Branding 2.0

NOTE: Guide is under review. Any changes or additions will be communicated by email.

1.1 Introduction

Few would argue that the StrongFirst brand is more than a shield (logo) and name (wordmark): it’s an entire experience. From how we use our trademarks (logo plus wordmark), the Code we abide by, the principles we support, the intellectual property we use, the way we market, organize, run events, and how we conduct ourselves, to the type and style of communications we share, each plays a role in supporting our mission and growing our brand equity—brand awareness, associations, perceived quality, affinity, preference, and loyalty. 

As great as our School of Strength is, we can’t achieve our mission without our community—Certified Instructors, Accredited Gyms, Licensees, Country Leaders, Merchandise Licensees, and Leadership—consistently representing our StrongFirst brand and our StrongFirst Code globally. The job of this Guide is therefore to help us do that by giving you clear guidelines on how you can use the StrongFirst brand and related trademarks to promote strength worldwide.

In the spirit of simplicity, you may assume that unless something is specifically permitted within this guide, it is NOT authorized. This is to ensure the global integrity of our brand, compounding the effectiveness of our branding efforts across countries, and maximizing worldwide recognition of our school and offerings. In other words, we will refer all questions to this guide—if it’s not in this guide, the answer is no. 

If you have questions relating to this guide or if you have difficulty accessing your authorized files, please email marketing@strongfirst.com.

If you identify any discrepancy between this guide and a document that it references (Licensing Agreement, Merchandising Agreement, etc.) please let us know by email at admin@strongfirst.com

1.2 Branding Guide Structure

From your valuable feedback on our first Guide, we have updated and simplified the structure. Sections are outlined on the right, in a clickable table of contents.

  • Representing StrongFirst
  • StrongFirst Trademarks ®  & ™

Additional sections are under development to offer guidance on specific implementations of our brand strategy. 

  • Social Media
  • Editorial Guidelines
  • Marketing Materials (Separate Section for Course, Cert, Event Licensees Only)
  • Merchandise (Separate Section for Merchandise Licensees Only)

1.3 Representing StrongFirst

In the broader context of building brand equity, think of “representing” as the day to day living ‘by the code,’ rather than simply how to use the StrongFirst trademarks (logo and wordmark). Every time we appear live, online, through our writing and visuals, where it can reasonably be assumed by the public that we are acting on behalf of, as representative of, or as an insiders within StrongFirst, we encourage special attention to how we proceed.

It’s easy to post a quick comment, express an opinion, give advice from our perspectives, especially given the depth of knowledge and experience that have gone into building our own personal brands. However, the public can’t always differentiate between what we say (write, show, etc.) as individuals and what we say as StrongFirst representatives. 

All messages put out for public consumption—live presentations, traditional marketing, email, social media, YouTube videos, community forum interactions, T-shirts and training attire, wall artwork, etc.—by members of our community have the power to support our brand, or detract from it by the simple spillover effect. So while we are not in the business of telling you what to think, we would like you to consider how what you say/do could have wider implications for the StrongFirst brand. 

1.3.1 Brand Influencing Behaviors

Below are non-exclusive lists of positive and negative brand influencing behaviors. 

Positive Brand Influencers

  1. Respecting intellectual property and crediting original sources of knowledge and material;
  2. Being a quiet professional—being humble in your strength; teaching rather than showing off; taking any disagreements offline;
  3. Sharing information, posts, articles, videos, etc. distributed by StrongFirst;
  4. Writing educational, thought-provoking, and mission-aligned articles or posts (or producing video tips) for our community;
  5. Explaining and demonstrating good form;
  6. Wearing/using your StrongFirst merchandise proudly.

