Today there is a lot of talk about social media and that influencer marketing is the future of brands. However, it is not as often as you hear about the companies and brands that have actually succeeded on social media. Therefore, we thought we would share three brands that have not only succeeded on social media but have experienced unparalleled success thanks to awesome influencer marketing strategies.
Gymshark is a company from the UK that sells fitness clothing and is a perfect example of how to use social media for growth, sales and branding. Like so many brands before, Gymshark was started by a bunch of friends in a garage because they themselves had a hard time finding gym clothes that they liked. It was not long before their homemade gym clothes began to get attention at the local gym and it was quickly realized that the clothes had the potential for something bigger. At this point, founder Ben Francis was only 19 years old and he decided to follow a strategy he considered best; contact fitness influencers that he himself looked up to. It would soon prove to be a smart move and before Francis knew it, Gymshark began to gain momentum.
A combination of stylish and contemporary gym clothes in pastel colors, tight fits and low prices resulted in Gymshark quickly becoming popular on Instagram. Even today, the price remains one of the brand’s main advantages as their most expensive garment costs $ 80, which is less than many competitors’ cheapest garments. Gymshark are now so big that the probability is high that you have seen one of your favorite influencers or one of the world’s biggest celebrities wear the badge. The brand has already reached a point where marketing is self-sustaining and you could stop hiring more influencers.
How are the results from Gymshark’s strategy? Let’s take a look. Since 2012 when the company was founded, it has managed to attract more than 5 million followers on three separate Instagram accounts and hundreds of thousands of followers on other social networks. In addition, Gymshark is available online in 131 countries and in 2016 was named the fastest growing company in the UK. Not bad for a fitness brand that was started in a garage by a 19-year-old app developer.
PrettyLittleThing is an online store that sells clothes for young women aged 15-35 and when it comes to growing rapidly on social media, few can match this success story. In 2012, the brothers Umar Kaman and Adam Kaman started selling accessories under the name PrettyLittleThing and 7 years later they are an internationally recognized fashion brand with several big celebrities as ambassadors. In addition, they sell more than just accessories and their clothing has grown to become a global phenomenon. According to the founder Umar Kaman, the way to their success is that they have managed to establish meaningful relationships with international celebrities and there is no doubt that they have succeeded.
Since its inception in 2012, influencers and celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Rita Ora and Nikki Minaj, to name a few, have all worn PrettyLittleThing’s clothing and sales are increasing dramatically on an annual basis. At the end of 2018, they launched a new collection and a Christmas campaign with the supermodel Hailey Bieber (formerly Baldwin) as the face. In 2016, as it worked to expand from the UK market to the US, PrettyLittleThing managed to negotiate with none other than Kylie Jenner to represent the brand and organize a launch party for their new flagship store in Los Angeles.
And the question remains; What results have been achieved with this influencer marketing strategy?
In 2017, PrettyLittleThing was bought by Boohoo for a multimillion sum and today you can boast over 10 million followers on Instagram. As if that were not enough, annual revenues of over 300 million pounds have been reported and crowned the fastest growing fashion company online.
In our search for brands that can thank an aggressive and well-planned strategy on social media for their success, Swedish NA-KD stands out. NA-KD was founded in Sweden in 2015 and in less than 4 years has grown into an international fashion brand that has taken the industry by storm. With that said, NA-KD’s strategy differs from the other two companies on the list, so let’s look at it.
Instead of letting huge influences and celebrities market the brand, NA-KD has focused on micro- to mid-influencers with high commitment. In an interview, Creative Marketing Manager Ivana Vrbenski explained the basis of their strategy as follows:
“Once we started a collaboration with an American influencer who had 1.6 million followers – to our great surprise she did not deliver any results. Later we contacted a sweet German influencer with about 350,000 followers and during the first 24 hours she generated a ridiculously large number of sales. We were completely taken by the results and in the end it showed that reliability and commitment are the key to success for influencers. ”
In our eyes, Ivana confirms something that many industry experts are already aware of, that high engagement is often more important than the number of followers when it comes to influencer marketing. Impressively, NA-KD’s strategy on social media has resulted in a machinery that is almost self-propelled. Initially, NA-KD spent a lot of time inviting influencers and handing out free products, but it is no longer required. Instead, influencers use the hashtag #nakdfashion to get the brand’s attention in the hope of a collaboration, as we mentioned earlier, NA-KD’s well-executed strategy with micro-influencers has really succeeded.
In less than four years, NA-KD has been named one of the 20 fastest growing companies in Europe and qualified for fourth place among the largest fashion brands on Instagram and YouTube in Europe after Zara, Dior and Calzedonia. With its 2 million followers on Instagram, it is also the largest Swedish brand of its kind on the platform.
Based on our review of these three companies, there are a few things other brands should take into account.
First and foremost, it is clear how important a good and stable strategy is, although it certainly does not mean that you have to follow in the footsteps of other brands. In fact, the three brands we talked about used three very different strategies to achieve similar results.
Gymshark focused on hiring and inspiring with influencers that the founders themselves looked up to, no matter how big or small they were.
PrettyLittleThing used a more traditional influencer marketing strategy where they contacted celebrities and influencers with lots of followers.
NA-KD, on the other hand, chose a more modern solution where the focus was on micro-influencers and where commitment was more important than the number of followers. This in turn resulted in a self-propelled marketing machine that continues to drive fantastic results.