ekke salud

ekke Wellness Center

Pep Castarlenas

Lleida, Spain

The challenge

Transforming a traditional gym into a leading centre for active wellness

Helping our client turn a good, small city gym into a great 8,000-square-metre centre focusing on people’s active wellness.

Given the substantial investment involved, a huge growth in sales and, subsequently, in members, had to be achieved.

The aim was also to become the leading centre in its market area.


Not everyone is looking for the same things.

Sales growth could not be achieved with just one or two member-customer segments.

We identified four segments, each of them with their own needs.

  • People with a busy schedule, who still managed to find time for the gym.
  • People who knew they should go to the gym, but could not find the time.
  • People who went to the gym because they wanted a healthy lifestyle.
  • People who went to the gym out of vanity – to get the perfect body.

Like with any other services company, managing to get different segments to co-exist under the same roof was never going to be an easy task.

Some mental reward, common to all, needed to be offered.

If we focused on the reasons for going to the gym, the disparity was unsolvable. However, biologically, we saw that everyone could achieve the same goal – we know that, due to a phasic dopamine release, everyone feels better after some physical training.

insights ekke

The promise

You will feel better!

The idea

We suggested a brain-pleasing-marketing concept based on three principles:

  • Healthy self-centredness: feeling good also has a positive effect on your environment.
    One of the implications for this principle was changing the centre’s name – the name ‘ekke’, meaning “oneself” in Afrikaans, was chosen.
  • Enabling personal bonds: people, as social beings, want social interaction.
    Practical implications for this principle were bringing in social activities different to those typical for a gym, such as spaces to enable networking.
  • Biology-based claim: rather than trying to ‘convince by explaining the reasons for membership’, we chose the narrative option, combined with the managing of their imagination.
    One of the practical implications was the claim, ‘To feel totally refreshed’, which could be valid for all segments.
    Another claim was the brief given to the designers, to ensure customers’ feelings at each step of their ‘ekke usage journey’ were brain-pleasing.
interior gimnasio ekke

Back end

Using data to orchestrate segments coexistence.

To achieve a harmonious coexistence between the different segments, we devised a differentiated group-activity calendar, by time period, as well as a differentiated fee policy.

puerta ekke


ekke has become the city’s leading active-wellness centre.

It has gone beyond the large-gym concept to become the meeting point for active wellness in its market area.

Despite opening in June 2007 – just at the start of an economic downturn – by 2013, centre membership had increased more than fivefold: well above the desired goal.


We teamed up with ekke’s fantastic management team, led by Pep Castarlenas.

At m+f=!, we jointly devised the concept and guided its implementation at the centre’s launch.

Our main external collaborators were:

Palleja-León Arquitectes S.L.
Owa Estudi – Interior design
Estudi 78 – Corporate visual identity

interior gimnasio ekke