View a full range of our ebooks

View full library

Explore

Our Location

The PHA Group
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,
London,
W1F 0UN

0207 0251 350
info@thephagroup.com
PHA Digital Studio
Fourth Floor,
47 Dean St,
Soho,
London,
W1D 5BE

0207 0251 350
info@thephagroup.com
PHA Finance Department
117 Wardour Street,
Hammer House,
London,
W1F 0UN

0207 0251 350
info@thephagroup.com

How to promote your sporting event

How to promote your sporting event

At The PHA Group, we specialise in providing PR support for multiple mass participation events.

Most recently we have worked with a number of brands including UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) – the world’s largest and highest mixed martial arts promotion, as well as successfully launching the endurance event ToughMudder to the UK, and for the last four years, we have worked closely with the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

The 11th edition of the Royal Parks Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 14 October where we will see 16,000 runners go through four of London’s eight Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

It is still the only race of its kind that takes place in the major parks of central London, and whilst there have been some small changes to the route over the years, the race continues to celebrate London’s most iconic green landscapes.

In order to create as much noise as possible ahead of the event, and to ensure The Royal Parks Half Marathon is continually positioned as one of the most iconic events in London, we have worked tirelessly to deliver a successful communications campaign over the last four years. We’ve regularly delivered over 200 pieces of coverage around the race and employed excellent tactics to achieve our client’s objectives.

Working with charity partners
The Royal Parks Half has remained focused on its charitable aims which is a credit too much of its success with their many charity partnerships. The race has now raised in excess of £36 million since 2008 for its participating charities. Working closely with the races charity partners, we have been very successful at placing runner case studies of individuals who are taking part in the event to raise money for their respective charities. Last year, we placed 40+ case studies for charities including GOSH, Cancer Research UK, Mind, and MacMillan. Helping to increase their fundraising efforts.

royal parks charityroyal parks charity 2royal parks charity 3

Maximising sponsorship opportunities
The Royal Parks Half Marathon work has different sponsors each year and we work closely with them to maximise coverage around the race. Whether that’s inviting journalists to do a gait analysis at Runners Need, to placing expert comment from coaches at Trube, to announcing corporate sponsorship deals with Royal Bank of Canada, our campaigns always maximise opportunities.

Engaging with celebrities
Over the course of the last four years, we’ve had a number of celebrities take part in the race including TV personality Ben Fogle, Olympian Rebecca Adlington, actor Adam Woodyatt, radio presenter and DJ Chris Evans and TV presenters Jenni Falconer, Emily Maitlis and Jo Whiley.

Royal Parks - Mail online celeb

Media engagement
Every year we have secured attendance from at least 30+ journalists including London Evening Standard, Mail Online, Daily Express, Mirror Online, Metro, ITV London, The Telegraph, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Health and Women’s Fitness have all taken part in the event in the last few years.

Mail Online - Royal ParksEvening Standard - Royal ParksRoyal Parks - ITV News

We pride ourselves on delivering impactful, measurable campaigns for our clients and don’t stop working until the job is done. As a team we are hugely passionate about sport and fitness and love what we do. You can expect that enthusiasm to shine through in every aspect of our work.

Interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your mass participation event? Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to find out how we can support your event.

How to launch a new fitness app in a highly competitive market

For the past four years, we have been working with leading health and fitness company LDNM. In that time the business has gone from strength to strength, from turning over £50 to a business which now turns over £1.5 million. As well as selling downloadable fitness guides to over 150,000 people worldwide, LDNM has a Personal Training Academy, a fitness app, a supplements range, a clothing range and a nationwide food delivery service.

We helped LDNM launch their new fitness app to market and the success was incredible, with the app reaching number two in the world for downloads in the health and fitness paid for apps category.

Health and fitness apps have continued to grow in popularity over the last few years and that trend continues to gather momentum.  According to research from Flurry Analytics, usage of health and fitness apps has grown by over 330% in the last three years (http://www.netimperative.com/2017/09/health-fitness-app-usage-grew-330-just-3-years/).

The trend of following a healthy lifestyle makes people turn to health and fitness apps as it provides them with the fastest and easiest solution to stay on track. But what’s the best way to promote a fitness app in a highly competitive marketplace and what PR tactics should your business use to maximise exposure and drive downloads?

Properly executing a well thought out strategy is key, and here are our three pieces of advice to make sure you stand out from the crowd…

Appeal to your target audience

The success of LDNM and the foundation of the business are the customers who download their fitness guides. Making sure we had a bank of case studies of real people who had transformed their lives through the help of LDNM at the time of the launch, helped us secure coverage in key outlets which are read by LDNM’s demographic. We achieved coverage in the Mail Online, Mirror Online, Sun Online and Joe.co.uk and within each article, we ensured that the call to action was for people to head to the app store to download the app.

Utilise your assets and tell a story

LDNM was founded by two sets of brothers, twins James and Tom Exton and brothers Max and Lloyd Bridger. At the time, the female face of the business was Alice Liveing aka “Clean Eating Alice”. Through our ongoing PR campaign with LDNM, we carefully built their respective profiles in the health and fitness media, national media and business press.  We then strategically placed articles which positioned them as experts in each of those sectors, ensuring that the coverage landed around the time that the app launched to further build momentum and maintain the buzz around the launch. One way we successfully achieved this was through capitalising on the news agenda and by putting forward the founders- who are all qualified PT’s as spokespeople to comment on topical issues. Co-founder Lloyd Bridger appeared on Sky News to talk about the pros and cons of fitness trackers.

Timing and social media is key

In the fitness world, the first quarter between January- March is the best time to capitalise on consumer behaviours. The LDNM fitness app launched in

March and internally LDNM did a lot of organic promotion to tease the launch of the app during the “new year, new you” period across their hugely engaged social channels- which have a combined following of almost one million.

PR should work hand-in-hand with a well thought out social media strategy and if executed correctly, it should amplify the reach and impact of your app launch.  In our experience, taking time to carefully plan a well thought out strategy is key. Ensure that you build the trust of your existing customer base first before you launch so that you can test the waters, which in turn will help you attract new customers and ultimately drive app downloads.

If you’d like to find out how our award-winning sports team or our social media experts can help bolster your app or brand speak to a member of the team today.

 

Make your fitness brand stand out

The recent State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealed that the health club industry is continuing to grow with more clubs, more members and a greater market value than ever before (£4.7bn). And this is just the health club sector. With each sector of the fitness industry becoming more and more crowded, what do fitness brands need to do in order to position themselves as market leaders? Here, we take a look at five great ways to do just that.

1) Sharing success stories
Consumers will always be drawn to fitness brands if they can see that the product or service is having a positive impact on people’s lives. The leading gym chain in the UK, Xercise4less, has been very successful in placing case studies, which show off how the gym chain has helped to change members’ lives for the better.

Some examples:
A member who has used Xercise4Less facilities to lose weight
A member who is using exercise to fight off mental health problems
A personal trainer duo who launched a class for mental health

2) Utilising Instagram Influencers
In a recent survey by One Poll, Instagram was voted one of the biggest influencers, when it comes to consumer behaviour, ahead of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Every month we are witnessing more and more influential Instagram users pop up on the scene, users who inform and educate their followers about health, fitness and nutrition through their Instagram channels.

These individuals are all part of a new generation of online influencer, which the savviest fitness brands are already tapping into.

Although an online health and fitness influencer may have a smaller reach than traditional media outlets, their followers are likely to be precisely the target audience that fitness brands are looking to attract.

Fitness clothing brand Gymshark, which was founded just over two years, has clearly invested a lot of its marketing budget on engaging with online influencers. Now Gymshark is a market leader in the “trendy” gym clothing sector. Through effectively engaging with online influencers, the brand has built up a social following of over 1.4m on Facebook and over 2.2m on Instagram.

Here are some great examples of social media influencers that health and fitness brands should look to engage with:

  • Lydia Millen and Ali Gordon: They are known as ‘The Lifestyle Couple’ of social media with over 1m followers between them. They currently work with the likes of GymShark, a leading supplement brand and the camera brand Olympus.
  • The Harrison Twins: Owen and Lewis Harrison have over 1.25m followers between them and are the face of leading sports nutrition brand ESN.
  • Zanna Van Dijk: Zanna has attracted a great deal of attention for documenting her body transformation on Instagram. She now has 222k Instagram followers and works with a number of brands including Adidas.

