EXOS finds success through brand loyalty

This month’s NFL Draft might be a little something to hold you over until football’s preseason. But for Phoenix-based Athletes’ Performance, it’s a serious day for business.

That’s because the company trains elite athletes like NFL draft picks. In fact, they had nine first-round picks in 2009 and have trained the number one overall pick for four straight years. Founded in 1999, the company offers integrated performance training for elite athletes, military personnel and business executives.

“When a client — whether it’s an athlete or an executive — comes to us, that client is not just working with a personal trainer,” explains CEO Dan Burns. “They’re working with eight to 10 professionals,” including coaches in speed, power and agility, a physical therapist, a nutritionist and even a chef.

Athletes’ Performance also trains C-level executives and partnered with CEO Challenges, which runs sports competitions specifically for execs, to launch the CEO Fitness Challenge. Facilities in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas are testing local executives this spring to help identify and honor the “Fittest CEO” in each city and the nation.

“We’re trying to introduce more of our executive clientele to the CEO Challenges,” says Athletes’ Performance VP Marty Weems. “It’s a great motivational opportunity.”

Burns acknowledges Athletes’ Performance has benefited from having professional athletes as a significant part of the client base. Still, he says, all businesses are affected by the recession, and like other companies, Athletes’ Performance had to reallocate resources last year — leading to top line revenue growth. Burns attributes much of this success to the strength of the brand.

“We treat our brand very carefully and hold it to very high standards,” he says. That has meant saying “no” to potential revenue generators that they believe might have diminished the brand. The short-term revenue sacrifice, Burns says, is worth it.

“We haven’t lost a sponsor in five years,” he adds. “Our brand really stands for something.”

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-Written by Stephanie Conner. This story originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of IMPACT Magazine. Since then, Athletes’ Performance has become EXOS.