DiscoverMaking the Podium
Making the Podium
Claim Ownership

Making the Podium

Author: Topodium Group

Subscribed: 0Played: 2


Welcome to "Making the Podium" - a fortnightly podcast for ambitious, bold & daring business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals who want to be at the cutting edge of innovation in the sports, health & wellbeing industries. With over 25 years experience in the leisure industry, your host, Chris Sharman, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Topodium Group, has been lucky enough to work with businesses across the globe developing innovative products and cutting edge brands for the links of Virgin Active, David Lloyd, Challenger Sports, Thomas Cook & Disney. He's seen plenty of trends and initiatives emerge, though what remains at the core of growth in our sectors is the passion to impact and motivate people. Each episode we'll get to the heart of topics on all marketeers minds from the development of new technologies such as AI, AR & VR, to the challenging demands of consumer expectations. At each turn, we'll be getting under the skin of successful campaigns and marketing strategies that are revolutionising and shaking up the status quo. Expect to hear from game changing individuals from leading health and fitness brands who are navigating the way, breaking barriers & experimenting with new techniques to build their customer base, increase sales and engage with new audiences. Links & references at: Get in touch:
22 Episodes
Welcome to the Finale of Making The Podium's Series 2! We've been offered 9 incredible stories and viewpoints, and it's time to look back at the best tales and insights.Returning from our previous series review, Topodium Group's Ryan Grimshaw & Charlotte Owen weigh in on the storytelling, product innovation, and outlooks on Nature vs Nurture that we've heard throughout the series.This episode covers:Our highlights from the 9 fantastic episodes of Series 2An overview of the diverse positions on Nature vs NurtureRiding the line between branding & marketingHow we can take steps to professionalise the kids’ care & activities sectorGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
Offering superlative experiences to families at health clubs demands the ability to make every experience truly magical, a fact Stephanie Holland channels from her time on Disney Cruises.Taking forward many key tenets that helped to ‘preserve the magic’, Stephanie’s work at David Lloyd clubs is revolutionising their spa offerings and approach to activities for kids and families.Join us on Making The Podium to learn how Disney’s ‘guest recovery’ turns complaints into advocates, why it’s essential to foster a community with your members, and how to create experiences that engage all the senses.This episode covers:The Disney Cruise values that underlie Stephanie’s current ethos, from preserving the magic to guest recoveryCreating a more varied offering to keep the community of members engaging with the clubHow David Lloyd listens to feedback and caters to families’ needsThe lasting memories that kids take from activities, and the enthusiasm required to run youth classesGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
From setting up football teams aged just 14, you’ll struggle to find a more passionate lover of the game than Neil Cassar, who became the youngest county FA CEO when he took the role with the Hampshire FA in 2006.The scale and growth of the organisation, with its nation-leading facilities and touchpoints with local stakeholders, is in large part due to Neil’s ability to keep community and sustainability at the heart of everything they do.With his innovative mindset, this episode of Making The Podium is a masterclass for any sport on thinking outside the box and bringing sporting bodies closer to the community with whom they engage.This episode covers:The expansion of Hampshire FA’s hubs as some of the country’s leading facilitiesNeil’s route to becoming the youngest CEO of a county FAThinking outside the box in creating unique initiatives to help engage the communityHow FAs around the country are responding to the recent decline in touchline behaviour from parents in the youth gameGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
The parallels between sport and business run deep and broad, and with experience as a goalkeeper and business founder alike, Skye Eddy combines the best of both worlds.Spurred on with entrepreneurial pursuits by those around her at an early age, it’s fitting that Skye would go on to create Soccer Parenting, a community that’s quite literally changing the game around youth football coaching in the US.Hear why the growth mindset of a goalkeeper is perfect for progress, how Skye’s season in Italy with Tavagnacco Femminile led her to take control of her career path, and why in the sporting world, community is everything.This episode covers:Skye’s exciting career, and how it demonstrated her ambition to chase her dreamsHow a goalkeeper’s growth mindset translated into creating the Soccer Parenting communityThe importance of her reliable network of positive contributorsSolving problems by focusing on creating the desired outcome rather than fixing undesirable situationsCatalysing a change in the conventional parent-coach relationshipGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