3) Becoming a voice of authority
If yours is a fitness brand which focuses on the wellbeing of its customers then it is important that consumers believe in, and respect, the advice and opinion of individuals within your organisation. Positioning these individuals as voices of authority within the media is a great way of gaining respect from consumers and also cementing the reputation of your brand as a trustworthy industry leader.

In order to gain that respect, key spokespeople from your organisation should be writing thought leadership pieces on a regular basis on the subject(s) that they specialise in. It is also important to keep on top of the news agenda, as this will help to provide your spokespeople with the opportunity to react and respond to relevant news stories which are been covered in the media.

LDN Muscle, a business which produces downloadable e-guides, are regularly featured in this way in the media. Often, this even goes as far as providing them with the opportunity to use negative stories, as a way of promoting their own products and services in a positive way:

Here are some examples:

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/health/8-ways-to-stay-motivated-to-workout-regularly-a3732246.html

When TOWIE star Gemma Collins discussed her use of juice diets, LDN Muscle provided comment on the dangers of such diets and explained how to get in shape using their Bikini Guides, instead.

4) Securing celebrity ambassadors
Many brands within the health and fitness space choose to utilise celebrity ambassadors to help build the profile of their brand and promote their products or services.

When it comes to brands identifying a suitable celebrity ambassador, it is imperative that they choose someone who their target market can relate to, and will respond to.

One of the best celebrity partnerships was launched by clothing label Ellesse with Lucy Mecklenburgh. The partnership was designed to promote Ellesse’s range of fitness clothing. Lucy is incredibly popular amongst young females and has shown an incredible passion for fitness in recent years. As such, this was a brand ambassador relationship which was believable, and which effectively targeted the correct end user.

5) Exploring cross promotion
With so many different markets in the fitness industry, there are many opportunities for brands to cross-promote their services with other brands operating in the same sector.

This tactic not only enables both brands to gain access to the database and social media channels of the other but, in doing so, it also allows both businesses gain a greater level of exposure amongst a new audience.

Specialist food company MuscleFood has carried out cross-promotional activity with brands in the running events sector and protein market, as well as with gyms and online personal trainers. MuscleFood always offers strong promotional discounts and competition prizes when it does this type of activity. Both brands, meanwhile, benefit from a greater level of exposure. Like GymShark, MuscleFood has, through cross-promotional activity such as this, been able to gain a very strong presence on social media, including 270K followers on Instagram.

If you’re interested in learning more about how PR can make your fitness brand stand out, get in touch with us today

Influencer marketing: adidas

The concept of a brand hiring an influencer to promote a product, service, event or wider campaign isn’t new. In fact, with many brands reporting that traditional advertising and marketing such as television, print media and digital are becoming less effective, it is no surprise that more and more brands are including permanent influencer marketing spend in their budgets.

No longer can we afford to think of influencer marketing as a novel strategy, when by the year 2020 influencer marketing global spend is set to become a billion-dollar industry.

One brand that we wanted to highlight in this piece is adidas, whose effective influencer strategy has had tangible effects on both sales and brand awareness and is, without a doubt, a contributing factor in adidas CEO, Kasper Rørsted being able to say that ‘2017 was a strong year – financially and operationally. We made great progress toward achieving our mission to be the best sports company in the world.’

Below are five notable ways we can learn from adidas’ success with influencers over the last two years:

Creative content

In addition to giving influencers creative freedom when it comes to content, adidas also create their own bespoke content that features influencers. As an influencer, this content is something you want to be involved in and want to share across your social channels because it’s different, exciting and more often than not, something you would not be able to produce yourself. adidas, therefore, ends up with engaging content for use on their own channels and a group of top fitness influencers sharing the same content with their thousands of followers. This is a tactic that works incredibly well when spreading campaign messaging or supporting kit launches.

Example 1: Back in January adidas worked with many of the UK’s leading fitness influencers to create content that featured each influencer encouraging their followers to set goals for 2018 and show the year ‘what they are made of’:

Hey 2018! ✨💫 I’ve got my dreams and you’ve got yours, let’s all move and fall and get back up again 🙃 #heretocreate #createdwithadidas #movement #mindandbody #2018 @adidaslondon @adidaswomen

A post shared by Lottie Murphy (@lottiemurphy_) on

||TWENTY EIGHTEEN🌟|| LET’S DO THIS. Another 365 opportunities to hussle for your dreams. No matter what your dreams are life, work, fitness, health; you get out what you put in. . Goals are just dreams with deadlines. Those goals aren’t just for January, here’s to a year (& plenty more years) of bad-assery however you do you. Happy New Year! Peace & Love, Kim x ✌🏼 #tonewhatyouown #heretocreate #createdwithadidas #collab @adidaslondon @adidaswomen

A post shared by Tone What You Own ™ ✌🏼💛 (@kimhartwell) on

Creativity is the purest form of authenticity, because what you create with love is a direct expression of your soul. . . . .So don't fear, put yourself out there, come out of your comfort zone, be present and keep creating…or recreating yourself❤ . . What are you excited about this year? Who do you want to be ? What do you want to create? . . .Tell me below beauties…❤ . . . . @adidaslondon @adidaswomen . #heretocreate #createdwithadidas #adidaswomen #adidaslondon #move #create #bepresent #beyou #ad #isawelly

A post shared by Isa-Welly Locoh-Donou (@isawelly) on

Example 2: Just this month adidas turned their ambassador, model and businesswoman Karlie Kloss, into a hologram, along with many other UK fitness influencers, to launch the new Stella McCartney collection for adidas:

🥊🥊 #lessimpactmorepower @adidaslondon

A post shared by Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) on

Well hello Sunny Saturday! Whats everyone up to today?👀👀 THis is the Perfect day for some outdoor workout followed by a nice brunch with friends🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿🙌🏿… but Im at school all day so thats just me dreamimg it😂😂😂 . . . . . Earlier this week I Hologram'd my moves in the new @stellamccartney collection for @adidaslondon ….. The collection is made of organic cotton, recyclable materials and with minimum waste…AND still look and feel great! #lessimpactmorepower . . .Have a great weekend beauties ❤ . . . . #createdwithadidas #adidaslondon #stellamccartney #isawelly #pilates #movement

A post shared by Isa-Welly Locoh-Donou (@isawelly) on

Rise to the challenge! Get up, get out, get active. A light jog, a hill session, sprints or drills, today move your body and be free. #lessimpactmorepower #heretocreate @adidaslondon @adidaswomen

A post shared by Natasha Scarlet (@natashascarlet_) on

Worldwide community

adidas have successfully built a community of influencers worldwide which allows them to tap into an international audience of millions.

By building an influencer network, adidas have increased the momentum to be able to promote and grow the brand in a long-lasting way, creating brand awareness with different audience groups which ultimately means better brand visibility.

Example 1: adidas ambassadors/influencers from different countries often link up and create content to share across their platforms. They tag each other and adidas in their respective posts allowing both influencer and adidas to reach a new market.

Here, London based fitness influencer Bradley Simmonds linked up with Australia’s Steph Smith whilst she was on a trip in London:

Last session with @stephclairesmith before she heads back to @adidasau, ending with a strong one 🔥 A superb role model and An absolute joy to train 👊🏼 THE WORKOUT! 1. Cable rotation (10reps both sides) 2. Woodchops (10reps BS) 3. Cable v-sits (12reps) 4. Cable hanging knee raises (12reps) 5. Cable cross climbers (20reps) 6. Boxing style (10 reps both sides) 7. Alligator crawl (30seconds) Three rounds to be completed 🔥 Choose your weight wisely ensuring your technique is spot on with enough weight to push yourself 👍🏻 @stephclairesmith smashed it 🔥 @adidaswomen @adidasuk @adidasau YOU CAN purchase my 4 WEEK CORE program by visiting bradleysimmonds.com 👍🏻 #getitdone #coreworkout #core #abs #absworkout #bbg #adidas #fitnessgirl #gymmotivation #gymlife #model

A post shared by bradleysimmonds (@bradleysimmonds) on

BACK IN THE GAME with @adidasau @stephclairesmith 🔥 A great workout that doesn't require much space in the gym. Your next workout 👍🏻 1. Kettlebell deep squat – 10reps 2. Kettlebell goblet squat – 10reps 3. Pulse lunge – 10reps (Both Sides) 4. Curtsy pulse – 10reps (BS) 5. Split box lunge – 10reps (BS) 6. Incline Bridge – 20reps 7. Single incline bridge – 10reps (BS) 8. Single Bridge – 10reps (BS) 9. Pistol squats – 10reps (BS) THREE ROUNDS 🔥💦 #getitdone #humpday #bumworkout #legday #gymlife #gymworkout #gymmotivation #fitnessgirl #bbg #fitspo #glutes #weightlossjourney #squats #wieghtloss #fitnessmotivation

A post shared by bradleysimmonds (@bradleysimmonds) on

Here, two adidas global ambassadors – Adrienne LDN (London) and Julie Nelson (New York) – met up at the adidas Studio ahead of an adidas event:

Look who’s in town! 🇬🇧 @jawsnelson @adidaswomen ⚡️ Feelin pumped for next weeks event, stay tuned! 🥊😘 #adidaswomen #adidasfam #london #fitness #fridayfeels #fitnessmotivation

A post shared by ADRIENNE LDN (@adrienne_ldn) on

Example 2: Whether it’s a kit launch or fitness event, the support of their influencer community often means that adidas have hundreds and sometimes thousands of pieces of social coverage to amplify their reach.

