The global sports apparel market is worth over $180 billion per year. Nike and Adidas are leading the pack and combined own a third of the market. The more established brands are being challenged by relative newcomers at a rate unlike anything that has gone before it. This new dawn is being driven by the power of the internet, mobile engagement, and social media. Take Gymshark.
Gymshark is a fitness apparel and accessories brand, manufacturer, and retailer headquartered in the UK. It was founded by school friends Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan in 2012 (both aged 19) with £1,000 in savings. Fast forward to August 2020, US private equity firm General Atlantic purchased a 21% stake in the company in a deal that valued the company over £1 billion. Not bad. Not bad at all. Particularly given the company does not have any brick-and-mortar stores. Gymshark was one of the first brands to make extensive use of influencer marketing by partnering with social media influencers.
Market dynamics have changed. Barriers to entry are a lot lower; online-only brands are not stigmatized and it has become an accepted business practice norm. So, brands (like Gymshark) come from seemingly nowhere but how do they ensure they don’t disappear into obscurity just as fast as they burst onto the scene? Company leaders and brand managers have a job these days. Technology and trends cast a shadow over everything marketers do, a brand’s reputation shifting based on one solitary social media post.
Building a brand by staying relevant
Brand perceptions are shaped by the way their organizations interact with clients, keeping up with the prevailing customer service or product/solution expectations. The key is to ensure customers feel truly connected to what’s being done. Managing a brand without any longer considering what customers want or (more importantly) believe about it could put it on a fast track to losing market share at best, vanishing into the obscurity at worst.
If we look at the world’s most recognized brands, there appears to be one common reason for them staying on top: relevancy. Remaining relevant does not mean doing the same thing time and again, rather a little more the opposite: companies need to jazz things up, be willing to do things just that little bit differently – but all without destroying the DNA that made them successful. That’s the difficult part.
Yes, sometimes wholesale change is required and conviction to plow the new direction is required to stay relevant but whatever is done, companies need to talk to their customers regularly.
Discovering what customers want
It wasn’t long ago enterprise apps were viewed as the means of achieving this but the reality is that not every customer of theirs will have a smartphone and access to the internet 24/7. It’s also easy for brands to over-egg the customer engagement recipe with an app-centric strategy, providing content pushes that are both too frequent, often banal, and lacking real consumer value. This is where Messaging comes in.
The ubiquity and familiarity of A2P SMS and chat apps (like WhatsApp Business) really helps companies using them. Conversing with customers using the digital channels they are so familiar with is a great move. So is consistency.
Consistency is king and ensuring the brand ‘story’ comes across clearly and uniformly across all channels is a must. The same voice and tone used with all customer-facing messaging is a great way to maintain that brand identity that quickly became familiar to the market.
All said and done, it’s about putting the customer first and ensuring they continue to trust you. Trust is loyalty. And loyalty results in a strong bottom line for any business structured well.
Messaging today is the absolute best way to talk to your customers and here at Mitto, we have perfected the art of client communication thanks to our all-encompassing CPaaS solution. We bring all the channels your customers are familiar with together in one easily accessible, understandable package and, using our years of enterprise experience, can help any brand remain exactly where they need to be – on top.