Authentic Leaders Live Their Brand Values

At SportsArt, sustainability is a core value, and it extends to creating relationships.

As a leader in any business, you need to clearly demonstrate your values and purpose to internal teams and customers. In the health club industry, it’s critical, as the consumers driving the business are devoted to their own purpose: the pursuit of wellness and fitness.

Those values are more than just a statement about your brand. Your ability to demonstrate them in your interactions and have them become ingrained in the perception of your brand can be key to attracting and retaining consumers. And what matters to consumers impacts club operators.

In fact, data shows that brand values clearly count with consumers:

  • According to McKinsey, as many as 30 to 40% of consumers continue to switch brands or retailers, driven primarily by younger consumers seeking value, combined with greater emphasis on purpose-driven alignment and quality.

  • Recent Accenture data shows that nearly two-thirds of consumers globally (63%) prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs—and are ditching those that don’t.

  • 89% of people say they are loyal to brands that are aligned with their values.

  • 78% would tell others to buy from a purpose-driven brand, even if they have never made a purchase.

Leadership authentic leaders live their brand values men exercising in gym limited use column

When you consider core values, brands such as Apple (accessible technology for all), Ben & Jerry’s (fantastic ice cream for its own sake and making the world a better place), and Uber (construct on a global scale while living on a local scale) are notable examples of those that live their values. Regardless of the ups and downs, they may have experienced over the years, their values remain a constant and are evident in nearly every action taken by those industry leaders.

Sustainability as a Constant Value

When most of us think about SportsArt, the first thing that comes to mind is sustainability, and rightfully so. For more than 40 years, sustainability has been at the heart of SportsArt’s values, purpose, and operations.

IHRSA has written about several initiatives the manufacturer has undertaken in support of those values, from manufacturing machines that produce electricity to producing those machines in a fully sustainable facility. In the bigger picture, however, SportsArt is dedicated to building a culture of social sustainability.

So, how do SportsArt’s values support that pursuit? Ruben Mejia, SportsArt’s executive vice president for the Americas, outlines some of its key values:

  • We believe in innovation with purpose. The goal of our advancements is always to serve end-users, customers, and the world.

  • We believe that protecting the planet is our responsibility.

  • We believe in staying passionate about improving lives and improving the industries we serve.

  • We believe that diversity makes our company and our world stronger. We are committed to equality and inclusion in everything we do.

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The Value of Sustainable Relationships

The values above relate, for the most part, to SportsArt’s operations.

“Just as important,” says Mejia, “is the core value we live around relationships. It dictates our interactions and how we work in the world. Here’s how we position it: We believe in the power of healthy relationships. Treating customers, partners, team members, and ourselves with respect and dignity is part of our DNA.”

“In terms of living our values,” he adds, “extending sustainability to our relationships is as important as anything we do.”

How can that relationship value be demonstrated in the real world? How can its effects be assessed? Mejia suggests that SportsArt team members and partner experiences speak directly to the issue. Here are a few examples:

  • “I was blessed to have completed a seven-week intensive radiation and chemo plan to beat back throat cancer three years ago,” says John Price, director of dealer sales. “The prognosis was good, and I am in the 3% group of it reoccurring. Our team helped and supported me during this time and supported my privacy. They allowed me to stay involved and keep busy, helping relieve the stress of the whole treatment. The empathy and caring that SportsArt shows its personnel is second-to-none. We truly have a family atmosphere with everyone coming together to accomplish success. We are a company where you are not a number on a ledger, but part of the SportsArt family.”

  • “SportsArt has gone above and beyond for me by keeping me and others employed during a pandemic that shut down fitness centers worldwide,” notes Ryan Kimura, lead installation engineer. “We feel secure knowing our leaders are great at being open and transparent with their employees.”

  • “In SportsArt, I feel part of a big but very united family sharing the same values. All of us here are living, experiencing, and moving in the direction of the journey of professionalism, dedication to customer service, and excellency in manufacturing,” says Jaime Fairfoot, director, LATAM sales.

  • “We are given autonomy each day to try new things in terms of marketing and sales processes,” says Justin Tillinghast, eastern regional sales manager. “This allows us to see what works throughout different verticals and areas of the country.”

  • “Leadership approved me working remotely before we moved to Texas in 2019,” says Kala Evans, operations analyst. “I love the company and what we stand for, so I didn’t want to leave. I thought it might be a long shot when I asked if it was possible, but we tried it and it worked out. To make it happen, I did have to come up with a new way of processing orders and invoices while still getting approval from accounting, but it helped make our order process totally paperless, saving us money and also staying true to our green values.”

  • “SportsArt worked directly with my electric utility company to get me a rebate that helped offset the cost of my new ECO-POWR fitness equipment,” says Bob Palmer, owner of Fitness Gear and Training. “The SportsArt team conducted a power analysis of our treadmills to determine how much electricity they were currently consuming. They submitted the data they collected, along with the amount of electricity my new ECO-POWR treadmills could produce, and the electric utility company was able to confirm that my new ECO-POWR treadmills are more energy-efficient and issue a substantial rebate on my treadmill purchase."

  • “Jaime Fairfoot was attentive to our needs from the very beginning of the sales process,” says Alex Wiesner, founder & CEO of Energy Gyms. “He was able to explain the benefits and marketing potential of having eco-friendly equipment. After discussing the matter internally, we decided to purchase over 130 pieces of ECO-POWR to be distributed around our 32 clubs in Chile. In addition to making the sale, Jaime developed a program for our entire sales team on how sustainability could be used to bring in the eco-friendly gym goer. He also developed training for group class indoor cycling and a group treadmill class. Lastly, SportsArt coordinated training for our entire service staff so that they could be prepared for any of the issues that are common in a high-volume club.”

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“Now, more than ever, having strong brand values—and consistently living those values—is instrumental in building relationships,” Mejia says. “And relationships are everything. Success is greater when members and customers feel like they identify with or even ‘belong’ to your brand. When that happens, the relationship has far greater value than the transaction.”

If a brand doesn’t authentically live out its values, he adds, consumers will see that. Your actions, words, and communications must all consistently show how your values positively impact the people you serve: improving their lives, their businesses, and their communities.

To learn more about SportsArt’s values and equipment, visit their website.

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Jon Feld

Jon Feld is a contributor to