Gymshark is one of the biggest fitness brands in the world. Founded by teenager Ben Francis in 2012, the business has achieved great success and now in 2023 has an estimated worth of over $1 billion. Gymshark is arguably one of the first brands to utilise social media and influencers. By using social media Ben Francis was able to build a following of loyal supporters, which has been one of the main factors in their success.
Gymshark had to get inventive at the beginning. Due to a small marketing budget, they had to approach marketing differently compared to the businesses at that time. Gymshark concluded social media was an effective tool to connect with their target market of fitness enthusiasts. They created a community of like-minded people, using websites like Instagram and YouTube to promote their products, create motivational content and fitness advice, whilst showcasing their products. At this time YouTube and Instagram were a constant growing platform for content creators.
Gymshark used influencer marketing as one strategy to grow their social media following. They reached out to fitness influencers for collaboration after identifying those who shared their brand’s values and identity. The influencers promoted Gymshark to their followers, who were interested in fitness and apparel, by mentioning the company in their social media posts and wearing Gymshark products in their videos. Gymshark then created ‘Gymshark Athletes’. Gymshark Athletes are signed to the clothing line to promote the brand and offer exclusive discounts to their followers.
By using influencers to grow their following, Gymshark could target audiences of fitness enthusiasts and social media users. This allowed the brand to grow a loyal and engaged fanbase and fans didn’t have to redirect their them to their platforms. By utilising social media as a direct platform for the brand, Gymshark had already mastered audience engagement and retention.
Gymshark’s marketing approach also stands out for the way it segmented its audience by releasing different gym lines. Instead of choosing a one-size-fits-all strategy, they have developed products for particular exercise styles and target markets.
For instance, they have a collection of women’s gym clothing made especially for weightlifting. Leggings and crop shirts in this collection are form-fitting and comfortable to wear while lifting heavy. Additionally, they have a range of products with breathable materials and durable designs for intense workouts like CrossFit. Gymshark segmented their audiences into three groups:
- Gymshark Women
- Gymshark Men
- Gymshark Lifting Club.
By segmenting their audience, along with the use of influencers, Gymshark has created a sense of inclusivity by personalising their clothing, giving customers a sense of identity. The clothing line tapped into what fitness enthusiasts wanted and created a loyal fan base from it. Gymshark now sponsors professional athletes and bodybuilders, however they still use influencer marketing due to its effectiveness. Gymshark was able to capitalise on social media and influencers at the time, however social media platforms have developed, and new tools are available.
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