed to make it catchy and memorable.


The final name and tagline:

BQ Fitness. Move well, be well.


BQ, short for Body Quotient, is aligned to IQ and it’s the logical continuation of intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ). It focuses on the difference between everyone’s bodies and the need for intelligent movement, depending on the requirement for individual cases.  

So now, we knew what it was called, what it did and for who, the brand needed a visual identity to go with the voice! Time to focus on the logo.

As with any design process, there were several iterations of it. Much as my mum tells me my drawings are beautiful, I’m no artist so I sourced some other creatives through my network to step in. A street artist, an illustrator, and a UX designer later, we had exactly what Jo wanted: something clean and modern which embodies the brand perfectly.



Developing and documenting a tone of voice for a brand is probably my favourite part of the branding process, but clients tend to get more excited when there’s something customer-facing as a result of all that work. A website.

Despite a strong social media presence, Jo really needed a website to serve as a home for her brand. Somewhere she could direct potential clients for information on herself, her services, and of course, collect leads.

To create a digital experience in line with Jo’s personality and style, I was careful to keep the copy short and sweet, with a customised form for her contact page.

Check out the full website in PDF (no email required).

A newsletter

The final piece to BQ Fitness’s online presence was a regular newsletter to keep her leads warm and engaged. I came up with ‘The BQ3’ concept which combined education, workout tips, and inspiration, all packaged up in a neat, easily digestible format.

Each newsletter would include:

3 points to improve a major exercise

exercises to be completed as a superset after the main exercise, and

1  question to spark introspection and self-growth.

Although Jo’s list wasn’t massive, we achieved stellar open rates of up to 38.5% for a standard newsletter. (Check one out here.) The opt-in delivery email I created for her currently has an open rate of 44.8% and a clickthrough rate of 6.3%.


A year later, once the brand identity was in place and BQ Fitness was securing clients and growing as a business, Jo approached me to work on an apparel line. The brief here was to create a concept for the clothing, creating a name and sub-brand identity, as well as coming up with a selection of quotes/taglines to be printed on the clothes.

Naming and concepting the collection had me sitting with Jo again for a couple of workshops, going back to the brand essentials, values, figuring out the story she wanted to tell, and looking at other brands she liked for inspiration.

The Neverfail Collection
“The Neverfail collection is all about two things: motivation and celebration. It’s the motivation to keep going when you think you can’t, and taking a moment to look back and celebrate how far you’ve come. Each item in this collection is designed to be physically comfortable and mentally motivating.”

The final quote list, with sentences to be used in the product descriptions:

Neverfail. What’s your story? Every single one of us has overcome challenges, especially in the past year. Be proud of what you’ve overcome. Share your story.

Better than last week. It feels good to look at the big picture but progress is made in tiny steps day by day. All you have to aim for is to be better than last week.

No rep wasted. This shirt is a reminder that every single rep you do shifts your closer to your goal- so make it count.

Energy in. Reps out. This is more than ‘calories in/energy out’. This is your mental energy, your discipline, your goal. Whatever it is that drives you, transform that energy into reps.

Beat your limit. Your main competition is yourself! Whatever you think your limit is, do a tiny bit more.

Try again. Lift it again. Not every attempt feels like a good one, but it’s only a failure if you don’t keep trying. You can do it.

Once I had worked on the look/feel and brand approach, Jo was ready to bring the clothes to life with a photoshoot. It was imperative that the clothing and photoshoot aligned with brand aesthetics and design, so Jo kept me around throughout the process as a gatekeeper of the brand.


The benefits:

From my previous work, I know that the best way to improve a brand’s visibility is by creating a memorable online presence and making it stand out– much easier with a strong brand strategy and well-defined tone of voice.

Creating a personality for the brand came from an understanding of who Jo is and what she wanted to achieve. I had to go deep to create these building blocks of a brand.

A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that combine to influence consumer’s choices. It has to be strong and it has to be consistent, otherwise, people just won’t care.

Overall, this strong foundational work has helped the business reach and acquire customers! BQ Fitness also has a whopping 2750 followers on Instagram because of the strength of the brand, its positioning and communications consistency. Not bad for a baby brand.

Some of the most important work was the customer personas, as it helped me understand exactly what the emotional benefits were from solving the pain points for them as a business. Using this psychological approach allowed me to tailor the marketing messages to that particular person. This is why BQ Fitness has such success on social media and customer growth. Not only does the brand look and sound amazing, but it also speaks to the needs of its customers and just gets them.


Sound like something you need?

As a startup, you have limited time in the market to prove your product. The best product in the world will fail if the messaging doesn’t hit the right spot!

Let me take some of the pressure off and help you build, grow, and scale your brand from scratch.

My speciality lies in developing your verbal branding and content. If you need help with design and build,  I have trusted people I like to work with. I’d be happy to put you in touch!

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