Health And Family

Fit Summit CEO Ross Campbell on making the fitness industry better and stronger

WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit - The Philippine Star
Fit Summit CEO Ross Campbell on making the fitness industry better and stronger
Ross Campbell, founder and CEO of Fit Summit

In March of 2019, Fit Summit founder and CEO Ross Campbell hosted the first Fit Summit in Singapore, where I had the pleasure of meeting him as one of the guest panelists.

It was a great start for his attempt to be the region’s first major B2B conference for the fitness industry. Ross successfully connected many of the region’s business owners and senior managers, from the biggest chains down to the small boutiques.

Unfortunately, I had to pass on his invitation to be a panelist once again, but I did participate in the well-organized virtual summit, which was held last Aug. 5.

The Philippine STAR: What is your most important lesson learning during this pandemic?

Ross Campbell: Like many of our partners, we have always had digital transformation in our long-term development plan. The ongoing COVID crisis launched us quickly, brutally, into the necessity of this development. No business leader will want to hear the word “pivot” for quite some time. From the outside looking in, we pivoted into online events; from the inside looking out, we scrambled to meet a longer-term goal. Candidly, however, we were underprepared for deciding on the granular details of this digital transformation beyond the macro goal/objective of developing a digital offering. We had a goal but no real comprehensive plan. The lesson learned? For long-term strategic options, we will now look at each goal and deep dive into the options/platforms/resource/capital needed for us to achieve this. We will assess each goal within a timeline we have set ourselves and also plan for a timeline that is not under our control. Our team has been incredible in quickly and effectively building this new digital capability and so another reflection has been to involve them early in strategic developments decisions so they can feel engaged from the start and motivated to add immediate value when we embark down that path together.

You have done several virtual fitness summits already since the pandemic made physical conventions impossible. How did this online alternative affect your goals?

Virtual events were always in our long-term development plan, but similar to many companies we were accelerated quickly by COVID into the digital world to develop virtual offerings. Our goal and vision have always been to help more people become happier and healthier. We do this by making our industry stronger and better. Our goal remains unchanged, but now we have the ability to influence positive change globally and exponentially via virtual events/content.

What seems to be the prevalent or common issues that fitness industry leaders talk about regardless of their territory/market?

We hear four key challenges constantly: financial constraints and negative cash flow; the creation and monetization of new offerings such as digital group classes and personal training; engagement of members through lockdown periods and rolling closures; and adhering to stricter, and at times incredibly limiting, new operational practices.

Personally, how do you see the fitness market shaping up to rise from this pandemic?

Our long-term future is brighter than any other sector. I truly believe that. Health and wellness will become the number one priority of every person on the planet. However, to survive this ongoing crisis any (fitness/wellness) company needs to be best-in-class, rich with innovation, with deep pockets (cash reserves) and shareholders who will accept short-term losses in lieu of longer-term gains.

Industry coalitions are being formed everywhere. How are you helping the industry globally? What do you wish the coalitions will be able to do?

We continue to offer assistance to any industry body/group wanting to learn more about the APAC region and connect to its business community. In Singapore (our home country), we have taken a very active role in lobbying government for the reopening of fitness and sports and helped in designing and implementing protocols and SOPs for the safe reopening of facilities.

Are you offering any other online summits this year and next?

We have another virtual World Summit on Oct. 7 (all are welcome to join us) and then we hope to host a hybrid (live and virtual) event in Singapore on Dec. 9. Only time will tell if live events will be possible. But we want to provide a platform for physical connection again and at the earliest and safest time to do so.

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To learn more visit www.thefitsummit.com.

Post me a note at [email protected] or [email protected].


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