If you step foot into any gym across the country, you can almost guarantee that you will see someone dressed head to toe in Gymshark clothing. The Gymshark aesthetic has been defined through their matching gym wear sets which are colourful and come in many different styles to flatter different body types. Online, they are promoted by what they call their ‘Gymshark Athletes’, who are essentially influencers who they endorse to exclusively wear their clothing across their social media platforms alongside occasionally appearing at PR events to support the brand.
Recently, I’ve been researching influencer endorsements specifically on Instagram for my dissertation which focuses on the authenticity of these communications as its evident that some influencers accept endorsements for personal or financial gain. I think that Gymshark is a great example of a brand which uses influencer endorsements in an effective way which the audience believe. Initially, the founder of Gymshark Ben Francis recruited a very small number of social media influencers to endorse the brand online. Now, this has grown into huge community which promotes Gymshark as a brand to a reach of over 20 million people. Moreover, the popularity of their products amongst regular gym-goers also helps to promote the brand as the items are often visibly branded with their logo.
On the Gymshark website it states that there isn’t a set criteria, or way to apply to become an athlete. Instead, they choose who endorses the brand due to their uniqueness and the positive influence they have over others. Furthermore, they also mainly recruit people who have an exclusive fitness based social media account and have worn a lot of Gymshark clothing on their platforms. Therefore, when they become Gymshark athletes, there is a tangible link between the individuals interests and the brand they are promoting. The way they recruit their athletes has led to a diverse representation amongst Gymshark ambassadors with many using their platform to speak about the dangers of diet culture, importance of body positivity and the benefits of weightlifting.
As an avid consumer of influencer endorsement on social media, I rarely believe the messages which influencers spread as I know how lucrative it can be as a career. I struggle to believe in a brand if they fall to the same pool of influencers who clearly only endorse the product for financial gain as they haven’t used the product before promoting it. In my opinion, Gymshark have found a genius way to use influencers as their sole promotional activity through working with people which have a genuine passion for fitness, enjoy their products and communicate a positive message to their audience. Gymshark have been known to send new products as PR activity to popular influencers who don’t have a link to fitness. Whilst this does boost the profile of the brand by accessing a wider audience, I don’t believe these promotions due to the individuals having no previous link to fitness and therefore not having a reliable opinion on whether the clothing is good or not. Personally, for me to believe an influencer endorsement there needs to be a visible link between the influencer and the brand or product they are working with. What do you think?