An uphill race


Boutique fitness company Flywheel sports, founded by legendary indoor-cycling instructor Ruth Zuckerman, had been expanding year-over-year from the opening of its flagship New York studio in 2010 to the recent launch of its 42nd studio.

After years of continuous growth, however, the company needed to take the step from startup to grownup and position its brand as a launchpad for future growth. Increasing competition in the boutique fitness space meant that if it were to continue expanding at the same pace, it needed to reach a larger and more diverse group of riders while maintaining its loyal core audience.


With a hazily defined brand positioning, there was a lack of insight into—and misperceptions about—what was driving customers to choose Flywheel. We set out to discover what set Flywheel apart from the pack.

Internally, Flywheel thought it was building a more male-oriented base of customers with its emphasis on competition and its high-tech performance tracking technology—a compelling alternative to SoulCycle. But the reality was different. We investigated the boutique fitness space and conducted research to determine how Flywheel was perceived in comparison to their competition. More than the idea of competition, what resonated with Flywheel riders was its egalitarian, welcoming community and the idea of empowerment through exercise—the feeling of being able to take on the world and any curveballs it might throw.

Equipped with this knowledge, we developed a clear, compelling and authentic organizing positioning that speaks to a variety of audiences, based on what research revealed about drivers of preference. This positioning provides flexibility, setting Flywheel up for future growth:

Flywheel is more than a workout—it’s energy that changes you completely, body and mind, so you’re ready for whatever life brings. We welcome you as you are, wherever you are today. We’re passionate leaders who believe in continuous improvement, even for ourselves. Our expert instructors guide you to rewarding results, and our leading technology lets you chart the progress of you sweat-soaked efforts—in real time, and over time. We’re built for life—real life—so you can build yours. To build courage. To build resiliency. To build strength that stays with you all day, ever day.

From this core idea, we brought the Flywheel brand to life from the outside in. Their brand story became a touchstone for the brand’s communications. A brand voice and messaging strategy enabled Flywheel to articulate what makes them unique in a style of their own. And a refreshed visual identity captured the energy and motion of Flywheel’s brand, designed to help you live courageously.

With this differentiating brand positioning, there was the opportunity to reimagine their digital experience, improve accessibility and create new revenue streams. Based on extensively researched user journeys, we ultimately landed on a mobile-first approach. This strategy allowed us to radically simplify the website and elevate key assets, such as Flywheel’s instructors, original content and membership packages. A streamlined nomenclature and path to purchase made it easier for users to book classes, even offering the option of booking a class for a friend, while the reimagined app experience brought greater functionality to users, enabling them to easily track their performance statistics and book classes on the go.


As Flywheel grows in scale, geographic regions, and even in its delivery method—Flywheel is extending their studio cycling experience into the home—the boutique fitness company has clearly positioned itself for success in the marketplace.

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