THE Cybex BRAND: Why it Matters

For hotel operators, health club owners, and college Athletic Directors, choosing the right equipment to put in their facility is a big decision. Quality and price are important. It is important that the equipment is durable and no one is going to get hurt using it. And... no matter how low the cost or how good the warranty – fitness equipment has to improve the fitness level of the people who use it. It has to work.

So how does the big decision become the right decision? After all the sales pitches and the brochures and the demonstrations are over, at the end of the day, someone has to choose. And the ultimate answer is – they have to rely on the reputation of the brand. Because guests or clients or students judge exercise facilities by the brands they choose.

At Cybex, we think our brand is pretty powerful.

Take the Stephen King NY Times bestseller "Duma Key". Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books. A master of the horror genre, among his well-known works are "Carrie", "The Shining" and "Misery" all of which were made into movies that can still be seen in re-runs.

In King’s latest novel, Duma Key, Edgar Freemantle is a successful Minnesota builder who faces the ordeal of rehabilitation after a terrible construction accident severed his right arm, scrambled his brain, and imploded his marriage. Freemantle settles in on Duma Key in a rental house he calls "Big Pink". He describes the house and says he won’t need much on the second floor. "What I wanted, I said, was three things: a plain straight-backed chair, an artist’s easel, and a Cybex treadmill".

So... the treadmill arrives and shortly thereafter, Freemantle has his first visitor who talks about the history of Duma Key and Big Pink – how renters come and go but the furnishings remain "rent-a-house" except now there is a Cybex treadmill upstairs. A few minutes later, Freemantle asks his friend "How did you know my treadmill is a Cybex?"

"For a moment he said nothing. Then: It’s the only brand I know".

Really – it’s in the book on p. 203-204.

Cybex didn’t pay for this kind of recognition. It is the result of a brand that has stood the test of time and become known all over the world.

And... it can work for Cybex customers. Some exercisers don’t know and don’t care what brand they work out on. But those people are becoming fewer and fewer as fitness takes hold as part of everyday life.

Tom Wolfe’s book "I am Charlotte Simmons" is another example. Tom Wolfe wrote "The Right Stuff", "Bonfire of the Vanities", and "A Man in Full". His book "I am Charlotte Simmons" is a national bestseller set at the fictional "DuPont University" and Charlotte Simmons, is a girl from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, who wins a scholarship to DuPont. The book is a cautionary tale of university life with its eternal clash of frats, geeks, and jocks, something in the style of "Animal House".

Wolfe paints a picture of an upscale college campus that abounds with Cybex equipment. "He had begun working out on the Cybex machines at Farquhar [the campus fitness center]"... "Powerful overhead lights gave a slick look to the floor’s black-trimmed beige expanse and its regiment after regiment, rank after rank, of Cybex machines with white frames, black iron arms, and stainless-steel weight axles, all doubled in number by the mirrored walls."

Wolfe even uses Cybex as an adjective "a tall boy wearing a quilted vest and a T-shirt with the arms cut off – the better to reveal his Cybex-MAXED upper arms". "The tall guy with the CYBEXED BICEPS left the line." "Size and build. It’s a hell of a lot easier to be cool if you’re tall and you spend half the week pumping yourself up on the Cybex machines."

The ultimate compliment for a product brand is when the brand becomes the product... people saying "Kleenex" when they mean "tissue" – or "Xeroxing" when they are really referring to "copying". Cybex is that kind of brand. People often say they are going to go work out on the Cybex – when they mean they are going to exercise.

Cybex has more mentions in Google Alerts than any other brand. The two largest industry manufacturers are mentioned less than 25% of the times Cybex is talked about and next nearest competitor is less than 85%.

The standard measurement in professional sports has become "The Cybex Test". Wikipedia defines it: The Cybex Test is a fitness examination that is usually given to prospective National Football League players who are entering the NFL Draft.

The Cybex brand is one that can work for health clubs, hotels, colleges and all who offer Cybex equipment in their facility. When prospective clients know Cybex exercise is the equipment offered, they know it is a fitness center that is focused on safety and efficacy. That it is a place that cares about their clients’ results.

So why does the Cybex brand matter? It is a brand that can help Cybex customers build their business – and a healthy business for customers is important to everyone at Cybex.

About the author: Joan Carter, Cybex International, Inc.

Joan Carter is Vice Chairman of the Cybex Board of Directors and President of UM Holdings, Ltd., a major Cybex shareholder. Her business background spans almost 30 years of involvement with a wide variety of businesses in healthcare and related fields and she has been active in the strategic marketing efforts of Cybex since joining the Board in 1998.