David Lloyd

The problem


David Lloyd Clubs was facing a tough challenge. Under new ownership, they needed to reverse a long-term decline in membership numbers. They were struggling with two main issues: they weren’t getting enough new members, and existing members were leaving.

We did some digging and uncovered a few reasons for this:

  • More relevant competitors were popping up
  • People have less free time for leisure activities
  • David Lloyd Clubs had a reputation for being expensive and past its best
  • People didn’t realise how much the clubs actually offered

The new owners needed to turn things around quickly if they wanted to meet their objectives and make the business profitable again.

Our solution


We rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Here’s what we did, step by step:

Insight gathering

We started with a thorough research programme. This included:

  • Looking into industry trends
  • Analysing existing research
  • Carrying out extensive qualitative and quantitative research

We talked to a wide range of people – from stakeholders to customers to potential members. We wanted to understand their needs and expectations, evaluate the current experience, and explore potential new directions for the brand.

Brand Definition

Using all this insight, we developed a new brand vision for David Lloyd Clubs. We:

  • Identified potential territories the brand could occupy
  • Tested these ideas with consumers
  • Used the feedback to develop a credible, motivating, and distinct brand vision to guide growth

We made a plan

We translated the vision into seven key strategic drivers. For each one, we:

  • Developed detailed plans
  • Established responsibilities and measurement criteria
  • Provided necessary resources

We made sure the strategy was always translated into practical, on-the-ground guidance.

We found their voice

Our language team created a new, brand-aligned tone of voice for David Lloyd Clubs. We:

  • Developed the new tone of voice
  • Trained the team on how to use it consistently across all communications
  • Created a training video to help all team members easily work with the new tone

We improved the customer journey

We ran a workshop with the leadership team to identify where we could make the biggest impact. Using our insights as a starting point, we:

  • Identified areas to fix pain points
  • Found places to inject brand basics
  • Developed Brand Amplifiers to make David Lloyd Clubs stand out

We got everyone involved in the customer experience

We developed a new customer experience aligned with the new vision. This involved:

  • Running a series of workshops with frontline staff
  • Giving the team ownership to ensure practicality
  • Establishing the root cause of pain points and developing solutions
  • Creating Brand Basics ideas to bring the brand to life through everyday encounters
  • Running an innovation workshop to develop new Brand Amplifiers

We kept track of progress

We used a measurement programme called the Brand Alignment Monitor (BAM) to track alignment and progress. This:

  • Monitored changes across the whole Customer Experience
  • Used NPS methodology
  • Was included in the company’s reward and recognition programme

The results

  • The rate at which members were leaving dropped by 10%
  • New memberships shot up from 450K to 820K
  • The number of clubs grew from 90 to 130
  • They expanded internationally, opening 29 clubs in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands
  • They’re now ranked in The Times top 10 best companies to work for
  • Their EBITDA doubled in just three years

“Definition are brilliant at working with the management teams to sift through the detail so all the teams are engaged in the process and then help determine the answer – the few things that are very important… and they are jolly jolly nice people to work with”

Glenn Earlam, CEO of David Lloyd Clubs

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