This worked exceptionally well when influencers from across the globe touched down in London town for the launch of adidas Athletics Z.N.E. Pulse Collection:

Always grateful to be part of the @adidas family. Thank you London for having us yesterday #ThePulseOf London #pulseofathletics #zne #adidas

A post shared by Dipika Pallikal Karthik (@dipikapallikal) on

What an extraordinary feeling it is to be a part of the @AdidasMENA ambassador team for the global launch of the @Adidas #ZNE #PulseCollection. Inspired by heartbeats of athletes from around the world 💗🌏 Thank you #Adidas, I can't wait for the world to see the new line! [Released 31st August in store] #thepulseof #london

A post shared by Ivana Bruic 🇭🇷🇦🇺 (@miss_austyle) on

Had a really good yoga session today with these lovely girls ☺️ unfortunately I am not as flexible as them, but I tried my best 😬 @yogabodylondon with @giuliacalcaterra and @nesarassouli also @barzomer @miss_austyle @verenje Next: #thepulseof event #adidas #london #events #takechargeldn #bethenext #yogabodylondon #blogger #sourroundedbybloggers #fitgirls #notflexible #flexible #triedmybest #yoga

A post shared by Pamela Forster (@pamelaforster) on

I can't even begin to put in words how magical this trip has been for me. Meeting inspiring people from every part of the world, making new friends, and the most amazing part of it all, experiencing the world of @adidas has been so eye opening for me. It's incredible how much you can learn in so little time of you believe in yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Friends, if there's anything you're hesitating to do today because you're scared, nervous or unsure- TAKE THE LEAP. You're stronger than you think😉 #thepulseof London #ZNE

A post shared by Nesa Rassouli (@nesarassouli) on

Nothing but good vibes @Adidas #ZNE #thepulseof LONDON✌

A post shared by Ivana Bruic 🇭🇷🇦🇺 (@miss_austyle) on

Good morning my friends! Today I was meeting the amazing @adidas ambassadors from all over the world, and we are so excited for the big release of the PULSE collection tonight! @adidas @adidasisrael #zne #ThePulseOf ✌🏻

A post shared by Bar Zomer (@barzomer) on

Hanging with the @adidas girls in #London where they make for a very pretty #shoefie. #ThePulseof #ZNE

A post shared by Nandini Bhalla (@nandinibhalla) on

Influencer campaigns

adidas often run influencer campaigns using their global hashtag, #heretocreate, that aim to inspire and to get eyes on new product launches. These campaigns are extremely valuable because they allow influencers to tell adidas’ story for them and let’s face it, what better way to show off new kit or trainers than with multiple fitness influencers posting athletic pictures of themselves all wearing the same kit, alongside inspirational messaging.

Example 1: adidas Women’s Training wanted to inspire to help kick-start New Year fitness regimes with a New Year campaign. UK based fitness influencers shared their goals for 2017 on New Year’s Day in the hopes of inspiring and encouraging their followers to set and achieve their own goals. Each influencer involved in this campaign shared a post on Instagram and created in Instagram story to go alongside it:

2017 I'm coming for you 💪🎉 the last 12 months I finally discovered what it was like to truly have a healthy mindset and balanced lifestyle. Exercise and being 'fit' is more than what you can lift, what you look like, or how much you weigh, its about moving your body, working towards a goal and motivating not just yourself, but others around you. If you're striving for anything this year, make sure it's not just a healthy body on the outside, but a healthy mindset, a balanced lifestyle and a whole lotta self love ❤️ #HereToCreate #AdidasWomen #AD #LovaineWorkout

A post shared by Emilie Layla Lovaine-James (@lovaine_james) on

{{ 2017 • L O O K I N G • U P }} So for many the new year brings many new goals, new dreams, new starts and new resolutions… I'm setting myself the goal to create STRENGTH through BALANCE in 2017. Strength to train hard, laugh often, explore more, forgive easily, practice fearlessness, do yoga every day and be kind to myself. In hope of finding continued balance in my work, family and social life … and of course in side plank 😊 What are your goals? #heretocreate @adidasuk. . . . 📸by @sam_hot_jams All red errrrthang by @adidasuk (obvs 😘) #adidasuk #happynewyear #newyearsresolutions #strength #balance #workout #train #yoga #armbalance #sideplank #activewear #newyearsameyou

A post shared by C H A R L O T T E H O L M E S (@misscharholmes) on

{{ 2017 • L O O K I N G • U P }} So for many the new year brings many new goals, new dreams, new starts and new resolutions… I'm setting myself the goal to create STRENGTH through BALANCE in 2017. Strength to train hard, laugh often, explore more, forgive easily, practice fearlessness, do yoga every day and be kind to myself. In hope of finding continued balance in my work, family and social life … and of course in side plank 😊 What are your goals? #heretocreate @adidasuk. . . . 📸by @sam_hot_jams All red errrrthang by @adidasuk (obvs 😘) #adidasuk #happynewyear #newyearsresolutions #strength #balance #workout #train #yoga #armbalance #sideplank #activewear #newyearsameyou

A post shared by C H A R L O T T E H O L M E S (@misscharholmes) on

Example 2: Once again utilising their relationships with fitness influencers, adidas gifted each influencer with the latest kit from the adidas Women’s Training collection and asked them to post a creative and inspiring image on their Instagram channels:

Just wanted to give you guys a #BestMe update. In 10 days, I have honestly gone from feeling so frustrated with my physical & mental progress to feeling like a whole new woman. Just by making some simple and effective tweaks to my training and nutrition I truly feel like I am getting back to my best. And it turn it gave me the confidence to rock this super cute @adidasuk crop top & leggings, that I wouldn't have felt too comfortable in a few weeks back. I put it down to nourishing my body, moderating my portions and becoming in tune with my hunger cues. I also put it down to consistency in the gym, smashing my workouts and in turn already noticing progress in my strength & fitness. And this is only the beginning….in the coming weeks & months I am #heretocreate my best self. My fittest self. My strongest self. My happiest self. If you're looking for the same then come and do this with me! I'll be sharing the changes I've made & little tips and tricks that I believe can help you to feel your best. Already so excited to have so many of you on board! The support you guys give is like nothing else I have experienced, so let's support each other on this journey. 💜💜 #heretocreate #bestme #transformation #fitnessjourney #strong #fit #happy #ad #adidas

A post shared by Tally Rye (@tallyrye) on

When I started my role as an @adidas global ambassador I was asked what my ultimate goal is. The answer? I am #heretocreate an army of strong women. Women who look after their bodies because they love them. Women who want to better themselves. Women who support each other. Women who empower each other. Women who lift each other up. Women who radiate good vibes ✌🏼 I want YOU to join this army and to help me spread positivity. Let's do this 🙌🏼 Wearing @adidasuk 📸 Photo: @jonpaynephoto 💕 #girlgains #strongzvd #strongsquad

A post shared by Zanna van Dijk (@zannavandijk) on

Create the things you wish existed. Feeling super excited about some upcoming projects and events and getting creative again! 🌟Happy hump day although not really the same kind of hump because of the 4 day week, more like a very small hiccup. Wearing @adidasuk #heretocreate #pilates #holisitichealth #yoga #mindandbody

A post shared by Lottie Murphy (@lottiemurphy_) on

Free classes and run clubs

adidas host a variety of free influencer led fitness classes and run clubs that allows them to broaden their influencer activity and further engage with their audience, ultimately driving brand awareness.

