Here’s How Cult.fit’s Franchise Model Attracts New Customers

Abhishek Kumar Singh
Abhishek Kumar Singh Sep 21 2021 - 6 min read
Here’s How Cult.fit’s Franchise Model Attracts New Customers
Cult.fit adopts a 360-degree marketing approach which comprises a blend of digital and social media, radio, and print, etc

Cult.fit has come a long way since inception. Over the last four years, the fitness company has grown to offer seamless customer experiences to people. It has managed to grow exponentially and made its offline presence known in over 20 cities. Now, it is looking to drive this further by leveraging the franchise model to dig deeper into other markets.

As the pandemic hit India, the company had to pivot to digital fitness offerings to tide over the lockdown. This has proven to be a catalyst for the company. Their online fitness model not only allowed them to reach a wider audience but also create a demand post-lockdown for cult.fit centres and gyms in these markets where it had yet to cement a physical presence. Now, it is confident of its success using the franchise approach and has decided to expand its fitness centres across the country.

“Throughout the process, selection of the right partner has been extremely important in ensuring a consistent customer experience overall,” Sachin Kotangale from Leadership Team of Cult.fit stated.

Using a 360 Marketing Approach

Cult.fit’s marketing strategy is cohesive and includes an integrated approach ranging from traditional to influencer marketing. The homegrown fitness startup does collaborations with influencers and celebrities to extensively talk about the brand and its services. In addition, it adopts a 360-degree marketing approach to distribute its compelling video assets which comprises a blend of digital, social media, radio, print, etc. Before the pandemic, it used several on-ground activations in apartments, supermarkets etc. to drive visibility of its centres.

Building a Hybrid Business Model

The fitness industry transitioned owing to the pandemic, thus, creating new learning for fitness companies. Cult.fit utilized its insights and created a hybrid approach for its business.

“Our offline centres have always been popular and we are already seeing traction return as gyms open up everywhere. Working out at a Cult.fit centre is something our users have missed and are now eager to return to. However, the pandemic has also made digital fitness extremely relevant,” Kotangale shared.

The company believes that its users are now realizing advantages of digital fitness and will continue employing its online product to work out from home –especially in areas where it does not have a physical presence yet. There is another division of users, who seek a blend of offline and online workouts based on their convenience.

Keeping in mind users’ needs, the fitness startup has adopted a hybrid model that will facilitate it in sustaining and thriving in the industry. Apart from shoring up business expansion and getting new fitness centres off the ground, it is equally scaling up digital offerings throughout India and the globe.

This hybrid approach will help the company to expedite in the fitness realm. It is a combination of online and offline services, helps customers constantly get better services despite the pandemic and other adversaries. In the pre-pandemic phase, its offline centres were popular and have gained more traction now. As gyms have opened, people have started coming back to its fitness centres.

An Alluring Business Model

The company has developed a Franchise-Owned and Franchise-Operated (FOFO) model. Under this model, people with an entrepreneurial spirit and inclination towards running a fitness business can take up a Cult.fit franchise license to operate a Cult Centre or a Cult Gym.

The total investment to set up is less than INR 1 crore, including the franchise fee. It is convenient to operate a centre using the tech-enabled partner platform that the company offers. Moreover, a dedicated team provides continuous support to partners in running operations. The team works closely with partners to drive growth and provide support through digital marketing and national brand campaigns.

Cult.fit has been a digital-first company since it was established; therefore, it used its digital pivot as a means to face the pandemic. Despite the temporary closing down of its physical gyms, the company saw traction towards its online products. Now, even as gyms are open, the company’s hybrid approach will help focus on expanding both its online and offline businesses.

Combating the Pandemic

The pandemic has changed people’s mindset regarding fitness and also, affected the fitness sector in many ways. Over the last year, the fitness industry has rapidly evolved and birthed significant trends. Despite the adversity, the company coped up with the changing times and has incorporated those changes into its system. As a result, offline centres were replaced by online workout sessions which resulted in a spike in the company’s audience base. It also initiated online personal training, which attracted new customers and helped retain the older ones. Adding tech innovation to the platform – including gamification features such as live energy meters and class ranking has helped the company make online workouts interactive.

The company is adhering to the government norms and thus, has reopened its centres across India. It is using a stringent safety and hygiene protocol for the offline centres called Cult CARES which stands for:

C - Controlled access

A - Allotted workstations with sanitized equipment

R - Replacing common touch-points with touchless set-ups

E - Extensive Sanitization

S - Social Distancing at all times

This ensures that the company can prioritise the health and safety of its customers and its employees. It has also organised successful vaccination drives for its trainers, on-ground staff, company employees, and its members. This has been a key aspect for the firm to continue growing despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Planning Ahead

The company aims to accelerate its operations and amplify its presence across the nation. To facilitate this, it will be employing the FOFO model that will aid in widening its reach. While setting up new centres, it will deepen its rapport with existing partners and onboard new partners to venture in new cities and increase penetration in existing cities.

The stride of this fitness startup proves how effectively it is dealing with the ongoing health crisis. With its hybrid approach, it will manage to overcome other hurdles in the business race.


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