Negative Brand Influencers

  1. Misusing StrongFirst trademarks:
      • Attaching the StrongFirst logo on marketing or social media materials that do not reflect a StrongFirst aesthetic (style, color scheme, fonts), principle, or on anything that could be construed as unprofessional; 
      • Using a StrongFirst logo to promote your own independent events, classes, courses, and workshops (you may of course state your title in text: StrongFirst Certified Instructor, Team Leader, etc.) or on any materials related to them;
      • Attempting to duplicate or modify a StrongFirst logo in any way or using obsolete logo variations;
      • Using the StrongFirst brand for any unapproved use;
  2. Publicly disagreeing with StrongFirst principles or policies or expressing dislike of any skills and drills taught in our events;
  3. Commenting negatively on other people’s messages or engaging in online disagreements with members of the community or outside;
  4. Supporting or recommending competitor courses and certifications;
  5. Sharing strong political, religious or cultural views;
  6. Wearing StrongFirst branded apparel while not “living our Code.”
  7. Posting videos/photos that fall outside of our performance standards without providing appropriate context (i.e. personal record, learning a new skill, practicing a new groove, work in progress, advanced skill practice, etc.);
  8. Making inaccurate representations about your role (i.e. Head Assistant, Official Program Designer, Country Representative where you may be the only SFG, etc.) or using the StrongFirst name or trademark in a way that creates the perception of an affiliations that does not exist.

“When in doubt, leave it out,” is a good rule of thumb.

1.3.2 About StrongFirst

It is important for those who market licensed or officially approved StrongFirst events to have a clear understanding of the organization and our community, how to present a consistent message across the globe, and how to appropriately use our name and trademarks. StrongFirst holds itself to a higher standard. Members of our community hold themselves to this higher standard.

Who or what is StrongFirst? How we answer such a simple question can excite interest, pique curiosity or bore a listener (not everyone may be ready to hear a ‘strength’ message). The challenge is that so much of StrongFirst is tied to our experiences; doing our answers justice isn’t so simple. 

While we may be tempted to tell someone ‘all’ about us, not everyone has the time or inclination to listen. What we want is therefore to provide a quick, interesting introduction that opens the door to their follow up: Really? Why? How? Then, with their permission, we continue layering our message. Ideally, we ask questions to provide a personal context on how they could benefit from being StrongFirst. Think less “what we are” and more “what we can help you do.”

StrongFirst is a School of Strength

StrongFirst is a global leader in strength education. We teach men and women to reach high levels of strength—quickly, safely, and without interfering with their duty, job or sport. We build strength with several powerful tools—kettlebells, barbells, and bodyweight—and one set of universal training principles backed by decades of field-tested, performance-based evidence. We reverse-engineered what the strongest do naturally—and bring this exclusive knowledge to you. Our standards are high and we do not chase fads. 

We are a worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood of strength

We are a community of men and women who believe that strength is a master quality, brought together by the conviction that strength has a greater purpose. Defend your country. Volunteer during a natural disaster. Win a championship. Have pride and become a lean and muscular (or simply “the best”) version of yourself. We are devoted to the practice and pursuit of our own strength and teaching others to do the same. We are a very particular type of fitness professional, with a highly-specialized skill set. Strength with safety is our specialty—and no one in the world does this better than a StrongFirst Certified Instructor. 

Our Certified Instructors

Our Certified Instructors are national champions, coaches of champions, special operators, elite martial artists, national team doctors, strength professionals, and masters of their craft. They inspire their students to get strong…first knowing that strength will improve their lives. They follow our Code, embody our core values, believe in our mission, and spread our message of strength around the globe. Our people set us apart. They make us more than just an organization. Our people make us a community, and a brotherhood and sisterhood of iron. Our people make us strong.

Our Accredited Gyms

Our Accredited Gyms provide more than just a bricks and mortar place where you are assured of receiving excellent StrongFirst training. They provide a deeper immersion into the StrongFirst experience. From the type of instructors that StrongFirst attracts to the principles that underpin training to the philosophies promoted that prioritize strength for performance without sacrificing longevity, you will feel the difference in an Accredited Gym.

Our Mission

To help people become a better version of themselves by pursuing, practicing, and promoting strength. 

Our Core Values

Strength. Team. Honor. 

Our Code

  • “I am a Student of Strength.”
  • “I am a Quiet Professional.”
  • “Strength has a Greater Purpose.”

1.4 StrongFirst Logo Variations and Use

The StrongFirst name (wordmark) and shield (logo), alone or in combination, are trademarks of StrongFirst, Inc. We will refer to the StrongFirst “logo” to mean any variation of the shield, name, and trademark symbol. Which version of the logo you can use and how you may use it depends on: 

  1. The country where it is being used. In countries where the trademark is legally registered, use ® variations. Otherwise, use ™. This is an evolving list as trademarks get registered in additional countries.
  2. Your “status” within StrongFirst——Certified Instructor, Accredited Gym, Course/Certification/Event Licensee, Country Leader, Merchandise Licensee, and Leadership.

