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How Orangetheory Fitness used Canva to scale the global business during COVID

About Orangetheory Fitness

Founded by exercise physiologist Ellen Latham, along with business partners Jerome Kern and David Long, Orangetheory Fitness opened its first studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2010. The business exploded to 1,424 studios in 26 countries in subsequent years and now has studios as far afield as Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, and right across Europe and Asia.

The Orangetheory Fitness one-hour workout was designed with one goal in mind — to give people a longer, more vibrant life. As technology and science evolves, Orangetheory has based their workouts on individual data measured by heart rate monitors designed to stimulate metabolism and increase energy. This allows fitness coaches to provide members with a personalized experience unlike any other.

Orangetheory uses Canva’s Brand Kit to control and access their brand assets

The Challenge

Supercharged global expansion within a supported franchise model meant that the team had to create and oversee vast amounts of branded content. Assets also required localization, which added a considerable amount of requests to the team in a short amount of time as countries like Japan, for example, had totally different social media needs to the US.

Orangetheory’s Social Media Strategy Manager, Jessica Chin Fong, who oversees most of the content creation for corporate and studio channels, explains that before Canva, individual studios would email the marketing team with a specific request, and the marketing team would triage requests and submit to the design team. Designers would create whatever was needed, it would be approved, and it would be delivered to the studios.

Jessica says, “The team was stretched out. The rapid growth of the company was a challenge that required a creative solution, a new tool to help us manage the increasing demands of the booming business.”

Beyond the sheer volume of work, Jessica says that regional studios were hiring local designers to create content and the results were mixed, to say the least.

“When I first started, one of my jobs was to scout social media to find the worst examples of graphic design,” Jessica said.

“Studios were creating their own assets and lack of brand knowledge was diluting our image. There was a lack of consistency on their social channels,” she says.

Orangetheory needed a tool that could support the company's continuous growth.

“It wasn’t really where we wanted to put our resources. We had a top notch creative team, and we wanted to use their skills in creative campaigns and bigger initiatives,” she says.

“When I speak about Canva to the studios, they appreciate the flexibility that Canva offers them”.
Jessica Chin Fong
Social Media Strategy Manager at Orangetheory Fitnesss

The Solution

Jessica says that Canva has been the perfect tool for her team, especially in light of the unusual demands of the past year.

“Canva has allowed us to give our studios flexibility to add their local flair while maintaining brand consistency. It’s also helped us to be nimble and fast, which came in handy after the events of last year,” she said.

The past year saw emergency situations, extreme weather conditions and COVID impact Orangetheory’s studios; circumstances that required a lightning-fast communications response.

“The first category of localization we needed over the past year was for emergency situations,” says Jessica.

During the Black Lives Matter protests and riots, there was violence around some of Orangetheory’s studios. These businesses needed to close for safety reasons so the studios were able to use Canva to create social posts to get that message out.

“The second category was for weather-related issues, like what happened in Texas [with the statewide power outages at the start of 2021].

“The third category was to address the ever-changing mandates due to the pandemic when mask requirements and gym closures differed from state to state,” says Jess.

Beyond these rapid responses to changing circumstances and ad hoc events, Orangetheory also runs national and international campaigns, all of which need content localization.

“The final category that we needed localized content for is global events like Marathon Month and the Transformation Challenge. While we don’t promote competition between members, we do create leaderboard templates to help give people an incentive to stay in the program, as well as certificates of completion. Studios can print event notices with their studio printers to put on their community boards for members who might have missed the social posts.

“Now we create a master template and the studio fills in the details. It’s such an easy solution,” says Jessica.

“All of the design work is already done for them and we maintain some control over the templates. When assets usage rights expire, Canva allows us to set a system in place to pull the assets out of the library. In the past, it was hard to restrict photography usage. Once images had gone into the studio’s dashboards, we had no way of recalling them. Now we put images into a folder and give them an expiration date,” explains Jessica.

Canva also came to Orangetheory’s rescue during COVID restrictions and lockdowns.

“In order to offer the experience our members know and love, we created online live classes. During the pandemic, the need for community support became more important than ever, so the fact that members had access to the coaches they knew and loved, not just any internet coach, was huge. But because every studio had a different set of coaches, every studio needed a different graphic.”

“Creating graphics for all those local classes would have been an enormous undertaking. However, Canva made it as simple as creating a single editable template,” says Jessica.

Quotation mark
"Canva has allowed us to give our studios flexibility to add their local flair while maintaining brand consistency. It's also helped us to be nimble and fast, which came handy after the events of last year."

Jessica Chin Fong

Social Media Strategy Manager at Orangetheory Fitness

The ROI

Beyond the ability to create templates to maintain brand consistency in local markets, Jessica says the social media team is in love with Canva's folder feature.

“We like the ability to organize separate campaigns into folders. This is the best feature. We also appreciate the ability to separate teams into domestic and international because sometimes we need to give the international teams more flexibility for translation,” says Jessica.

Before Canva, the marketing team was receiving hundreds of requests a day from studios in different markets. Because Canva has templates in 23 different languages, the brand team can simply grant access and the local studio teams can work in their preferred language.

“This has saved us so much time. We no longer receive ad hoc requests because we have given the studios the tools they need.

“When I speak about Canva to the studios, they appreciate the flexibility that Canva offers them," says Jessica.

The main win for Orangetheory, however, has been the fact that brand consistency has improved out of sight. No more local designers going rogue with off-brand ‘squeezed orange’ graphics.

“The best thing? We don’t see that many off-brand designs out there anymore,” laughs Jessica.

In the future, the team is excited about exploring animations.

“We currently outsource projects that involve animations but we are exploring bringing some of them in-house with the help of Canva. We’re also interested in exploring using the new infographics for in-the-moment content. It’s good to have the tools available when inspiration strikes and when the team identifies opportunistic content,” says Jessica.

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