Jenna Hauca scored her dream job as Barry’s vice president of digital and tech in 2018. “I was a die-hard client at the Chelsea location in New York City,” she says. “Most of us on the leadership team were loyal clients before we were hired.”
That kind of community and passion is central to the Barry’s brand. Previously known as Barry’s Bootcamp, it was one of the first group fitness studios on the scene when it opened its West Hollywood doors in 1998. Today, you’ll find studios across the U.S., as well as in Paris, Sydney, London, and other cities around the world.
But the pandemic also demanded a true pivot to digital, which was a big deal for a fitness business that prides itself on in-person interactions, giving way to a brand evolution lots of professionals can learn from.
Here, Hauca, now senior vice president of digital and marketing, tells Wix Fit how Barry’s translated their premium studio offerings to screens around the world and why your brand is so much more than its physical location. She also shares her advice on pivoting both quickly and strategically.
Put your clients first in a crisis.
“We’re a global fitness business with over 80 studios worldwide, and we had to close them essentially overnight. We’d never prioritized a digital product before, but we decided very quickly that we needed a way to connect people virtually and bring an at-home workout concept to life, and it needed to retain the mission, vision and values of our in-studio experience.
By early April, we developed a product that, at the time, was known as Barry’s At Home. It was Zoom-based and took about three weeks to launch. It was truly magic to bring people together digitally when they couldn’t be together in person. People were isolated, and we wanted our clients to have a sense of normalcy in a traumatic time, so we launched that product very quickly. It was hectic but important, and I will never forget that time in my life.”
Then, think deeply about your long-term goals.
“Literally the day after launching Barry’s At Home, we went back to the drawing board to devise a long-term product that felt more exclusive to our brand.
It took roughly 18 months to develop Barry’s X, a membership-based app clients can access on their mobile devices and desktops. It’s also available on FORME, a mirror-based home gym. FORME was such an appealing partnership because they’re in the vertical screen market, which is an elevated way to consume a piece of Barry’s content at home. This partnership also helps us expose more people to our workout, because a Barry’s X subscription comes with a FORME purchase.”
Know your constants when everything else changes.
“Barry’s has always been known for our treadmill and strength-based workouts and signature Red Room studios, dimly lit studios that create a complete atmosphere and vibe. But our brand is so much more than that—it’s a strong community with a clear set of values.
Two of the values we lean into the hardest are family and fun, and that’s on every platform. For example, we call our network the Fit Fam, and we encourage friends to take classes together at the same time to promote true engagement.
Ultimately, we have a really strong sense of self-awareness as a brand. We know what our values are and what makes us special, and all of our decisions ladder up to these values. There are going to be a lot of bright shiny objects and things competitors are doing. But at the end of the day, you need to know who you are as a brand and keep that as your north star.”