Logo variations without an appropriate trademark symbol are NOT APPROVED outside of HQ use (and only for specific purposes).

In 2019, adjustments were made to our logos to reflect the rebalanced shield, letter spacing, and grey color (c6c6c6, PMS Cool Grey 4C). In addition, country specific logos and t-shirt logos have all been redesigned. This means you should purge all previously used files. Any new materials created from January 1, 2020 should only have the new logo variations.

Exceptions: You may continue to wear older versions of StrongFirst branded merchandise (including your Certified Instructor t-shirts). Plus, existing signage or previously printed merchandise still in stock may be used until the next required printing or replacement. 

While these changes may seem subtle, it is crucial that everyone uses the correct logo variation to maintain the integrity of our brand and its recognizability across the globe. Always use the approved artwork provided by StrongFirst and do not attempt to reproduce your own.

When using StrongFirst in text form (in an email, a social media post, in a flyer), it must always appear as a single word “StrongFirst.” Both the S and F are capitalized and there is no space between the two words.

1.4.1 Country Approved Logo Variations

Registered Trademark ® countries

Trademark ™ for all other countries not previously listed

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Costa Rica
  • European Union (all countries)
  • Israel
  • India
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
  • Republic of Korea (Shield ONLY)
  • China (Denied)
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • Norway
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia (until registration is finalized)
  • Argentina (until registration is finalized)
  • VietNam (until registration is finalized)

1.4.2 Logos Use by StrongFirst Status

Your “status” within StrongFirst—Certified Instructor, Accredited Gym, Course/Certification/Event Licensee, Country Leader, Merchandise Licensee, and Leadership—determines the trademarks you may use and how you may use them. Please ensure that you use your appropriate ® or ™ logo variation. Failure to do so may result in a revocation of your user privileges.

Only those with specific and current authorization to use a StrongFirst trademark may do so. That means you may not share file links with anyone who does not have the same authorization (i.e. graphic designer, host location) or use them should you terminate your affiliation with StrongFirst (i.e. let your current instructor status lapse).

1.4.3 Logo Use FAQs

Below are answers to common questions surrounding the use of the StrongFirst logos:

  1. Can I use the logo on my website and business cards? Yes. Certified Instructors may use the Certified Instructor logo on their website and business card.
  2. Can I use the logo on merchandise for sale or for giveaways at my gym, office or elsewhere? No (Exception: Accredited Gyms and Merchandise Agreements). You may purchase from HQ or a Merchandise Licensee.
  3. Can I make my own Certified Instructor T-shirt as mine is lost/damaged/doesn’t fit? No. We have an online Instructor store with available shirts.
  4. Can I use the StrongFirst logo on my staff’s T-shirts along with my gym’s logo? No. Only Accredited Gyms may use the Accredited Gym logo on staff shirts, though the design is subject to approval by HQ.
  5. Can I use the logo on merchandise for personal use? No.
  6. Can I put up a wall decal or hang a banner inside my office, gym, etc.? Yes, provided that it is displayed inside and purchased from Headquarters or an official Merchandise Licensee subject to size limitations (up to 6’ wide or 3’x3’). Accredited gyms may place approved signage or banners either inside or outside without size limitations.
  7. Where can I get a wall decal or banner? StrongFirst Shop (We are working on this)
  8. Can I paint the logo on my inside wall? No. Logos may not be painted on walls. Use appropriate wall decals.
  9. Can I put the logo outside of my training facility? No, with the exception of using a Certified Instructor bumper sticker. Only Accredited Gyms may have permanent outside signage. Course and Certification Licensees may display an outside banner for the duration of an event only (and providing they have secured required permits).
  10. Can I print my own banners with the logo? No. Only Merchandise Licensees may print banners, and only in the approved sizes.
  11. Can I design/print my own flyers with the logo? No, unless you are a Course Licensee and only for flyers promoting officially licensed StrongFirst events. Designs are subject to HQ approval
  12. Can I use the logo in a promotional email? It depends on what you are promoting in the email. Provided you use an appropriately authorized logo for your status, you may be able to use the logo to promote a StrongFirst licensed event. However, common sense must prevail.
  13. Can I use the logo in social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) videos and posts? It depends. Any use of an appropriately authorized logo may not suggest that the message is coming from StrongFirst, an ‘employment’ relationship, or support for a particular person, gym, event, etc. Wearing your StrongFirst shirt and promoting our principles is a good way to show your support while not crossing any lines. Specific cases will be assessed individually. Contact marketing@strongfirst.com. Course and Certification Licensees may use logos on posts and videos but they must be approved by HQ before publishing.
  14. Can I add a color or finish to the logo? No. You may not alter the logo or shield in any way.
  15. Where do I send a new idea for merchandise? Please send them to marketing@strongfirst.com.

