As a marketer, I know the value of a name. Fair or not, the success of a business can be tied to what it calls itself. Lots of money is spent on research and surveys to determine the best names for companies and products. It is definitely not a decision to be taken lightly.
With such a premium placed on names, perhaps there is nothing more valuable than a business that already has a name that is established and resonates with its customers. For these lucky entities, the thought of ever changing the core of its identity is preposterous.
Unless it is practically forced to.
One of the saddest examples of a strong-arm campaign to force a name change impacted a local business I frequent several times a week. Gold’s Gym in Myrtle Beach, at least under its old name, is no longer. After 37 years of association with the famous gym chain, our area location was left with little choice but to switch to a new name. More on the updated moniker in a minute, but first a quick explanation on what caused the switch…
Of course I don’t know all the details, but it boiled down to this: Corporate wanted the Myrtle Beach Gold’s Gym to move to a new location to encourage growth. The gym has been located on Jason Blvd. since 1989, tucked off of the intersection of Mr. Joe White Avenue and U.S. 17. Perhaps a little hidden, the location never stopped locals and tourists alike from gravitating to the old building with brick on the walls outside and 1980s depictions of body builders on the walls inside.
Ah yes, nothing in the area has ever compared to the former Gold’s Gym. A true throwback in every sense of the word, the location has always delivered a no-frills but fitness-centric experience. Tourists made pilgrimages to the place based on word-of-mouth and online reviews. Simply look the gym up by its location on Instagram and see the special connection it has with so many people across the country. The name drew people to the place but the experience kept them coming back.
I do worry that the hook is now gone. The Gold’s Gym name is, well, at least in the fitness world, golden. To have this identity stripped is a blow. There is a correlation between fitness buffs who love the beach and Gold’s Gym. What will happen now that the name is no longer? Even from a personal standpoint, I am bummed. I took pride in telling people that I frequent Gold’s Gym, even though I don’t necessarily fit the hardcore “pumping iron” persona it is so well known for. I respected the history and tradition of the chain.
But to be honest, I respect the history and tradition of the individual gym I attend at 4 a.m. more than the corporate baloney. Gold’s Gym or not, I have grown to love the friendly and clean exercise facility on Jason Blvd. I have the utmost respect for the owners who maintain the 24/7 operation and the people who exercise there. I appreciate the vibe and community-feel that is evident whenever I walk through the doors. I am so thankful that I have a place to exercise that allows me to get in early and return home before my daughter wakes up.
I am over Gold’s Gym. Way to go, Nancy and Tedd, for not taking caving to unrealistic demands. I am excited to be part of Iron Legacy Gym and will continue to support it no matter what –– fancy name or not. Don’t Blink.