Millennial marketing and the power of social media—here’s a few lessons from the global success and revolution of Gymshark, a UK-based fitness wear provider..
Case Study: The Gymshark Revolution
In the span of just four years, Gymshark has successfully propelled its business forward by providing a great selection of sportswear and a brilliant social media marketing strategy. These days, they’re at par with the big boys in the fitness industry.
What started as a screen-print retailer of sports apparel created by a 19-year old, has now become one of the UK’s fastest growing companies. In 2018, they reported a revenue of over $120 million – more than double from the previous year.
From production in a garage to distribution on a global scale (they now serve customers in more than 131 countries), the company is certainly going the right way. And their non-traditional marketing strategies are certainly one of the strongest drivers of their success.
Below, the Fierce team has picked out three key lessons from Gymshark’s global success. Let’s check it out…
Define success by finding your niche
Niche is everything, says Patrina Nolan, our digital marketing manager here at Fierce Digital.
Back in 2012, when Gymshark first entered the UK market, the industry had two distinct target customers: functional apparel and affordable fitness wear. The first category was provided by well-known brands, such as Nike and Under Armour, but their high-quality fabrics were often considered expensive for the average gym bunny. The other end of the spectrum – affordable fitness wear – were somehow focused towards the more serious body building market.
Once again, the average gym goer was left out. There was a clear gap in the market.
Gymshark focused its effort on bridging the gap by providing functional and fashionable sportswear. You know, clothes you can use in the gym – and stylish enough to use them outside the gym, too. This happened at the exact same time as millennials started this trend of wearing very sporty, retro outfits. Gymshark not only had opportunity, they also had perfect timing as well!
Key lesson: Before Gymshark revolutionized the way marketing for sports brands is done, they first disrupted the landscape of sportswear by focusing on creating products targeted for a specific niche.
Jumpstart success by leveraging influencers
When Ben Francis first started the company, Campaign Strategy Executive Sarah Cation explains, his marketing strategy was mainly focused on social media and brand awareness.
The brand’s online success started when Francis started sending out Gymshark apparel to fitness athletes, hoping that they would wear it and spread the word on social media. This is a strategy we now know as influencer marketing. Back then, however, nobody was really doing it.
When choosing their influencers, Gymshark looked further than just the number of followers. Each influencer was – and still is – handpicked by the company to make sure that credibility and authenticity are present whenever their products are being promoted. All in all, this ensures that the brand is always represented in the best way possible.
Following this initial investment in influencer marketing, Gymshark took their sports marketing to the next level by turning their influencers into brand ambassadors. These collaborations gave Gymshark the leverage they needed to penetrate even deeper into the social media fitness communities.
Key lesson: effectively establishing their brand and executing social media promotions through well-loved fitness athletes, Instagram influencers, and YouTubers are what eventually catapulted Gymshark from the UK market to a global scale.
Ensure long-lasting success by actively engaging with the community
It’s all about creating authentic and strong relationships, concludes Christina Sunneklep, our content strategist here at Fierce HQ. Indeed, the company’s success and momentum can certainly be traced back to social media and influencer marketing done right – but Gymshark didn’t stop there.
In fact, leveraging the community they created on social media became the key to Gymshark’s long-lasting success.
Gymshark is visible on the biggest social media platforms, maximizing each one to fuel constant growth. Not only do they have a large following on the main platforms, but they’re also visible on channels such as Spotify, Pinterest and even TikTok (and yes, their branding is consistent on each one…).
Rather interestingly, the primary purpose of their social media accounts is to build brand awareness and give value to their followers – and not to generate sales. This is the main reason why Gymshark has managed to develop an amazing relationship with their followers: after all, nobody likes hard selling.
Key lesson: Thebest way of creating long-lasting success is to connect with customers on a deeper level. Gymshark does this by creating helpful tutorials, vlogs and other value-based videos and articles. Additionally, YouTube subscribers can also find exclusive behind-the-scenes videos of the influencers and ambassadors they like. This not only adds brand value, but also builds trust by resonating with their viewers.
Disrupting an industry
In the span of just six years, Gymshark is already competing with brands that have been ruling the fitness and sportswear industry for decades. The company’s success only proves the power there is when a company constantly invests in people. From providing a solution of functional and stylish fitness wear, to success in modern millennial marketing and social media, to creating a worldwide fitness community, Gymshark’s success in all of these areas revolves around one concept—to add value to people.