1.4.3 Certified Instructor Logos

File Access (Password Protected)

Certified-Instructor-Logo-Vertical-R

StrongFirst Certified Instructor credentials are attached to a particular individual having met our standards. Therefore, StrongFirst Certified Instructor logos (® or TM ) may only be attached to that particular individual for use on websites, business cards, and email signatures.

The StrongFirst Certified Instructor logo should be displayed with sufficient breathing space from other design elements, on a neutral background (black, grey or white). It should not be placed next to a competitor’s logo or presented as a lower perceived hierarchy. If the background on which the logo will be used is anything but black or white, use the grey logo variation on its black mat. 

They may not be used to produce merchandise (for sale or distribution—wristbands, jewelry, mugs, stickers, shirts, etc.) including banners or signage. Banners and posters (up to a maximum 6’ wide for horizontal and 3’ x 3’for vertical) will be made available for purchase later in 2020.

Certified Instructors should not state or infer that they are “employed” by StrongFirst, or are acting on behalf of or as a representative of StrongFirst. This includes:

  • Using “StrongFirst” or any derivative of the brand as part of a company name, email address, social media profile (image or “Employed by,” or as part of your logo
  • Using anything other than the StrongFirst Certified Instructor logo (do not crop it out).

1.4.3.1 Logo Use FAQs

Below are answers to common questions surrounding the use of the StrongFirst logos:

  1. Can I use the logo on my website and business cards? Yes. Certified Instructors may use the Certified Instructor logo on their website and business card.
  2. Can I use the logo on merchandise for sale or for giveaways at my gym, office or elsewhere? No. You may purchase from HQ or an international Merchandise Licensee.
  3. Can I make my own Certified Instructor T-shirt as mine is lost/damaged/doesn’t fit? No. We have an online Instructor store with available shirts.
  4. Can I use the StrongFirst logo on my staff’s T-shirts along with my gym’s logo? No. Only Accredited Gyms may use the Accredited Gym logo on staff shirts, though the design is subject to approval by HQ.
  5. Can I use the logo on merchandise for personal use? No.
  6. Can I put up a wall decal or hang a banner inside my office, gym, etc.? Yes, provided that it is displayed inside and purchased from HQ or an official Merchandise Licensee subject to the 3’x3′ size limitation.
  7. Where can I get a wall decal or banner? StrongFirst Shop (We are working on this)
  8. Can I paint the logo on my inside wall? No. Logos may not be painted on walls.
  9. Can I put the logo outside of my training facility? No, with the exception of using a Certified Instructor bumper sticker. Only Accredited Gyms may have permanent outside signage. Course and Certification Licensees may display an outside banner for the duration of an event only (and providing they have secured required permits).
  10. Can I print my own banners with the logo? No. Only Merchandise Licensees may print banners, and only in the approved sizes.
  11. Can I design/print my own flyers with the logo? No, unless you are a Course Licensee and only for flyers promoting officially licensed StrongFirst events. Designs are subject to HQ approval
  12. Can I use the logo in a promotional email? It depends on what you are promoting in the email. Provided you use an appropriately authorized logo for your status, you may be able to use the logo to promote a StrongFirst licensed event. However, common sense must prevail.
  13. Can I use the logo in social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) videos and posts? It depends. Any use of an appropriately authorized logo may not suggest that the message is coming from StrongFirst, an ‘employment’ relationship, or support for a particular person, gym, event, etc. Wearing your StrongFirst shirt and promoting our principles is a good way to show your support while not crossing any lines. Specific cases will be assessed individually. Contact marketing@strongfirst.com. Course and Certification Licensees may use logos on posts and videos but they must be approved by HQ before publishing.
  14. Can I add a color or finish to the logo? No. You may not alter the logo or shield in any way.
  15. Where do I send a new idea for merchandise? Please send them to marketing@strongfirst.com.

