Celebrations are in order as fitness fan favourite iLoveKickboxing hits an incredible milestone this fall: 10 years. In the decade since the boutique kickboxing studio hit the scene, it’s amassed an unmatched loyal following and opened more than 80 franchise locations—on top of that, it navigated and overcame the challenges of a global pandemic.
While the circumstances of the past few years knocked many fitness businesses off their feet, iLoveKickboxing, or ILKB, has only come back stronger, learning from and adapting to the changes it’s faced. With an open mind and listening ears, the company continues evolving to best serve its customers at both the corporate and franchise level. With a recent rebranding under its belt and a more solid foundation than ever, ILKB is ready to kick off another 10 years of growth, customer connections, and rolling with the punches.
Carving out a niche by combining grace and grit
As one of the first kickboxing franchises, ILKB has been on a mission to bring its high-energy cardio and resistance workouts to a unique and diverse audience since the beginning. Unlike traditional or elite kickboxing studios, which are often associated with dark gyms, intense workouts, complicated combinations, and experienced athletes, ILKB has positioned itself differently in the market. Initially branding itself as a place for moms, namely those whose kids practised martial arts, the franchise has expanded its target market to include women and men who seek an approachable opportunity to make kickboxing part of their wellness routine.
“We bring an intersection of boutique studios to that traditional kickboxing space and really find the balance of grit and grace in the offerings that we’re doing,” says ILKB Chief Marketing Officer Jenell Riesner. “We didn’t want to lose the grit that comes with kickboxing, but we did want it to be lighter, more fun, brighter, and more inviting for a different demographic to get involved.”
With approachability as a core value, ILKB’s classes became a melting pot of customers with varying levels of fitness backgrounds and experience. From first-time visitors who would’ve never imagined calling themselves a kickboxer, to long-time members, everyone can find a physically challenging workout on the mat—and a safe space to discover their own strength.
Reducing friction in the consumer journey with Mindbody
For iLoveKickboxing, it’s critical to make it as painless as possible for customers to get in the door and onto the mat. Ensuring their branding and physical studios present an inviting, inclusive environment is one crucial part of this goal. But just as important are their customer communications and digital experiences—that’s where Mindbody Marketing Suite and ILKB’s personalized, branded mobile app play a major role.
The automation and workflow capabilities of Marketing Suite allow ILKB to ensure its customers always receive the right information and messaging at the right time. For Riesner, this is especially important when it comes to serving first-time visitors and those new to kickboxing classes. ILKB studios average double digit growth of net new members monthly, and with automated emails and sophisticated segmentation, ILKB franchisees can send personalized emails, tailored to where customers are in their journey—with assets created for them at the corporate level.
iLoveKickboxing's branded mobile app, created for them by Mindbody, has also been instrumental in streamlining the customer journey. Knowing the majority of digital interactions with their consumer base occurred on cell phones, building an ILKB-branded, mobile-optimized app to meet customers where they already were was a no-brainer. Through the app, members can easily view schedules, book and reschedule classes, and shop merchandise all through the channel they’re most familiar with.
“Our goal is to reduce the amount of friction they have in their life, anything that’s preventing them from getting into the studio, from investing in and focusing on themselves,” says Riesner. “We do our best to make sure whatever is in our control, we can make it easier—and the app is one of the ways we do that.”
Making the most of the franchise model
With dozens of franchise locations across the country, iLoveKickboxing needed a technology partner that could unite each studio under one brand and scale with them as they continue growing. At the corporate level, the business sought a more detailed view into the analytical data of individual locations, beyond simply revenue. And at the studio level, managers needed the support that would allow them to focus more on customers and building community. Through Mindbody, all of this has been possible as the company has consistently grown by an average of 3% to 6% month-over-month since partnering.
Mindbody software bridges the corporate team and franchisees, allowing for greater visibility into the performance of studios, which in turn has made it easier for ILKB leadership to make decisions and improvements that benefit everyone. With tools and features designed to support their franchise model, ILKB has been able to boost consistency among studio locations and give individual studio owners the tools they need to grow their businesses without the pressure of building their own operational plans, marketing assets, and more.
What’s in store for the next 10 years?
Like the vibe of their studios, the future of iLoveKickboxing is bright. With fresh new branding, a penchant for growth, and an eye for innovative technology, ILKB is kicking off its next decade with incredible energy. After months of rebuilding post-pandemic, the ILKB roadmap is focused on expanding its footprint with locations in the United States and Canada in the years to come, with a goal of increasing existing studio revenues by 5% monthly. As ILKB continues to identify new ways to provide its members value on and off the mat, Mindbody is proud to remain a partner.