This activity allows adidas to create an experience around their brand, both for the influencer and for the audience, and so brings the brand to life.

Furthermore, through adidas, consumers are able to meet and be trained by the influencers who inspire them, building brand trust and loyalty.

Example 1: 152 Brick Lane is adidas’ woman’s studio. Here, adidas film a lot of their influencer fitness content, book inspirational guest speakers, and offer influencer led classes:

||TWOTONED TAKEOVER🌟|| Absolutely buzzing for day 2 ✌🏼of our #AdidasStudioLdn takeover. T 💁🏻+Me💁🏼+a ton of bad ass women sweating it out in the @adidasuk 📍Brick Lane studio! 💦💪🏼It's going to awesome, & best of all?! Your buddy will be sweating it out next to you! 👭 . Here's a sneak preview of a couple of the moves we have in our sessions tonight! If you can't make it down try them at home! ⏰45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest. Integrate them into your workouts or do them in a circuit ➰ (one after the other) for 3-4 rounds with a 30-60 second rest in between rounds! . 👉🏼Standard T pre video booty shakin' 🍑 feel free to use that as part of your warm up 😉 👉🏼Kick Throughs (or more fun name 🙃Breakdancers!) 💃🏼 👉🏼Roll up to Tuck Jump (don't worry if you need to use your hands to get up!) 🤗 👉🏼Crawl to Burpee 🔥 . Get it team! LET'S DO THIS! 👟All @adidaswomen errrything #trainwithTwoToned #Adidaswomen #AdidasStudioLdn #heretocreate

A post shared by Tone What You Own ™ ✌🏼💛 (@kimhartwell) on

Thanks for having me @adidasuk had a blast teaching the runners and can't wait to be back! 🙏🏻 Wearing the new Adidas ultraBOOST X runners – they're almost as flexible as I am 😉🏃🏼‍♀️ #guessineedtostartrunning #probablynot #adidasuk #adidasstudioldn #heretocreate #ultraBOOSTX

A post shared by Jaime Tully (@jaimetully) on

Example 2: Back in July 2016, adidas launched ‘adidas Runners’, a community of runners who use the city of London as their training ground. The Facebook group has amassed thousands of followers and the runs themselves are not only led by influencers but they also attract influencer and journalist participation:

City Run LDN 🇬🇧 Who’s racing this weekend with @adidaslondon city run Fulham? See you there 😘 #ARLondon #runlondon #runtheworld #roadrace #whyirunldn #adidasrunners #adrienneldn

A post shared by ADRIENNE LDN (@adrienne_ldn) on

🏃🏼🏃🏼#PUREBOOSTX ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Testing out the bouncy new @adidasuk kicks with @adidasrunning 👟👟 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We warmed up with @adriennetmm and @ajodudu working upper and lower before heading out to embrace the beautiful ☀️☀️ with a 6k canal route! (H followed on her favourite @ridley_bikes assumed as lead snapper 📸) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀. Another INCREDIBLE evening thanks to the adidas team 🙋🏼🙋🏼 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ TTH x #twicethehealth #pureboostx #Running #Run #Adidas #Fitness #GymSnack #WorkoutSnack #WorkOutIdeas #PostWorkout #Health #Healthy #CheatClean #TreatClean #Yummy #InstaFood #InstaFit #FitFam #GirlGains

A post shared by Twice The Health (@twicethehealth) on

WHO RUN THE WORLD ? 👟✨ On Wednesday I'll be leading a fitness event with @adidasuk & @whateverittakeslondon We'll be warming up @bloklondon before a road run to test out the PBX shoes ❤️ It's a free event but you need to sign up for a ticket, hit the link in my bio 👆🏽 (P.s This ones ladies only, sorry guys) #whyirunldn #adidasrunners #london #positiveenergy #heretocreate #adidaswomen #runners #runtheworld #whateverittakeslondon #womensrunning

A post shared by ADRIENNE LDN (@adrienne_ldn) on

Influencer collaboration to create original products

adidas know that growing and evolving an influencer partnership keeps the relationship fresh and exciting. It helps grow the brand and, if done well, can establish a brand as leading and relevant.

One great way adidas have achieved this is by collaborating with influencers to create original products that appeal to the influencers followers and also to their target audience.

Example: adidas collaborated with London based fitness influencer and adidas global ambassador, Zanna Van Dijk, to highlight the miadidas functionality on the adidas website which effectively allows consumers to customise their own footwear, choosing styles, fabrics, colours and writing.

Zanna created a trainer collection inspired by the things that she identified as making her the person she is. Things like the city of London, physical challenges and a desire to empower women.

adidas also created a slick campaign video to share on the site and across social announcing the collaboration:

THE NEWS IS OUT! 🙊🎉 This is the campaign video for…. my very own footwear collection with @adidasuk!!!!!! 😱 Guys, it's been killing me keeping this under wraps for so long! Since January I've been working with the @adidas team to create my very own collection of customised miadidas footwear inspired by my city – London. There are three shoes which reflect my personal monochromatic style. A training shoe, a lifestyle shoe and a slider. They are unisex and I am literally obsessed with them!!! You can shop my collection or customise your own by clicking the link on my profile! 🙌🏼 You can also see the shoes up close and hear more about this collaboration in my brand new YouTube video! 🎥 I hope you guys can share in my excitement! Today is a pretty damn big day for me. I can't believe I'm sharing this news with you! Please do let me know if you grab a pair! We can be matching!!! 👯💗 #adidas #heretocreate #miadidas #strongzvd #strongsquad #ad #dreamscometrue

A post shared by Zanna van Dijk (@zannavandijk) on

To download our ebook on choosing the right ambassador for your sports brand, simply click on the image below.

Or alternatively, if you’re looking to make the perfect collab or influencer campaign speak to our award-winning team.

Six ways your brand can capitalise on the sporting calendar

From Wimbledon to the Ashes, from Football World Cups to Ryder Cups, the sporting calendar is not short of spectacular and iconic events. These offer up opportunities for brands to control the conversation and get fans engaging with them on a worldwide stage. With as many failures as successes to review in recent years, we look at best practice for getting ahead of your rivals.

  1. Be ready to react

It sounds simple, but one of the best ways to successfully position your brand at the forefront of the conversation around an event is being ready to adapt to unfolding events. Sport is all about reacting quickly to often unpredictable situations, and this is something brands would be wise to emulate.

The standard was set by Oreo during Super Bowl XLVII, when a massive power outage struck at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, putting a section of the stadium into darkness for a full half hour.

Oreo capitalised on the blackout, turning around an advert in double quick time of an Oreo on a blacked-out background, with the caption: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.”.

Having released a commercial earlier during the game, the social team at Oreo were closely monitoring the ad’s success on social, as well as general mentions of the Super Bowl. Then when the blackout struck, they noticed how the conversation online quickly shifted. Within a matter of minutes Oreo’s digital agency, 360i, had put a new ad together. The blackout post resulted in 10,000 retweets, 5,000 shares and 18,000 likes on Facebook – all within the first hour of posting.

With an audience of well over 100 million in America alone, the Super Bowl is one of those events that promises to capture the attention of fans across the world, and Oreo and their agency’s quick thinking meant that they were able to achieve the kind of cut through amongst that huge audience that other brands could only dream of.

Oreo’s success was down to the fact that they were lightening quick off the mark and that they were listening to the conversation on social and were willing to go off script. On this occasion that quick thinking certainly paid off.

 

  1. Make your campaign flexible

As long-standing sponsors of the England Rugby team, O2 wanted to capitalise on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, in which England were tournament hosts. The telecommunications service provider rolled out their ‘Make Them Giants’ advertisement, where the support of England fans made the players grow until they were the size of buildings. O2 also renewed its ‘Wear the Rose’ campaign, calling on fans to show their loyalty to the team and giving them the chance to tweet messages directly to the players using the #WeartheRose hashtag.

When England made history for all the wrong reasons in becoming the first ever host nation to exit the tournament at the group stages, it had the potential to result in a huge failure for the sponsor. O2, however, argued that with over five million messages of support on social media, it was still a success. That’s open for debate but what it proves is the importance of not pinning all your hopes on one outcome: namely (in this particular case), England lasting the distance in the tournament and making sure your campaign is flexible.

Whilst O2 justified their ad campaign by pointing out that they were “here for the ups and the downs”, it’s hard to ignore the fact that had England performed better on the pitch, then the campaign might have had more conviction.