When Chris Rees created a feasibility project for a college assignment, it was the humble seed that’s grown into ReesLeisure, where he’s running events for thousands and raising millions for charity.From the Southampton Marathon to the innovatively named and inclusive ‘Try Tri’, Chris’ prerogative has been to benefit an expanding community with his network of sporting events, involving a city-wide community in an emphatic celebration of the area.Listen to this week’s Making The Podium for more on how Chris combines confidence and vision to earn buy-in for new ideas, where he lands on entrepreneurialism as nature vs nurture, and the value in coordinating events with local councils & communities.This episode covers:How Chris composes his innovative, large scale local eventsBuilding the confidence & vision to pitch bold, novel ideasChris’ use of sporting events to bring awareness & footfall to local areasCreating multiple touchpoints with the communityGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
Very few brand names have been able to hack attention like Fun With Balls. Starting life as a mixed reality console backed on Kickstarter, the company now titled LYMB.iO are accelerating the gamification of sports with their truly unique and innovative experience.Founder & CEO of LYMB.iO Markos Kern joins Chris this week to break down their ‘ballsy’ approach to marketing & how it all starts with an incredible product, as well as dealing with the complexity of pitching something unlike any existing products, and whether the entrepreneurial spirit is rooted in nature or nurture.This episode covers:Markos’ tech-focused early career as a visual designerEntrepreneurship: nature or nurture?Obtaining funding while pitching a unique conceptEvolving sport for modern attention spans through gamificationThe trick to attention hacking your target marketGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
Creating clubs suitable for the whole family, with no membership and based in dedicated, quality facilities makes perfect sense, yet it’s a space with untapped potential... Enter ‘GetSetGo!’.With a background in swimming and 12 years as MD of Swimming Rocks under her belt, ‘GetSetGo!’ Co-Founder Claire Harrison is taking ambitious steps to bring an innovative offering to the family activity space in London.Claire joins Chris on this week’s Making The Podium to share the challenging route to securing funding, the rip roaring successes that Claire and business partner Alina have achieved in spite of pandemic-sized hurdles, and the passionate approach to connecting with kids that permeates their entire team.This episode covers:How Claire’s early passion for sports and swimming began her incredible careerFinding the right facilities and quality coaches with both technical skills and soft skillsLaunching ‘GetSetGo!’ in the midst of Covid, and the challenge of obtaining funding from the right investorsClaire and fellow co-founder Alina’s ambitious expansion plans, within London and further afieldThe importance of picking appropriate tech solutions to improve engagement with the clubGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
Health & fitness can be an intimidating world, with terminology and practices that hold clubs back from the kind of retention they’re capable of. Perhaps it’s time to reposition what a health club can do for customers uninterested in the gym itself…Preaching the innovative idea of a Health Seeker Membership, GGFit’s Director Guy Griffiths sees our sector as a vital asset with the potential to ease up the NHS, and tap in to the 70% of the population who say they want to be more active.We also discuss the virtual ‘third space’ that’s becoming an imperative part of any service offering, and how retention is playing a greater role in clubs measuring the success of their customer engagement.This episode covers:Our sector’s role in the nation’s health journeyHow we can change our language to appeal to a wider audienceThe innovative concept of ‘Health Seekers’A focus on retention as a stronger measure of successThe growing importance of the virtual space in health & fitnessGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
Welcome back to Making The Podium, where we’re kicking off an exciting, NEW SERIES of the fortnightly podcast for ambitious, bold and daring business owners at the cutting edge of innovation in sports, health & fitness, and wellness.Who better to join us for one of two exciting episodes kicking off Series 2 than a man whose employment history includes a pop group, modelling, a lengthy appearance on Love Island, and now leading a personalised, online fitness coaching brand: Empower by Eyal.Eyal Booker tells us of the persistent role that fitness has played throughout his life, from early childhood right through to his latest coaching endeavours. In this fascinating episode, we discuss the balance of opportunity, hard work and strategy behind Eyal’s decision-making, how the rebirth of Empower capitalises on the lessons from its original launch, and how vanity metrics are making way for the authenticity of a real community.This episode covers:The vital role of health & fitness throughout Eyal’s lifeNurturing a hard working, entrepreneurial mindsetTaking lessons from an initial launch to overhaul Empower’s latest iterationBalancing hard work, opportunity, and strategyCurating a real community rather than aiming for likes and vanityLinks & references at: in touch:
Welcome back to Making The Podium, where we’re kicking off an exciting, NEW SERIES of the fortnightly podcast for ambitious, bold and daring business owners at the cutting edge of innovation in sports, health & fitness, and wellness.We’re kicking off Series 2 with a man whose positive influence on the sport, health and fitness sectors as CEO of ‘ukactive’ is outweighed only by his passion for getting people more active - Huw Edwards. Having contributed his talents to London 2012 and the LTA, he’s now leading the UK’s leading not-for-profit health body in the physical activity sector. Huw joins host Chris Sharman on this series premiere to discuss hybrid fitness models, tapping into community inspiration, creating a true legacy, and the importance of opening up the 40% of sports facilities locked behind school gates. This episode covers:The role of digital technologies in the future of hybrid fitness modelsUsing community inspiration along with influencers to raise the profile of our industryThe importance of creating a true legacyOpening up school sports facilities to increase physical activity in young peopleLinks & references at: in touch:
Welcome to Series 2 of  Making The Podium - a fortnightly podcast for ambitious, bold & daring business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals who want to be at the cutting edge of innovation in the sports, health & wellbeing industries.After an exciting, intriguing, and jam-packed first season of insights from the industry’s leading innovators, we’re proud to announce the return of Making The Podium. We’ll be building on the first season’s inspirational guests and their passion for developing new technologies, strategies & campaigns in FitTech, bringing you a whole host of industry experts to navigate the worlds of kids activities, fitness branding, sales & retention, industry investment, and even a former Love Island star embarking on a fitness influencer journey.If you’re new to the podcast, the entire Series 1 is available to download right now, and be sure to subscribe for the start of Series 2 - you won’t want to miss it…Welcome to Making The Podium S2. Let’s do this!Links & References at: in touch:
This season of Making The Podium has seen us interview some of the FitTech industry’s leading innovators and brightest minds to help us see what makes them tick. From homegrown companies to Israel and New Zealand’s emerging businesses, these episodes have exposed us to the future of FitTech, and it seems only fitting to wrap up the series with a look at the top takeaways and pertinent points that have stuck with us.For the series finale, Chris is joined by Topodium Group’s very own Ryan Grimshaw and Charlotte Owen, where we share our own thoughts on the branding strategies and cultures that help businesses in the sector make better partnerships, stronger bonds with customers, and generate world-leading change.This episode covers:How brand identity extends beyond the logo and visual brandingGrowing emphasis on audio and podcasting in brand strategyConnecting with audiences uniquely based on each channel’s nuancesModern approaches to demonstrating good culture and ethosCreating more engaging experiences through partnershipsLinks & references at: in touch:
For parents, those working with children, or childcare professionals, the benefits of sporting activities for kids are plentiful and profound, and there’s never been a more important time for the industry to recover than now. With a massive pent-up demand for kids sport, leading wraparound care provider Junior Adventures are gearing up for a year to help the industry as a whole bounce back.Junior Adventures Group’s COO, Craig Jones, joins Chris Sharman on Making the Podium, to share the passion for child care that he’s incubated throughout his journey, which has seen him in huge roles at Fit For Sport, and the illustrious Hurlingham Club.This episode covers:The pent up demand for kids sport following lockdownsA growing consolidation of kids activity servicesEmbedding culture to maintain quality at scaleBattling bias against men in childcareCraig’s long standing belief in involving everyone in team environmentsLinks & references at: in touch:
2020 saw an 80% growth in demand for fitness apps, cementing FitTech as a compelling space to enter. Making the connections to do so can be an intimidating task, one that Natalia Karbasova has been helping countless businesses to achieve as Founder of the FitTech Summit. With a vision of a future that combines preventative health benefits with unique fitness solutions, Natalia joins us on Making The Podium to share the value she places on storytelling in business, how to find the right people to work with, and enforcing a “No asshole” policy...This episode covers:The future of gyms, and combining health with fitnessMassively increased demand on fitness apps in 2020Growing the profile of the incredible FitTech SummitWorking with the right people, and Natalia’s “No asshole” policyNatalia’s focus on storytelling as the most important thing in marketingLinks & references at: in touch:
It may come as a surprise to many that one of the key tools for today’s top athletes started life as a smart children’s toy. However, BlazePod’s shift away from kids fitness and into serving various sports from football to F1 has unlocked a valuable market, and helped grow a dedicated community.BlazePod’s Founder & CEO, Yaniv Shneiderman, has been able to steer the company from prototype to professional use with his passion for constructing innovative software and hardware alike. Hear how BlazePod amassed a user base over 100k strong, the patience and luck needed to enter physical production, and Yaniv’s outlook on the investment that’s been focused on innovative startups in Israel.This episode covers:Yaniv’s affinity for building both software and hardware from a young ageSatisfying high demand from crowdfunding campaignsRecent growing investment in Israel’s technology companiesThe role of patience, attention, and luck in hardware productionEncouraging growth within the BlazePod communityLinks & references at: in touch:
From a local, high demand class for toddlers to scooping up the Global Franchise Champion award last year, the meteoric rise of Little Kickers is one of international development and incredible demand from franchisees-to-be. Leading this impressive expansion as their Founder and Chairman is Christine Kelly.Joining Chris on this episode of Making The Podium, Christine delves into the continuation of her franchise’s culture and business model in overseas markets, the pros and cons of a franchise model, and how the past year’s troubles have generated a pent-up demand for classes like never before.This episode covers:Building Little Kickers from a desire for activities for young childrenEncouraging a focus on football as a vehicle for learningAdjusting to cultural differences in international marketsTaking advantage of a natural demand from franchiseesThe legal pain-points of franchisingLittle Kickers’ philanthropic future endeavoursLinks & references at: in touch:
Women’s sport is rightfully receiving increased support in recent years, much of this can be attributed to the incredible work of Women’s Sport Trust - a charity committed to increasing the profile of female athletes. Not only are they a force for good, but they are an exemplary case study on achieving large scale change with limited resources.From high level cultural shifts, to her consideration for grassroots businesses like her own Hapkido and meditation school, WST’s Co-Founder Tammy Parlour joins us this week to share the importance of internal motivation to accomplish her business goals, advice for businesses looking to combat unconscious bias, and the beneficial impact of female representation in high level sporting events.This episode covers:Tammy’s early start in martial arts, and the unique challenges of HapkidoLessons from setting up her Hapkido school which feed into other business scenariosBeing driven by internal motivations more than external pressuresThe inception and early success of Women’s Sport TrustAchieving large scale impact with limited resourcesAdvice for businesses to address unconscious biasesGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
We were delighted to be joined by Paul Bowman, CEO of Wexer - a provider of digital solutions for gym-goers to access workouts anywhere, anytime. Sharing lessons and tips from his time in Virgin Active and Gymbox, Paul joins Topodium Group’s Co-Founder and CMO Chris Sharman to detail Wexer’s journey to prevalence in the health and fitness sector, and the technological advancements that have helped them achieve their international success.Paul recounts some of the key business decisions that he’s taken to position the brand in a more specialised vertical than their competitors, the challenges of offering a new, conceptual service to clubs with longstanding processes, and how the relationship between clubs and influencers could become a symbiotic success if harnessed correctly.This episode covers:Lessons learned from being a PT that transfer to businessThe evolution of technology that made Wexer’s service possiblePositioning a brand around futuristic conceptsThe effect of 2020 on exacerbating digital fitness techThe relationship between influencers and fitness clubsGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
Suffering a sudden illness that keeps you housebound for over half a decade is a truly life-altering event. To bounce back from it to create a community around cooking the recipes that catalysed an incredible recovery shows true determination, adaptability, and an authenticity that translates across multiple social platforms.Turning what initially started as a dietary necessity for his recovery into a social media success amassing over 170k followers on Instagram alone, James Wythe joins Chris Sharman on this episode of Making The Podium to share how his unsuspecting hobby found traction, the consistency and experimentation that keeps his social media presence prominent, and favouring a smaller, more engaged following over achieving a single, viral hit.This episode covers:Combatting sudden illness through lifestyle changesTurning a health habit and a hobby into a businessFinding success through relatability and simplicityRetaining authentic engagement with your audienceKeeping followers’ trust when working with brandsBeing flexible when using new social platformsGet in touch: hello@topodiumgroup.comLinks & references at:
At first glance, the concept of single-handedly increasing footfall to a shopping centre by 22% is a daunting prospect. Compound that with the strategy to entice people to “go trampolining by accident”, and you’ll confuse many entrepreneurs. But locating Gravity’s first trampoline park in a shopping centre was no accident - it was the start of a leisure revolution.Gravity’s Co-Founder Michael Harrison joins Chris Sharman on the next episode of Making The Podium to explain how their unique service offering led to an initial influx of visitors, and initiated collaboration with Nandos, Pizza Express and many other food vendors. With a new centre in London imminent, boasting state-of-the-art, multi-faceted facilities, Michael shares the values and decisions that set Gravity on a stellar trajectory.This episode covers:Entering an untapped marketPositioning yourself to brace for an influx of competitorsThe importance of location and footfallCollaborating with other operators to improve service offeringsCreating a first-of-its-kind leisure venueSending a rounded marketing message across all platformsLinks & references at: in touch:
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store