Thought provoking talks at the LFX Network

5 minute read

How well is your team? How well are your coworkers?
Do you really know?

If your team or colleagues are shut away in their back bedrooms, as many of us have been, or still are, following the shift to home working, the honest answer is that it’s hard to know.

I started to think about this in a room full of 30-40 people at a LFX Live event – the first in-person event this leisure and fitness network, which we at Cornerstone sponsor, has held since the pandemic struck.

Dr Glenda Rivoallen was one of four speakers – me included – at the event held at Prairie Sports Village, run by Burnley Leisure and Culture, one of Cornerstone’s clients.

Dr Rivoallen was speaking about leadership and resilience in the workplace – a key topic in these difficult times amid the ever-increasing focus on mental health, wellbeing and mindfulness.

How well are you as an individual, she asked? Is it time to be more human and not put on a façade of everything is OK when it’s not?

How can you find a positive way to engage with your teams about their mental wellbeing, their happiness at work and their engagement with your culture?

Not easy questions to answer for anyone with a remote workforce.

And just to prove how difficult it is to really know how someone is feeling, Dr Rivoallen, speaker, author, entrepreneur and consultant in creating successful wellness brands, said she classed herself as having high functioning anxiety. She is a brilliant speaker, confident in her approach. You would never believe she had anything like that underpinning who and what she is.

She spoke about the benefits of mindfulness and focusing more on your own wellbeing, and the benefits that exercise can have on your mental wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing.

I’m certainly interested to find out more about how we can better ensure our company is a healthy place with resilient team members.

A word from Europe Active’s David Stalker

Dr Rivoallen’s comments about wellbeing chimed with those of our first speaker – David Stalker, president of EuropeActive, previously the European Health and Fitness Association, which rebranded itself to better reflect its position as the European Association for Fitness and Physical Activity.

He spoke about the need to shift the focus from gyms and fitness to health and wellbeing, becoming ‘health delivery partners’, the driver of health in the community. He explained how the leisure and fitness industry had been trying to engage with certain age groups and demographics for years, but they were not responding and gave suggestions on how everyone in that room, even the younger individuals, can make a real change to the health of their community.

Now is the time, he said, for the industry to go out into communities and engage directly by going into care homes, schools, reaching out to GPs, pharmacies and leisure trusts to take health and fitness to the people instead of waiting for them to come to them as quite often, the hurdle for health in the community is they don’t want to come to the gym.

It’s not just a problem in the UK but across Europe too, he added, and needs to be tackled for years and years to come.

In government, leisure and fitness falls under the Department for Sport, but David Stalker highlighted the fact that the industry should be pushing to be part of the Department of Health. After all, he said, there were more physical and mental wellbeing benefits to be gained from lowering someone’s cholesterol level through exercise and diet rather than a pharmaceutical solution (like a pill). Just one example, but that thinking could be expanded to many more health issues.

Consumer behaviour and marketing insights

Completing the thought-provoking day was a back-and-forth about understanding consumers between our fourth speaker, Chris Loxley, and yours truly (David Wadsworth).

Chris, a psychologist by trade, has a proven track record as a thought leader in behavioural science. As Head of Behavioural Science at Loved by Design, Chris works with a wide range of businesses, brands and organisations and it’s his opinion that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and don’t do what they say. It’s his job to unlock the unseen opportunities that reside in the hidden and often unspoken thought processes of the consumer.

How do you change consumer behaviour? By his own admission, Chris is a theoretical guy and would use psychology.

But for me, it’s all about the customer experience. If a consumer has the best possible customer experience, they will be more engaged with the brand, they’ll typically become an advocate for it by recommending and referring. They’ll stick with the brand longer.

Chris spoke about social proofing – that’s a concept that says we are all influenced by the people around us, so if you see someone doing something you feel you’ve got to do the same. (Does the recent panic at the fuel pumps, spring to mind?)

Social proofing is used to generate anticipation and demand. You’re online, there are five people watching a product, 13 people buying it and there’s only another 13 in stock. It creates panic, urgency, even desire. Reviews and recommendations are another example of social proofing, I know I’m not the only one guilty of scrolling through hundreds of reviews from people I have never heard of before deciding whether to buy a product, or book a table.

We also spoke about the four pillars of marketing, known as the 4Ps – product, price, place and promotion. “Are they still relevant?” I was asked.

They absolutely are, but tend to be a concept many companies fail to truly understand and engage with in today’s fast moving, digital centric world.

Left to right: Graeme Hinde (LFX), Chris Loxley (LovedBy Design), David Wadsworth (Cornerstone DM)

Thought provoking talks at the LFX Network Live Event 2021

The 4Ps still underpin strategy at any level, and via any channel. They can power product development, pricing strategy and channel strategy as well as the art of promotion, or communications, which sadly is where many marketeers are now pigeon holed into. I think consumer insight is a dying art of marketing. These days marketers communicate to consumers. But we are the ones who need to listen to them, do research and feed it back at corporate level. If you’re not going into a new strategy acknowledging that you know nothing about the consumer, your strategy is most likely going to be biased, and missing some great opportunities.

We could have talked for hours on the topic and how consumer behaviour can be used more extensively in the full marketing and product mix.

Each talk brought some thought-provoking ideas and insights to the table, and certainly gave myself, and without doubt the audience plenty to think and talk about. We’re looking forward to the next event which takes place in Wales in November, where I’ll be speaking again, this time on wider marketing strategy and campaign implementation.