 

  1. Explore collaborations with other sports

One way to tap into new audiences is by looking at cross promotion across other sports. Ahead of the start of the F1 season in 2016, Red Bull Racing teamed up with Bath Rugby Club for a true test of man against machine.

Red Bull have pitted their cars against everything from drag races to jet fighters in the past, but here they decided to take on a rugby scrum.

With the Australian Grand Prix always kicking off the F1 race calendar, Red Bull enlisted their Perth born driver Daniel Ricciardo to go up against Bath Rugby’s finest to help promote the upcoming season. The car’s 800 brake horsepower found itself up against a tough opponent taking on the combined 900kg weight of the Bath pack.

The stunt achieved widespread coverage and enabled Red Bull to engage a whole new set of fans. It’s the sort of “out there” marketing that is synonymous with the racing team, as evident by one user’s response to the video in the comments section of the YouTube clip – “Only Red Bull can do this.”

“Brandscaping” is a great way to leverage the audiences of other sports and can really help your brand tap into new audiences.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to challenge stereotypes

Campaigns that push the boundaries in a way that few brands are willing to do so come with risk, but with that risk comes the potential for huge reward.

Taking such a risk during one of the biggest sporting spectacles in the world, the Superbowl, is even braver, but that’s exactly what Always did… and the reward was certainly worth it.

Always, the Procter & Gamble feminine products brand, had previously struggled to create shareable content because consumers were reluctant to be associated with periods. Making a feminine hygiene brand more popular is a difficult brief, but Always managed to do it by returning to its roots. “Confidence” is something the brand has always tried to champion as part of its brand values. Confidence in the product transitioned into self-confidence for their #LikeAGirl campaign.

Always reasoned that gender stereotypes have become so deep-seated in society that they impact how we communicate. To look at this, Always created a social experiment where boys, girls, men and women were invited to a pretend casting-call. Here they were asked to do various things “like a girl”. Subjects were asked to run, throw and punch “like a girl”. Every age and gender category, except the young girls, reacted in the same way, i.e. they acting in a silly way and made the imaginary girl they were imitating seem weak and inept.

Young girls, however, did not follow suit. Instead, they responded to each action they were asked to do by giving it their all and exuding conviction in what they were doing. The conclusion drawn from this was that these pre-pubescent girls had not yet been affected by society’s apparent characterisation of womanhood. Doing something “like a girl”, for them, meant nothing else than giving it everything they had.

A 60 second version of the ad aired during the Super Bowl in 2015. To date, the clip has had more than 90 million views. With the NFL having long faced issues around domestic violence, the airing of an ad turning a negative stereotype of girls on its head was hugely powerful and emotive.

  1. Putting your brand at the heart of the story, without it needing to be the story

Whenever a brand invests in a sport sponsorship, or an activation around a particular sporting event, they are obviously aiming to get the best return possible and to make the most of all of the additional eyeballs they are gaining access to. However, focusing too heavily on the brand ‘story’ or the products or services of that brand can often lead to your targeted audience switching off. The key, therefore, is to get your brand in to the heart of the action whilst also ensuring the content excites and engages.

HUGO BOSS has been particularly successful at doing this in recent years. The luxury fashion house has sponsored British sailor Alex Thomson since 2003, in what is one of the longest standing partnerships in the sport.

Thomson competes in the Vendee Globe – a solo, non-stop, 25,000-mile race around the world which takes place every four years. It is the biggest race in the offshore sailing calendar.

In the build up to the 2016 edition of the race, Thomson and his team – who have become known for their daring stunts – rolled out The SkyWalk.

The SkyWalk involved Thomson, on a kiteboard, chasing his IMOCA open 60 HUGO BOSS boat upwind and attaching himself via a rope to the top of the boat’s mast. The skipper then utilises the speed of the race boat to propel himself 280ft into the air, sending him surfing above the vast yacht. When Thomson reaches the peak of his flight, he detaches himself from the boat and expertly controls his descent back down, coolly landing the kiteboard on the water, all whilst wearing a stylish BOSS suit.

Whilst the whole concept of the video had nothing to do with the BOSS brand, the products were front and centre and the branding was all over the boat throughout the shot. To date, the video has had just shy of 1.4 million views on YouTube alone.  These viewer numbers wouldn’t have been achieved if HUGO BOSS had made a film about a suit. No, it was the daredevil nature of the stunt that attracted the viewers. Of course, once they were watching the video, they were then all exposed to the HUGO BOSS brand.

 

  1. Engage with your fans

Creating an attraction which offers fans an interactive opportunity to engage with your brand is easier said than done, but when done well can produce great results.

To tie in with this years’ Wimbledon, drinks brand Robinsons, which has been associated with the Championships for many years, partnered up with KFC to take over the Wimbledon town centre branch. This was to promote the fact that Robinsons was being served at KFC during the two weeks the tournament was on.

Marketing agency Savvy put up a huge display of Pong, the arcade game, in the window of the KFC Wimbledon Broadway restaurant. Fans on their way to the tennis could interact with the screen, where users were able to activate the game with a simple tap on the window. The touchscreen technology then allowed each player to control their pong paddles.

It proved effective in driving footfall directly to the store, as well as creating a strong brand awareness for both companies. At times when no one was playing the game, the screen returns to an advertisement which illustrates the fact that Robinsons drinks are available in store. A clever use of space, to say the least.

It wasn’t the first time either that Robinsons had used the Wimbledon Championships to interact with fans. In 2015 to celebrate “80 years at Wimbledon”, Robinsons launched “The Great Robinson’s Ball Hunt”.

Followers on Twitter were asked to discover locations of giant tennis balls hidden across the country for a chance to win prizes, including tickets to The Championships.

Every day, a series of clues were revealed on the company’s Twitter channel encouraging others to join in. The hunt Former British number one tennis player, Tim Henman, became the ‘face’ of the campaign and presented clues on Twitter while asking the public to find the balls and tweet a picture of them when they did.

A great way to build a sense of excitement ahead of the tournament. You could say Robinsons “served up an ace” with this interactive campaign.

 

Choosing The Right Ambassador

Man Stretching Black and White Sport

How to choose the right sporting ambassador to represent your brand

Making the decision, as a brand, to collaborate with a sporting ambassador is something which must not be rushed. These partnerships are sought in an effort to drive a multitude of benefits for the brand. They can enhance consumer awareness and reach new audiences to drive online conversation and sell product. So, when it comes to choosing the right sporting ambassador for your brand, which factors should you consider in order to ensure that your investment is wholly worthwhile?

We ask the eight questions which any brand should consider before they sign on the dotted line of an ambassador contract.

  • Which brands are they already associated with?

Take a look at which brands, if any, your potential ambassador is already associated with at present, or in the past. Have they appeared in marketing collateral or advertisements, or promoted a brand or product within the media? It may be that there is a potential conflict of interest between your brand and those which this individual has been, or is still, associated with. It may be that you would not feel comfortable with your brand being aligned with your ambassador’s partner brands, meaning you wish to discount this person as a viable ambassador. Conversely, it may be that your brand, and the brands which this individual is already associated with, create a positive synergy. If this is the case, this individual may be well worth your consideration.

  • Are they over-exposed?

When you appoint a brand ambassador the partnership should create some form of impact. If your potential ambassador has been featured widely in the press before or been part of a high-profile campaign, this could have reduced media, and indeed consumer, interest in that individual. Consider whether a partnership with this individual could genuinely offer the media – and your target audience – something new and interesting to discuss, or would it simply add to this person’s already high level of exposure? Remember, that the last thing you want to do is to confuse the consumer. If this individual has recently fronted a major campaign, how easy will it be for the consumer to distinguish between the previous product the celebrity has promoted, and yours

  • Are they likeable?

Does this individual have the likeability factor? Will your target audience respond well to them? Of course, public opinion will almost always be split and it is impossible to please everyone. But choosing a person who is perceived largely positively in the public eye will go a long way towards encouraging your target audience to actually buy into this person and, ultimately, your brand.

Miss you. Hurry back @venuswilliams

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

  • Any negative exposure?

Consider too how this individual is perceived by the media and amongst your established target audience. Have they been featured recently in a negative headline? Have they been involved in a story which could have a detrimental impact on your brand? Ultimately, this person is going to be representing your business; if they are in any way connected to a negative story, this could directly impact your brand.

  • Is it believable?

