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The Wellness Institute Case Analysis
Roughly 29% of people in the geographic area surrounding the Institute had participated in an Institute program or service at some point. Approximately 85% of them were currently members at other facilities. Membership at the Institute grew by 8.1% from 2009-11, then dropped by 7% in 2011-12 and remained stable since then. The majority of members were aged 60 and over. The majority of survey respondents were female, between 55 and 64 years of age, and 29% of respondents had been members for over 10 years.
The Institute worked in partnership with the Hospital to which it was physically attached, making it the only non-profit wellness center attached to a hospital. The institution has a reputation for innovation and excellence and in 2005 won the Medical Fitness Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. The Institute included an 80,000 square foot fitness facility with state-of-the-art equipment and classes.
Too many diverse offerings made it difficult to communicate with its community members about who it was and what it did. The Institute lacked a consistent message about who they were and caused confusion among stakeholders. Different programs were using inconsistent logos. The staff at the Institute did not have proper training, experience or time to conduct a branding strategy.
Execution of branding strategy will provide increased staff satisfaction and retention, external awareness and understanding of the value of the organization, and overall improved organizational and employee performance.
The main barrier for new entrants into the Institute was cost. The market included, but was not limited to, The Rady Jewish Community Centre and the YMCA. Other commercial fitness facilities in its geographic area included Goodlife Fitness, Snap Fitness, Shapes Fitness, the Winnipeg Winter Club, and local community centers.
It is crucial that Nishi goes ahead with the branding exercise. Any organization needs to be consistent with their logos and internal contingencies (mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategy, etc.) if it wants to succeed. The Institute has an extremely small share of consumers in the wellness center market and it has been declining in the past 2 years. There is far too much competition in the market for the Institute to not have a consistent brand. If the Institute does not implement this branding exercise, then it will see its market share decline even more to the point that the organization will be losing money. In order to get the stakeholders on board, Nishi needs to explain to the stakeholders that approximately 85% of the respondents to her survey were members at other facilities. This clearly states a need for the service that the Institute provides in the market; however, without a clear and unified message or brand, the Institute will never be able to recruit and retain additional members. Survey respondents also said that in order to attract them to become members, the Institute needed to lower prices and advertise more and provide more information. These were the top two answers after no answer responses. The need is present in the market, but the Institute has not been successful in making their presence known due to the lack of having a consistent brand. Considering the survey conducted with the staff, a majority of them are happy to work there and feel proud and a sense of accomplishment from their work. These numbers will increase once the Institute has a focused and clear sense of direction within the organization.
Pros: Spending money on a branding exercise will be of great value to the Institute because it will increase customer membership and retention and increase employee satisfaction and retention.
Cons: Conducting a branding exercise can be very expensive considering there is a need to restructure the organization and creating a new logo that will unify all programs and services that the Institute has to offer. It can also be time-consuming in training employees on the new brand identity. But these challenges are worth taking because it will greatly benefit the Institute in the long run by increasing brand awareness, customer membership and retention, and employee satisfaction and retention.
Another alternative is to not go ahead with the branding exercise, but lower the cost of the services that the Institute provides. As mentioned previously, survey respondents indicated that high prices were the most frequent answer to why consumers were not attracted to become members at the Institute. Lowering the prices will provide some incentive to consumers to consider becoming members at the Institute over other competitors in the market. This may seem like a good and cheap alternative to the branding exercise; however, it is highly recommended to avoid taking this route because lowering the prices can negatively affect the brand’s image to some consumers by making them think that they have less value than they did before. It is also not very sustainable since the Institute does have fixed costs and this alternative reduces the profits that can potentially be made, even if all the proceeds are reinvested back into the Institute. Although this is one alternative, it is highly recommended to take the first recommended action over this one.
Pros: The Institute does not have to spend a lot of money on a branding exercise that will require capital and time to train employees.
Cons: The Institute’s brand image will be negatively affected. Consumers may see the Institute as providing less value than before if prices are reduced. Profits will be sliced if prices are reduced.
The Institute’s target market does not have a full awareness of who the Institute is and the many different offerings it has. Casie Nishi needs to determine if there is enough value in having the Institute take part in a branding exercise.