branding, business, Entrepreneurship, home gym, marketing, Startups

How Home Workout Solutions Tonal and Peloton Are the Gyms of the Future

Tonal and Peloton are two new home gym alternatives that allow you to bike, run and do other cardio and strength training from the comfort of your own home.

Tonal offers a lot more in terms of being a viable substitute for an actual gym membership (if you lift weights) while Peloton is more cardio-based.

Peloton has a bike or treadmill option complete with interactive workouts featuring instructors from all over the world. They also have some options for strength training, but appear very limited in the range of exercises you can actually perform.

Tonal offers a digital weight system that allows you to tap a screen to add or decrease weight, complete with cables which make it possible for you to perform most exercises.

As a full-service home gym, it should come as no shock that Tonal isn’t cheap. The system goes for $2,995, or you can pay in a series of monthly installments.

Neither company does a great job of explaining what you can and can’t do nor do they go into much detail about their products.

Both are very new startups, and Tonal purchases outside of California require you to make a reservation. It’s not available when the expected delivery is, or how long the waitlist is.

From a quick look at both sites, neither seem totally worth it.

The only one I could see being worth it (after paying off a mountain of bills) would be Tonal.

Peloton is basically a REALLY expensive bike or treadmill. Yes, they have instructors, but you can get that at any gym.

Where Peloton makes up some ground is by allowing you to stream workout classes, however that is not included with any of the bike packages. Peloton’s streaming package is $39 per month.

It sure beats the hell out of your normal gym alternative, but doesn’t do enough to replace your workout (if you do more than ride the bike or run) to justify the hefty price tag ($2,200-2,700).

I guess these are products for the rich, but they’re certainly not marketed that way.

Tonal is more of a product that you could legitimately consider and be able to wrap your head around from an ROI perspective. A $50 monthly gym membership would put you out $600 per year.

So, if Tonal could meet all of your gym needs, you would essentially have a home gym for life while only paying a gym-equivalent fee for five years.

In the wild west of home and virtual gyms, I’d rather wait and see how these things do for a few years before getting tied down with a pricey investment.

Besides, in a world of vastly evolving technology, who knows what will be around in 3-5 years.

Unless you’re rich, I’d keep the gym membership for now.

branding, business, marketing

When A Re-Brand is Necessary

Companies change names, but they shouldn’t

Every so often, you see a company “re-branding” with a different name.A few in recent memory include Ernst & Young simplifying to become “EY” and Dunkin’ Donuts dropping the “donuts”, one of their main offerings outside of coffee.

Why brands choose to change names can at times be a mystery, and also involves a lengthy process of hiring a naming consultant and recurring board meetings and approvals. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

My opinion is that more often than not, it doesn’t work. And the reasoning doesn’t have so much to do with pursuing the wrong name change or alienating customers, as it does to do with why the name change was initiated in the first place: not enough customers or profits coming in.

If you have a shortage of consistent customers or are having difficulty selling, sometimes the name is the problem. “People don’t know what we’reselling” or “our name doesn’t make it obvious what we do” are common gripes.

It is fair to say that if your customers don’t know what industry you’re in or what you sell, that a more relevant and recognizable name change could help.

However, I would argue that the reason people don’t know what you do is because you don’t have consistent messaging in your marketing and advertising efforts, and as a corollary you aren’t reaching your target audience.

Finding your target audience on the channels where they consume content and advertising to them (social media sites, industry sites/publications, etc) are a good place to start.

Another reason a name change doesn’t work is because of branding itself. They are not fearing a lack of customers or profits, they’re just getting greedy (see: Dunkins).

This is entirely opinion and speculation, but Dunkins’ name change to me is an effort to get away from their coffee-and-donut-on-the-run specialty that they’ve made into a monopoly.

Instead, it gives them the right to go in different directions, like a wider lunch menu and a more diverse offering overall. Before, a premium-priced frappe or avocado melt would’ve seemed absurd for them considering their target demo and breakfast chain brand.

Now, they are free to go after whatever they want without repercussions. Not a terrible move, and I don’t think they’ll lose many (if any) customers over it, but in an industry like theirs my advice is simple:

Do one (or a couple things well) and stick to it (the whole coffee and donuts/breakfast sandwiches thing satisfied that).

In an era where everyone wants to be everything, you’re better off just being yourself. There’s nothing wrong with being the industry leader, and being nimbler isn’t always better.

What about EY? My thoughts are that was an effort to appeal to a younger demographic and create the image of an old-school company willing to shake things up (and to become less nauseating to say).

So whether you’re EY or Dunkins’, whether you lack profitability or feel like you’re missing your niche, don’t change your name. Go back to the drawing board, make it clearer what you’re selling and meet your target audience where they are.

Oh, and maybe create a better product. If your product sucks, your name change won’t save you. Then, if all else fails, change your name.

What’s Next?

  • Tonal Profile: The Smart Gym Start-Up
  • Is Getting your MBA Worth It?