This partnership needs to appear organic to the consumer. It is very easy for a brand to cough up huge sums of money for a sports star to front a campaign. However, more is needed for that partnership to actually get the target audience to sit up and listen. Integrity and synergy should be at the forefront of a brand’s thinking when identifying an ambassador who will actually add value in a partnership. Consider whether the involvement of this potential ambassador would actually encourage the user to purchase the product.  Can you envisage this individual wearing your clothes, consuming your drink or using your equipment? If you can’t, then you can bet that consumers will struggle to make the connection too. Organic connections are crucial; otherwise, you have little more than an athlete waving a product in the air and hoping that someone will pay attention.

We're giving away a sail onboard @hugoboss all you need to do is follow the link in our profile and cross your fingers!

A post shared by Alex Thomson (@alex_thomson_racing) on

  • Do they have the expertise?

Depending on the remit of the campaign you are looking to undertake, your ambassador may have to go on the record in support of your brand or product. If this were to happen, would they be well placed to discuss it? Do they have the necessary expertise?

If they need to demonstrate a sports product, are they in the necessary shape to do so? If you are marketing a children’s sports product, aimed at parents, consider whether your ambassador is able to speak from personal experience. Likewise, experience in paramount for incident specific products, such as those for aiding recovery or training. Without basic expertise in the relevant area, it becomes difficult for consumers to make the link between ambassador and brand.

While the ambassador you appoint can, of course, be fully briefed and media trained well in advance, possessing a level of knowledge on the subject matter is always a big bonus. An ambassador who is effortlessly knowledgeable on a campaign or product is immediately more believable and influential to the consumer.  Remember, knowledge is power, and all the media training in the world can’t help someone who simply doesn’t know the first thing about your industry or target audience.

untitled-2

  • Do they have the power to influence?

Consider not only the profile of this individual in the media landscape, but their social media profile. Do they post regularly? How many followers have they attracted? Is their content engaging and insightful? Who are their fans and followers? Are they part of your target audience? Very often, an ambassador might not be the right option for your brand in terms of media opportunities or traditional advertising, but they may be just the right person to help engage your target audience via a digital medium.

Often, the timing of your approach can be as important as the person you are choosing to bring on board. Consider the events calendar and try to look several weeks or months down the line. Is this person about to be involved in an event, competition or campaign which may boost their reputation?  Are they about to appear on a major TV show? Is it likely that they will win a coveted prize? Bringing that individual on board just before they reach a turning point in their career could be the key to securing your perfect brand ambassador (and at the right price!)

Over the years we have seen major brands forge high-profile, hugely successful partnerships with sporting ambassadors. Some of our favourites in 2016 include:

  • Under Armour – “Rule Yourself” – featuring Michael Phelps

Tagline: Legacies like his are built over a lifetime like this. Michael Phelps returns for one last time. #IWILL

The tie-up between Under Armour and Phelps was a shrewd one given the level of interest around the American’s final Olympic Games. With the question posed when, not if, he would add to his medal haul as the most decorated Olympian ever.

Whilst Phelps has a body made to be in the water, with an upper body fit for a man four inches taller than his 6ft 4-inch frame, it is arguably his gruelling training regime and demanding diet that has enabled the swimmer to be so successful in the pool.

The dedication displayed by “The Baltimore Bullet” is mirrored in Under Armour’s Rule Yourself video, which features the line – ‘It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light’. With 23 Olympic Gold medals to his name, he’s not a man you associate with insecurity, yet he was bullied as a child for a lisp and big ears and has suffered his fair share of false starts and late finishes. Props to Under Armour for using their asset in a way that made even the most decorated Olympian relatable to the everyday man, hitting home the message that hard work supersedes anything else.

  • Adidas – “Blah Blah Blah” – featuring Paul Pogba

Tagline: Let the talkers talk. The best focus on being first. #FirstNeverFollows

With the rise of social media, athletes are being scrutinised more than ever. Never have fans had more access to sports stars, with a rolling 24/7 news service. Certain athletes take more notice of what’s being written about them than others. Letting negative comments get to you can put you off your game – something that Adidas have played on with their #FirstNeverFollows campaign.

As part of this, Adidas released a “Blah Blah Blah” advert featuring a number of sporting stars, including France international Paul Pogba. The timing of the launch was inspired, making the most of the uncertainty over the midfielder’s future at a time when Manchester United fans (who ultimately got their man) were pleading for Pogba to return to Old Trafford. Adidas scheduled the release at the height of speculation, with Pogba teasing “don’t believe everything you read in the papers”.

Adidas cunningly used the Pogba transfer saga to create a buzz around their #FirstNeverFollows movement. At a time when breaking news is never far from Twitter, Adidas managed to be the first to deliver the latest twist in the future of their ambassador, which is no mean feat in this day and age.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geU8AxL460I

  • Nike – “The Switch” – featuring Cristiano Ronaldo

Tagline: Ronaldo became the world’s best by being the hardest-working man in football. But, what if brilliance had to start all over again? One moment can change everything. #SparkBrilliance

“The Switch” was Nike’s take on Freaky Friday and the ad sees Cristiano Ronaldo switch bodies with an unsuspecting ball boy. Launched ahead of Euro 2016, it is the longest brand film Nike Football has ever produced and is also the most extensive brand shoot Ronaldo has ever done, for any brand. It reaffirmed Nike as the major player that it is and reminded consumers that as a brand they can get the most extensive and engaging content from their top sporting stars.

All three of these partnerships are great examples of brands that have successfully used an ambassador to create a timely and engaging campaign. Whilst other brands may not have the ability to call upon such highbrow sporting stars, planning ahead in conjunction with the sporting calendar as well as some calculated decision making can yield the desired results out of a potential partnership, without paying above and beyond to get them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scWpXEYZEGk

untitled-2

10 Great UK Health & Fitness Blogs

With the health and fitness industry constantly growing, we took a look at some of the best blogs in the business. From simplicity to specificity, these bloggers know how to stand out from the crowd.

  1. Carly Rowena

A former marketing manager, Carly’s blog is certainly easy on the eye. A collage of photos is combined with a series of well thought through posts. Carly uses a multidimensional approach to inspire her audience, and makes sure that – everywhere we look – there is something to interest, engage or entertain us.

Why we love it: Look out for Carly’s use of YouTube, which is particularly engaging and helps her 290k viewers feel like they’re a part of the action.

carly

  1. Fitness On Toast 

Created by half-Swedish, half-English personal trainer, Faya – who named her blog after Britain’s obsession with everything and anything on toast(!) – Fitness on Toast is a simple, clean cut site. Faya uses impressive photography throughout, which brings her content alive.

Why we love it: We love the interaction that this blog invites, adding a twist to conventional navigation categories e.g. a ‘Why To’ section. Most of all, though, we like the spontaneity that Fitness on Toast brings to the table. There is also a good amount of food content (who doesn’t love food!) and an active travel theme, which brings Faya’s followers around the world with her.

fitness on toast

  1. Girl Gainz

Personal trainer Laura’s blog – Girl Gainz – is a no-nonsesne, straight to the point, simple site. An up and comer in the blogging world, Laura combines good content with a sense of naughtiness (which we love). Food oriented in the most part, each post offers a neat treat which is sure to make you salivate.

Why we love it: We particularly love Laura’s ‘flexible dieting’ approach, which lends itself to the everyday person.

girl gainz

  1. Lazy Girl Running

Runner, Laura, offers her readers more than just a blog, but a journey which she wants them to be a part of. The blog inspires visitors and allows others to share their love for running, from beginner to winner.

Why we love it: Sharing many a racing experience throughout, we particularly love the sociability of Laura’s blog, with its own dedicated ‘Running Groups’ tab acting as a platform to bring runners together in the real world.

lazy girl running

  1. Fitcetera

Business analyst Georgina’s blog has all the character of a traditional blog, combined with an informative approach which sees all the latest trends put to the test. All about finding confidence in strength and fitness, this site certainly isn’t afraid to break the mould.

Why we love it: We love Georgina’s ‘How to Train Like a UFC Fighter’, and her eye opening CrossFit content. She encourages us to get out there and give exercise a go which, let’s face it, is surely what it’s all about?

fitcetera

  1. Lunges + Lycra

Run by double act Charlotte and Emma, Lunges + Lycra brings a great deal of variety to the table. Whether you’re after running, cycling, yoga, or general fitness content – this blog has it all.

