For Facility Managers

getting out there

In all the places I've lived over the years (US, Canada, Namibia, Kenya, Madagascar, Egypt and Cambodia) there are several products out there which are EVERYWHERE! Take for example Coke. I've never lived anywhere where I couldn't get a coke...including on the border of Angola in Namibia months after their independence. I could get a coke if I wanted it - cheap...and often warm, but a coke nonetheless, and it was easy to order despite my limited knowledge of Ndonga. Same with Kleenex, Oreo Cookies, Pringles chips and Wriggley's chewing gum. I remember, regarding Wriggleys gum, being told that advertising is like a freight engine...it only lasts as long as you give it fuel - you have to protect the name and continue to drive it to make it a household word. And regarding Pringles? They said they are a "potato snack" - not a potato chip. Okay, whatever, but they clearly had to distinguish themselves, right down to how they were packaged. Everyone gets that, right? I found all of these products even in Madagascar...where we couldn't even buy disposable diapers at the time! Anyway, two things come to mind this morning as I take a break from my road cycling to recover from the fatigue of over-training... If you have a name, you need to protect it and you need to get it out there. I recently let the people at Spinning know that I was concerned about a local gym calling their classes "Spin" - when I know for a fact that I am the only one in town. I want a good relationship with this gym, not a hostile one, so I asked "Spinning" what to do and they said that their legal dept. has an approach for businesses who steal their protected name. Having this as a back up gave me the courage to just lay it on the line and ask the management to drop the word Spin, except where it comes to promoting the classes I deliver. The message seems to have gotten through and they'll go with 'indoor cycling.' hoorah. Still there is more to be done, however. I got wind of the US embassy offering a Health and Wellness fair in March with 25 vendors from the health sector and they listed them all - medical clincs, dentists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, health food groups...even a dog groomer!!! But there were no personal trainers or fitness people listed. So I asked if I could run a booth. I could use this as a totally self promoting thing, but I took it a step further. I have contacted all the fitness pros I can find in town and have asked them to meet with me so we could have some sort of loose affiliation. Many of us share clients for various things, but we have never met. I like cohesiveness. Independence, sure, but having a competent network of like-minded pros just seems smart. I am hopeful that we can work together and "man a booth" at the Embassy Health Fair - and you can be sure my Spinning® facility brochures will be there. For me it's all about professionalism - protecting the name from blatant theft which could tarnish the brand with recklessness, and not being the town's "best kept secret." I had approached the US embassy about hosting the Spinning Nation, but they have too much going on, apparently. Got the same answer last year. I clearly need to fuel this freight train a little better for next year!
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