Gymshark, the British sports apparel brand, recently hit a $1.3 billion valuation after securing investment from General Atlantic, becoming the second UK start-up Unicorn company without the support of external investment. The brand is well-known for their social media actions, such as collaboration with athletes, posting customers’ photos on their Instagram channel. But Gymshark also keeps gaining public attention through directly supporting the workout community in inspiring and impactful ways, including a recent donation to British long jump champion Dan Bramble.
The story of Gymshark starts from a pizza delivery guy. Ben Francis, the founder of Gymshark, was having a part-time job at Pizza Hut at 19 years of age. As a keen gym-goer, Ben found it hard to get the clothes he wanted to wear, and decided to make it himself. Joined by his brother and high school friends, Ben created Gymshark out of his garage back in 2012. The brand has then grown from a screen-printing operation into one of the most recognizable brands in fitness.
How did this garage workshop grow into a $1.3 billion Unicorn company? By utilizing the 4 facets of brand positioning, we’re looking into some key elements behind Gymshark’s success.
Truth: Unlock the Limit in Everyone
With their high-quality products, Gymshark brings confidence and courage to customers, encouraging them to challenge their limits. The UK start-up provides functional gym clothes that are not only sweat-wicking, flexible and durable but more importantly, look good on customers.
Designed to be fit, flattering, functional and feel incredible, the clothes from Gymshark are made from technologically advanced fabrics and tailored to enhance customers’ physiques while giving supports to all the movements during the workout. Finding the balance between style and functionality Gymshark provides not only physical comfort to customers, but also create a mental boost to perform better in the gym. A lot of young gym-goers love sharing their photos wearing Gymshark because they feel confident wearing it.
The clothes come at a reasonable price, charged around £20-30, which is friendly to the wallets of young gym-goers. The price accessibility and quality in design bring confidence and motivation to more people, enabling them to take a step further.
Vision: Breakthrough the Zone, be a Visionary.
“Be all that you imagine you could be” is the shared belief of Gymshark. The brand has the spirit of being a visionary and is keen to always progress on it. Gymshark believes that “before there is an action, there is an idea”.
By making gym clothing and gear with advanced technology and trendy design, Gymshark encourages people to push their limits further by improving their body and mind, and more importantly, put their ideas into action.
From early on, Gymshark cooperates with athletes and influencers who share the same vision with the brand, and invite them to become brand ambassadors. The UK start-up delivers their vision to the consumers via their strong social media presence and inspires consumers to be unique and have a better vision of themselves.
Universe: A Supportive and Inclusive Gymshark Family
For Gymshark, everyone that supports the brand and vision is a member of the Gymshark family. Every product from the Gymshark website comes with a note saying “welcome to the Gymshark family”. Partnered with a bunch of prominent social media influencers on the biggest social networks, the UK start-up successfully creates a work-out community online and build a long-lasting relationship with fans.
The brand not only tells a compelling brand story to customers, but it also invites customers to tell their own stories. By sharing customers’ gym pictures and videos on Gymshark social media accounts, the brand successfully engages the customers and make them feel the support from the family, which attracts more people to join. From early on, Gymshark cooperates with athletes and big-name influencers since the early stage of its social media management, aiming to create a family that shared the same passion for fitness and in helping others, along with a vision to grow into something bigger than themselves. With the help of influencers, Gymshark builds the connection with the product, influencers and consumers. The brand engages internet celebrities and product with the customer via meet-ups where customers can meet the influencers and shop the product.
Personality: Fearless with Unlimited Possibilities
It is always good to have a gym partner who inspires you with enthusiasm and bring out the best of you. As a clothing brand, Gymshark is exactly that person. Gymshark is a brave athlete with unlimited possibilities. It is the kind of friend who always put themself to the limit and pushes you with them
Gymshark offers support to the community outside the gym and is not afraid to trigger response whether on a society level or on a lighter fun way through starting off conversations with other brands on Twitter. The account reached out to Aldi, Pizzahut, KFC etc. engage with other brands on Halloween with the question: The scariest thing about working for … is …. The tweet not only receives the feedback from the tagged brands but also attract other brands to join the activity. Gymshark is also keen to interact with
Gymshark stands for what they believe and is not afraid to show it in the action. Apart from donating to NHS, speaking out for BLM movements, the brand has shown support to the Gymshark family in a realistic way. Recently, Gymshark made a donation to Dan Bramble, the British long jump champion who suffers financial trouble during the pandemic, helping him “quit delivering parcels and get back to delivering gold”. Gymshark also showed support to BLM movements by giving a hand to the personal trainer Alex, who help clean up the streets after a riot. Gymshark also works with and support diversity, and continue improving it. The gym wear giant stands up against people who criticize diverse body shapes and disabled people and speak up to support the minority. Gymshark launched the Black Stories Matter campaign to engage black people to listen and amplify black British voice, encouraging them to tell people their thoughts and be courageous.
The brand is not afraid of taking a stand and tries to bring positivity to people and to inspire a better self in everyone, helping the whole workout community and beyond to achieve a better future.
Conclusion: Unapologetic Inspiration to a Generation
With its spirit of not afraid to take action and always pushing forward, the brand has effectively inspired thousands of young people and motivated them to bring out the better self. Gymshark is often compared with the likes of Nike, Under Armour and Lulu Lemon, but it differentiates itself with the character of not afraid of standing up for what it believes. By showing support to the workout community all over the world, offering them the resources they need to pursue their dreams, Gymshark has become more than a brand, an online community, but an inclusive family that support people to put their ideas into action.