Why we love it: Above all what gives this blog the edge (or should we say the edgy-ness) is its monthly review of all the wild and wonderful events going on, known as ‘The month in sweat’. Lunges + Lycra is the TimeOut for all things fitness, and with the research done for you it would be rude not to embrace all the crazy and cool monthly happenings that it features.

lunges and lycra

  1. The Runner Beans

Marathon runner and fitness junkie Charlie’s blog offers a little bit of everything.

Why we love it: Adopting a fun and friendly approach throughout, it epitomises the everyday me and you, with a subtle undertone of a running lover. We love the name too – it’s quirky, memorable and makes you want to visit! With Snapchat included, you really do get what you see with this one.

the runner bean

 

  1. Lottie Murphy

Pilates Instructor Lottie’s blog radiates happiness. We love the layout of this site, which makes it super easy to scroll through and view as you please.

Why we love it: In terms of the content, it speaks health with a happy heart, an array of Pilates/health based posts perfectly complimented by personal/social touches. With its very own video section which we love, if this doesn’t make you smile, we don’t know what will.

lottie murphy

  1. Fitness Fan

Director and Founder, Dane’s blog is unique in that it adopts a largely educational and informative approach in reaching out to its following.

Why we love it: As well as providing information on all traditional exercise and fitness topics, it features a whole host of innovative content on subjects like psychology, tech and data. We love Dane’s expert interviews too, as they offer the reader some exciting access and insight.

fitness fan

  1. Imperfect Matter

Yoga Teacher Cat’s blog certainly has us falling asleep…..and, no, not because it’s boring! This site is far from boring. The blog is relaxation in a nutshell, speaking volumes for a healthy, yet active lifestyle.

Why we love it: We love the contrast it offers. Whether you’re looking for a yoga retreat, or simply a review of the latest clothing must-haves, you’ll find it all here. The blog has an overall wanderlust feel to it, whilst still maintaining the personal touch. Touché.

imperfect matter

Respect or results?

What would you choose?

The man selected by new coach Eddie Jones to captain the England rugby team has missed more than a year of his career because of suspension. Dylan Hartley has incurred bans totaling 54 weeks for a selection of misdemeanors, including, but not limited to, head butting, biting, gouging, elbowing, punching and swearing at a referee. It is not recorded whether he has ever tried to run over an elderly churchgoer using a pedestrian crossing on her way home from morning service.

Dylan Hartley Rugby Six Nations

Image Courtesy of Bob Bob, flickr.com

Hartley’s appointment was quite a statement of intent. Jones’ predecessor, the hapless Stuart Lancaster, built his regime on a promise to restore a sense of pride in the England shirt. After the shambolic 2011 World Cup campaign, when revelations of dwarf tossing, drinking games, a sex harassment sandal and a player jumping off an Auckland ferry made lurid headlines, the time seemed ripe for a clean-up.

Lancaster vowed to make the team humble, respect the badge and respect each other. Four years later, England’s World Cup failure was even more striking as they suffered the indignity of being the first host nation in history to exit the tournament at the group stages.
The England coach went from inspirational to idiotic in a few short weeks and was replaced by Jones, a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense, serial winner. Captain Chris Robshaw – decent, dependable, diplomatic – was sacked and Hartley, who’d missed the World Cup because of suspension (who’d have thought it?), given the role of team leader.
Whether this new approach will herald a change in England’s fortunes remains to be seen, but it begs an interesting question that applies to the world of business just as much as sport:

quote TIM J
The Australian cricket team captained by Steve Waugh was one of the most successful in the annals of the game, but in the end even the Aussie fans turned against them, disgusted by their charmless arrogance. Mind you, they soon missed the victory parades once that generation had gone and mediocrity set in.

Steve Waugh Sports Insight

Image courtesy of Naparazzi, flickr.com

For a while, the behemoths of the tech world seemed to have pulled off the trick of being both revered and rewarded. Apple became a modern-day religion, Mark Zuckerberg the patron saint of the social network and Google the mighty engine creating a world without frontiers. Now, however, Steve Jobs is depicted as a megalomaniac, Facebook pilloried for tax avoidance and Google accused of endless empire-building.Look at the High Street. Mike Ashley is a boorish billionaire who lacks class but we love the bargains at Sports Direct. Marks & Spencer is a British institution, decent and venerable, but we can’t resist the hit-and-run fashion of Zara or Top Shop and outgoing chief executive Marc Bolland is paying the price.

Facebook tax avoidance protest

Image courtesy of Sven Loach, flickr.com

Bob Diamond was the pantomime villain of banking, ousted from Barclays for being too brash, too grandiose; Antony Jenkins, his monkish successor as chief executive, lasted just three years before his timid vision of retrenchment fell foul of shareholders. It turned out his halo wasn’t much use if it hit the bottom line. In today’s marketplace the twin pillars of trust and transparency are the holy grail for any business. John Lewis, Boots and British Airways are our favourite brands; Richard Branson our favourite entrepreneur. But Alan Sugar has made a very good living out of his “You’re fired” catchphrase, Simon Cowell’s net worth is $550 million and our wealthiest sportsman Lewis Hamilton would win few popularity contests.

Richard Branson Entrepreneur

Image courtesy of Land Rover Mena, flickr.com

What does that suggest? Are we all hypocrites, telling ourselves we admire decency and gentility when really we have a sneaking regard for a bit of devilment?

Not entirely. The most iconic sporting image of the 21st century was England’s talisman Andrew Flintoff comforting his Australian opponent Brett Lee at the very moment of his team’s victory during the 2005 Ashes. It combined sporting success with sportsmanship. We are all suckers for guts and gallantry – especially when we’ve won.

Freddie Flintoff Brett Lee

Image courtesy of A nice cup of tea, flickr.com

But here’s a scenario for England rugby fans to conjure with: it’s the final match of the Six Nations decider in Paris, there are two minutes to go, England are three points down and awarded a kickable penalty. They can take the kick at goal and draw the match, sharing the championship – or kick into touch in the corner in a bid to force a try and win the tournament but at the risk of throwing away the tournament.

Who would you rather want as captain: Robshaw or Hartley? Your answer will tell you more about yourself than you might care to admit.

Working with online influencers

Instagram online influencers and brands

In today’s age we are bombarded by choice. So it’s not surprise that online influencers hold a lot of power in validating our decisions. These are real people who we trust and respect, a vital tool in marketing a product given that their opinions can, and do, impact the behaviour of their amassed followers.

So how can we use this power effectively? Surely with the most powerful influencers commanding audiences of millions and reports that word of mouth recommendations generate double the sales of standard advertising it would be hard to go wrong.

However, harnessing the power that these influencers have is more difficult than meets the eye. The value these influencers hold is inextricably wrapped up in their authenticity and careless capitalising will quickly snuff this value out. It’s a tricky balance to master, so here are our top tips on how you can influence successfully.

1. Do your homework
You need to ensure that any influencer campaign you run reaches the right people. So, before you go approaching everyone and anyone with thousands of followers, it’s vital that you do your homework first. Ask yourself these simple questions:
Am I focusing on quality or quantity? Choosing to work with people based solely on the size of their audience can be a costly mistake. Influencers with huge audiences tend to charge brands a considerable sum to promote their products. If you haven’t checked that their followers match your target audience, this can be a total waste of money.
Am I digging deep enough? By doing your research, we don’t just mean taking a quick look at their profile. It’s easy to assume that the majority of people following a healthy, in-shape female model who posts about fashion and fitness are women who share those interests. However, the reality may be that the majority of her followers are men admiring the photos… you won’t know for sure until you drill down into the demographic of your influencers’ audience.
What can their analytics tell me? Online influencers are becoming increasingly aware of the value that their audience can hold for brands, and analyse their audience in increasingly sophisticated ways. Most will be able to provide you with a breakdown of their followers by demographic, so make sure you ask the question. They should also be able to share with you what type of content on their channels delivers the most engagement and at what times their posts deliver the most traction. This information can be incredibly useful when creating your campaign content plan and ensure that your collaboration is delivering maximum value.

2. Develop real relationships
One of the biggest turn offs for social media users is the obvious plug. We’ve all seen it – a celebrity posting about a product or service when they have clearly been paid to do so. It’s disingenuous, misleading and is likely to have you reaching for the ‘unfollow’ button. Stephanie Pratt Instagram influencer Mr BlancsIt’s important that you team up with influencers who are genuinely fans of your product or service. If their posts are going to have any meaningful impact on your brand they have to be truly convinced of its merits. Even if they aren’t using the product prior to the collaboration.

