A new spin on retail branding
After a decade of building a business by helping other business-owners build theirs, Parcel founder, Julie Mitchell wanted to try something new. Julie has always had a personal passion for fitness (it’s not uncommon to find her in the studio decked out in gym gear), but a more powerful driver was Julie’s belief that a fitness brand could not just contribute to a healthier physique, but a healthier sense of community.
On one hand, Torq Ride, is an opportunity to capitalize on the fast-growing health and wellness trend. On the other, it’s a lab for the Parcel team to execute our ideas about running a consumer-facing brand.
We started with the brand strategy – researching both existing and emerging brands in the fitness realm – we learned that a successful brand experience had to transcend trends and not be intimidating. The feeling we wanted to create whenever anyone encountered the Torq brand was a feeling of connectivity.
We put this connectivity subtext into context in a myriad of ways. Launch cards, posters and signage all make irreverent reference to our neighbours, while promotions link local businesses, like Sweat & Soda and Belmonte Raw together.
The website puts Torq’s instructors forward as brand ambassadors, building a sense of recognition and familiarity to the brand. From a technical perspective, the site serves as the platform for connecting members to their personal performance, providing ride results through an innovative metrics system so cyclists can track their workouts over time.
Internal brand rituals strongly connect employees through a sense of autonomy for day-to-day decision-making. The standard is high but there are no rules so team members don’t get mired in management politics because everyone is clear on what to do. Julie uses the “connectivity” subtext to filter hiring practices, so every employee who is hired shares the same brand characteristics that they, too, are highly connected to the community.
For example, shortly after opening, a new Torq rider broached the team to contribute to the Friends for Life Rally in support of Toronto People Living with AIDS. In true Torq fashion, the team kicked into gear turned it into a fundraiser and community-building event.
The decor inside is simple, but welcoming, with lots of added perks to make one feel connected to the community – including a stunning bench created by our friends up the street at Fig40.
Even Hank, Parcel’s mascot, feels at home at Torq with his bright orange collar. He’s the perfect brand ambassador!