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Les Mills – building a training concept

The BODYPUMP workout is celebrating its hundredth programme in many clubs around the world. Behind the venture is Les Mills, a global company within the health sector. In an international market, they offer gym and training clubs a total concept with group training which includes qualitycertified training programmes and comprehensive marketing and business support.

Les Mills has gradually developed its concept and range of products and services aimed at clubs with pre-choreographed training programmes and new releases every quarter. The clubs get help with their profitability, marketing and basic training for their members. The company originates from New Zealand and is now established in 85 countries around the world. In Sweden, their programme often forms the basic package at gym chains such as Nordic Wellness, Sats and Må bättre. 

What intangible assets are there in the concept? 

The company’s intellectual property rights strategy is a big jigsaw puzzle. The cornerstones of the strategy can be summarised by trademark and copyright. Patents have been registered for training equipment, but these make up a minor component of the intangible assets. In addition, the total
concept of licences and training for instructors are the most important cornerstones in relation to the clubs.

Trademarks

Les Mills’ many training forms are trademark-registered in numerous countries. This concerns names such as BODYPUMP, CXWORX, BODYBALANCE etc – forms of training which are recognised around the world amongst both chains and individual clubs. Each training form has its own specific target group and the names need to work in different language regions. The trademarks are registered under classes for video, printed matter and clothing, among other things. 

Copyright

Behind Les Mills’ training forms is an extensive network of trained and quality-certified instructors. The Les Mills Nordic network (which covers 13 countries) has no fewer than 12,270 active instructors. The production of training material, training music and videos is an international operation which is largely protected by copyright. The head office in New Zealand works hard on copyright-related issues in order to get production and distribution to work. Copyright and agreements concerning training music and STIM fees are major issues. 

Co-branding 

Together with Reebok, Les Mills also develops training clothing for its programmes, with four new collections per year. On garments in these clothing ranges, the companies place their trademarks and stitch motivational messages for keep-fit enthusiasts. This form of co-branding with Reebook gives Les Mills major benefits. In this way, the names of the training forms are spread across a global market. 

Patents

The SMART TECH equipment for BODYPUMP includes a patented solution. However, training equipment accounts for a small part of the total concept and includes fitness step blocks, bars and rubber bands. 

What are the training forms of the future? 

“We will see more digitalisation at gyms in the future, more VR. We will train more at home and in shorter, more intensive sessions,” says Lena Homberg, Market Manager at Les Mills. “I am passionate about creating a healthier world”, says Lena, who worked on the Les Mills training concept for eleven years.

The interview was made in 2016.

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