Designing an industry first member experience

Client

Virgin Active
Image of the Virgin Active app home screen on a background showing other screens from the app.

Almost 2 years ago, we first started working with Virgin Active UK on their digital product vision. It was an uncertain time as the world started to return to a ‘new’ normality and the role of gyms – in the real world and online was in flux. It was a challenge, even for a brand as strong as Virgin Active, to understand how best to serve its members’ needs and even more complicated to imagine a digital experience that could meet these new demands in a unique and innovative way.

We helped Virgin Active develop a new vision and roadmap for their digital experience, one that encapsulated what their members were now looking for from a gym membership. To ensure that we were on the right track, we surveyed fitness fans and put prototypes in the hands of members, evolving the proposition as we learned.

Screens from the app showing loyalty redemption and tracking loyalty points earnt.

Workouts, without the hard work.

Having found a concept that resonated with members, our role shifted to now working with Virgin Active Global and their new CEO Dean Kowarski to bring that strategy to life on a global scale. The new app would also be the vehicle for Virgin Active’s brand new loyalty proposition, one of the first in the fitness industry.

We worked with the Virgin Active team and their loyalty partners to design and build a digital experience to redefine the relationship that Virgin Active has with its members. Above and beyond the standard fitness chain digital offering, it was exciting to work on a digital experience that had loyalty built into its core and a genuine desire to provide best in class support to their members on their fitness and wellness journeys.

Virgin Active had a clear view of the structure of the new loyalty programme; working together with their loyalty partners we brought that vision to life with screen concepts that the teams iterated and evolved together. Because the programme offers both short- and long-term rewards, our main challenge was in conveying the full value proposition in a simple, engaging way.

Images showing woman working out on an exercise bike, with images from the app showing screens select and rate a workout.

In addition to the new loyalty programme, the app includes features to help members get the most out of their membership whether working out in a club or elsewhere. As the app was the focus for driving a broader digital transformation within Virgin Active we also worked with new providers of membership management services to ensure that we delivered a fantastic experience for key journeys such as class booking, referring a friend and finding a new trainer.

In the design we play with brand elements to create an experience that feels fully “Virgin Active” while also highlighting specific aspects of their offering. The V-shape is reflected in the headers and imagery. Brand images have been updated to reflect the high-end but inclusive element which is key for VA. We worked with Virgin Active to create new brand colours to complement the distinctive Virgin red, giving the core “Big Five” activities GRID, Boxing, Cycle, Yoga and Pilates a separate identity within the brand.

The app has been developed for iOS and Android (including Android devices that do not have access to the Google Play services). We’ve pushed Kotlin Multiplatform beyond how it has previously been used, breaking new ground with the way in which we share ViewModels. This approach has enabled a significant amount of the business logic to be shared between both platforms, reducing duplicated development effort and creating a strong foundation for further future development.

In late May 2023, the new experience was successfully launched in South Africa and will soon be rolled out across the 8 other global markets.

Designed with a global scope in mind, the app can be easily adapted to cater to local audiences, ensuring a seamless and engaging experience for Virgin Active members worldwide.

“The Virgin Active App, developed in collaboration with Future Platforms, is a game-changer for our global members. It elevates our brand’s presence in the wellness space, providing a seamless and engaging experience for members, while also offering a groundbreaking integrated rewards program.” Dean Kowarski Group CEO of Virgin Active