Fitnet gets noticed by getting its geek on

Fitness app leverages buzz around wearable tech and CES

Fitnet gets noticed by getting its geek on

Client: Fitnet (Blacksburg, Virginia)
Agency: AR|PR (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Campaign: CES 2014
Duration: November 2014 - January 2015
Budget: $12,000

Fitnet is a fitness app that launched January 1, 2014. Among its unique characteristics are customizable workouts with live trainers and biometric sensor scoring and feedback given to users during workouts.

The app was born from the need of Virginia-based software engineer and serial entrepreneur Bob Summers to stay in touch with his trainer while traveling back and forth to Silicon Valley.

For this year’s CES, the company and AR|PR, its AOR, ran a campaign to drive awareness and downloads, attract investors, and announce a new feature.

"Our primary goal is reaching a consumer audience, and fitness is a growing segment at CES," says Summers, founder and chief geek. "We weren’t at CES 2014, but there was a massive surge in wearable and fitness technology at that show, and a lot of follow-on press around it. This year we wanted to be part of the fitness tech conversation coming out of CES. We also wanted to participate in something around the New Year, which is when fitness goals are re-evaluated."

The agency’s three-fold messaging strategy targeted consumers, fitness trainers, and the health IT sector. Media outreach, direct interaction with CES attendees, and social media engagement drove the messages. 

"We focused on b-to-c, but we wanted to communicate Fitnet’s entire story," says agency VP Blair Broussard. "So it was important to reach clients who would use the app, as well as trainers who could expand their business through the app, and to communicate the story of how the app benefits the health industry."

Highlighting and celebrating Fitnet’s "geeky" brand identity at the show helped garner attention and cement brand awareness.

"The Fitnet team is primarily made up of engineers," Summers explains. "We’re bringing a lot of code and ‘geeky’ things into the fitness category, which tends not to be seen as a geeky category."

Beginning in December, the agency reached out to top-tier general consumer, tech, and health media outlets that would attend CES to schedule in-booth interviews.

A press release announcing the launch of Fitnet Script, which allows trainers to upload five-minute workout videos to the app for their clients' use, was issued one week before the show. The release invited media to Fitnet’s CES booth for demonstrations.

The team produced a 30-second pitch video and a short business profile. Both were distributed to show attendees in partnership with CES. 

Two trainers lead short workouts in the booth every half hour.

Playing to Fitnet’s brand identity, agency and Fitnet representatives wore large geeky glasses and geeky outfits, including tights, socks, and branded headbands in bright orange (the brand’s signature color) in the booth and on the floor throughout the show.

Free headbands were given away to show attendees who retweeted #FlockForFitness as well as to everyone who came to the booth for a full app demo.

Pre-planned content, including general fitness trivia questions, was posted to Fitnet’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ audiences leading up to and throughout the show. 

The team also posted live to Facebook and Twitter during the show. Live posts included photos of people working out in the booth and getting app demonstrations. 

A total of $100 was spent on promoted Twitter posts to help boost reach during the show.

App downloads in January jumped 128% compared December 2014.

"Our expectations were exceeded on several fronts, including the surge in downloads, social media engagement, and media reach," Summers says. " [representatives] met us at CES and later named Fitnet the number one app for 2015 ahead of many of our big competitors. That was huge for us."

One thousand headbands were claimed.

Social media engagement skyrocketed past the goal of a 50% bump on Facebook and Twitter combined. Comparing the week of January 5 to the previous week, Facebook engagement increased 703% with likes up 750%. Twitter engagement climbed 560% with followers increasing by 141%).

Between January 5 and 19 traffic to was up 50% compared to the previous 15-day period.

More than 20 media outlets visited the booth (the goal was five to 10). Fifteen original stories ran in outlets such as VentureBeat, International Business Times, WebMD, Fox, and American Fitness.

The team continues to focus on driving consumer messaging and is considering attending additional tradeshows this year.

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