How will I know if they are genuine?

It is usually pretty easy to tell whether the influen on or not. Focus on the types of questions that they ask you.

s&L infographic
When working for a nutrition company recently, we were keen to engage a pop star to help us tap in to her mostly female online audience. She had lots of questions about the specific ingredients in the product – what were they, how were they sourced, were they free from additives, etc. This line of questioning indicated that her priority was to ensure that any product she put her name to was something that she would be genuinely comfortable using and recommending to her followers. This made us even more keen to collaborate with her.
Once the relationship has been established, it’s also well worth going the extra mile to develop deeper, mutually respectful and beneficial relationships with your influencer. If the influencers you are working with develop a genuine affection for the brand, and for their point of contact within your team, their enthusiasm will shine through in their reviews and mentions.

CASE IN POINT

Take American bodybuilder Michelle Bishop (@mshelllll) and her relationship with AdvoCare – an American brand, specialising in nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance products.

Michelle has shot to insta-fame in recent years and has built up an impressive following of 252,000. Michelle recently posted about running out of one of her favourite Advocare products and Advocare wasted no time in getting some of that product delivered to Michelle. It was a simple, easy, no-cost gesture, but it worked wonders in this instance. Michelle was clearly thrilled and quickly shared her appreciation with her followers. The genuine nature of the post is obvious and her enthusiasm for the product is infectious… which of course is exactly what Advocare were hoping for.Advocare Instagram Influencers Michelle Bishop

3. Don’t obsess about ‘the message’
When working with influencers it can be hard to let go of creative control. In an ideal world they would use your campaign related hashtag, specific imagery and links.
Allow them some creative licence. Again, this comes back to looking and feeling genuine. If you have an army of influencers all posting the same thing, then it will be easily apparent to your audience that the related posts are being driven by the brand and not the individual influencer’s enthusiasm for your product.
Posts with personality are far more engaging. Remember you’ve chosen to work with this person because their social media profile has attracted a dedicated following. So don’t quash the very thing that made you want to work with them in the first place by being too restrictive about how, what and when they post.

CASE IN POINT

Hannah Bronfman product posts are a good example of this. In this particular post she doesn’t refer specifically to the product or brand, but instead lets the image do the talking and then allows her followers to chip in with their thoughts on the product name. This tactic helps to create intrigue amongst following, whilst also protecting the authenticity of her voice. Take a look at how her followers engaged with this post below…Hannah Bronfham online influencers instagram

4. Maximise the value of your collaboration
The right collaboration will unlock a potential audience of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. But why stop there? With most brand/influencer tie-ups there is potential to reach beyond the influencers’ social media audience by creating a story for the mass media. If you can do that, then you will be unlocking a potential audience of multi millions.

Example: PHA client LDN Muscle.

One of LDN Muscle’s most important online influencers is Alice Liveing, better known as ‘Clean Eating Alice’. She regularly posts about her collaboration with LDN on her social feeds which delivers great value. However, by taking her story to the Mail Online, we were able to use the relationship with Alice to deliver a whole new level of exposure for LDN Muscle. Not only were they plugged several times in the Mail’s article but, after this story ran online, Clean Eating Alice amassed an additional 25,000 social media followers in just one day. Therefore all her subsequent posts about LDN were reaching a far larger audience than they were before. This is a win-win situation all round, and is something that brands are not capitalising on enough.

Daily Mail Clean Eating Alice Instagram Daily Mail Clean Eating Alice Instagram

In summary…

Working with online influencers is becoming an increasingly popular way for brands to market their products, and for good reason, but in many cases the potential value of these relationships is not being maximised to the full. By following these tips you can help make your collaboration as successful as possible and ensure that your influencer campaign is delivering the desired results.

Make your fitness brand stand out

The 2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report revealed that the health club industry is continuing to grow with more clubs, more members and a greater market value than ever before (£4.3bn). And this is just the health club sector. With each sector of the fitness industry becoming more and more crowded, what do fitness brands need to do in order to position themselves as market leaders? Here, we take a look at five great ways to do just that.

1) Sharing success stories
Consumers will always be drawn to fitness brands if they can see that the product or service is having a positive impact on people’s lives. The leading gym chain in the UK, PureGym, has been very successful in placing case studies, which show off how the gym chain has helped to change members’ lives for the better.

Some examples:
A member who has used Pure Gym facilities to lose weight
A member who is using exercise to fight off mental health problems
A personal trainer duo who launched a class for mental health

2) Utilising Instagram Influencers
In a recent survey by One Poll, Instagram was voted one of the biggest influencers, when it comes to consumer behaviour, ahead of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Every month we are witnessing more and more influential Instagram users pop up on the scene, users who inform and educate their followers about health, fitness and nutrition through their Instagram channels.

These individuals are all part of a new generation of online influencer, which the savviest fitness brands are already tapping into.

Although an online health and fitness influencer may have a smaller reach than traditional media outlets, their followers are likely to be precisely the target audience that fitness brands are looking to attract.

Fitness clothing brand Gymshark, which was founded just over two years, has clearly invested a lot of its marketing budget on engaging with online influencers. Now Gymshark is a market leader in the “trendy” gym clothing sector. Through effectively engaging with online influencers, the brand has built up a social following of over 1m on Facebook and over 625k on Instagram.

Here are some great examples of social media influencers that health and fitness brands should look to engage with:

Lydia Millen and Ali Gordon: They are known as ‘The Lifestyle Couple’ of social media with almost 400k followers between them. They currently work with the likes of GymShark, a leading supplement brand and the camera brand Olympus

• The Harrison Twins: Owen and Lewis Harrison have over 500,000 followers between them and are the face of leading sports nutrition brand My Protein.

Zanna Van Dijk: Zanna has attracted a great deal of attention for documenting her body transformation on Instagram. She now has 69k followers and works with a number of brands in the fitness food sector.

3) Becoming a voice of authority
If yours is a fitness brand which focuses on the wellbeing of its customers then it is important that consumers believe in, and respect, the advice and opinion of individuals within your organisation. Positioning these individuals as voices of authority within the media is a great way of gaining respect from consumers and also cementing the reputation of your brand as a trustworthy industry leader.

In order to gain that respect, key spokespeople from your organisation should be writing thought leadership pieces on a regular basis on the subject(s) that they specialise in. It is also important to keep on top of the news agenda, as this will help to provide your spokespeople with the opportunity to react and respond to relevant news stories which are been covered in the media.

LDN Muscle, a business which produces downloadable e-guides, are regularly featured in this way in the media. Often, this even goes as far as providing them with the opportunity to use negative stories, as a way of promoting their own products and services in a positive way:

Here are some examples:

• When reality TV star Spencer Matthews was in the spotlight for using steroids, LDN Muscle provided a guide for consumers on how to bulk up naturally, without the use of steroids

• When TOWIE star Gemma Collins discussed her use of juice diets, LDN Muscle provided comment on the dangers of such diets and explained how to get in shape using their Bikini Guides, instead

 

Lucy Mecklenburgh - Ellesse - fitness

Image: Ellesse

4) Securing celebrity ambassadors
Many brands within the health and fitness space choose to utilise celebrity ambassadors to help build the profile of their brand and promote their products or services.

When it comes to brands identifying a suitable celebrity ambassador, it is imperative that they choose someone who their target market can relate to, and will respond to.

One of the best celebrity partnerships of 2015 was that launched by clothing label Ellesse with Lucy Mecklenburgh. The partnership was designed to promote Ellesse’s range of fitness clothing. Lucy is incredibly popular amongst young females and has shown an incredible passion for fitness in recent years. As such, this was a brand ambassador relationship which was believable, and which effectively targeted the correct end user.

5) Exploring cross promotion
With so many different markets in the fitness industry, there are many opportunities for brands to cross-promote their services with other brands operating in the same sector.

This tactic not only enables both brands to gain access to the database and social media channels of the other but, in doing so, it also allows both businesses gain a greater level of exposure amongst a new audience.

Specialist food company MuscleFood has carried out cross-promotional activity with brands in the running events sector and protein market, as well as with gyms and online personal trainers. MuscleFood always offers strong promotional discounts and competition prizes when it does this type of activity. Both brands, meanwhile, benefit from a greater level of exposure. As with GymShark, MuscleFood has, through cross-promotional activity such as this, been able to gain a very strong presence on social media, including 95K followers on Instagram.