1.4.4 Accredited Gyms

File Access LINK

StrongFirst Accredited Gym logos may be used by accredited gyms, on their website, business cards, email signatures, social media posts, advertisements, and for inside or outside signage without size restrictions. 

The StrongFirst Accredited Gym logo should be displayed with sufficient breathing space from other design elements, on a neutral background (black, grey or white). It should not be placed next to a competitor’s logo or presented at a lower perceived hierarchy. If the background on which the logo will be used is anything but black or white, use grey logo variation on its black mat. 

Additionally, StrongFirst Accredited Gym logos may be used on some gym branded merchandise, with HQ approval. Specific guidelines are under development and will be provided to Accredited Gyms.

1.4.5 Licensed Events

Licensed Worshop Branding

Licensed Certification Branding

Our impressively growing reach across the globe has come with a challenge of maintaining brand consistency. Therefore, in 2019, a global logo template was created that delivers a consistent and professional appearance while allowing for small country variations—a placeholder for a flag or national symbol. These new country logo templates replace all other previously used variations.

Merchandise Licensees: see Country Leader SOP section for more details.

1.10 CLOSING

StrongFirst has diligently worked to establish a consistent, high-quality curriculum and transformative student experience at our various Courses, Certifications, and Special Events. Together with our Certified Instructors—the best strength professionals in the world—and our growing Community, StrongFirst is recognized as a superior, respected, and revered brand. One that represents our system, standards, and most importantly, our people.

We recognize that growth comes with challenges: maintaining the quality and consistency of our brand and how it is represented around the world. This Branding Guide has set some guidelines on how you can and cannot use the StrongFirst trademarks. We trust that abiding by the StrongFirst Code ensures that no one would willfully misuse our brand. However, that doesn’t mean that we are complacent. We will do whatever is necessary to protect our brand on behalf of the StrongFirst Organization, Leadership, Certified Instructors, Licensees, Accredited Gyms, and all members of the StrongFirst Community. And to that end, all members of our community can play an important role.

If you see examples of inconsistent, lower quality, questionable branding or messaging, please bring them to our Marketing Department’s attention at marketing@strongfirst.com.

It is our duty to “Protect Our Shield.” Thank you for all that you do and thank you for your help.

1.11 LEGAL/DISCLAIMERS

Prohibited Uses of the StrongFirst Trademarks

  • Use of the StrongFirst name and marks in a manner that implies endorsement of programs, products or services of any entity not directly associated with or licensed in writing by StrongFirst is prohibited.
  • The StrongFirst name and/or logo may not be used in connection with an actual or implied endorsement of third-party entities or their products, services or activities unless permitted by these Guidelines.
  • StrongFirst’s marks may not be used in connection with any promotional materials developed and/or used by third-party entities or any activities that are not officially sponsored by StrongFirst.
  • All use of StrongFirst’s marks on any merchandise produced by a third party for promotional purposes, whether or not offered for sale, is discouraged and is not permitted without approval by HQ. Merchandise Licensees may refer to Section 10 pertaining to the StrongFirst merchandise branding policy.
  • Use of StrongFirst’s name, other trademarks and emblems, or images in connection with any photograph or film is prohibited without written permission by StrongFirst, Inc.
  • StrongFirst will protect its name and marks actively from improper or misleading use by individuals or organizations not associated with the company and will assure that use of the name and marks by Instructors, Students, Licensees, Country Leaders, and others is appropriate. As described below, appropriate use indicates that the activity or product with which the name and marks are being used has the necessary approval for use of the name and marks and reflects appropriately on StrongFirst’s brand and reputation.
  • The Country Leader shall submit to StrongFirst for approval samples of all tags, labels, packaging, computer images, web pages and the like to be used in connection with any Licensed Product(s) and to remove therefrom or add thereto any element that StrongFirst may from time to time, upon reasonable notice, designate.

These legal guidelines keep our brand and company safe from problems that often occur in the world of business. Please contact the COO at amanda@strongfirst.com with any questions about the Policy or these Guidelines or to report any misuse of our brand and marks.