“Gymshark My Vison Episode 3 — Nikki Blackketter” is a video on YouTube which was published on January 1, 2016. This video is just one of a (so-far) four video series. This series began in October 2015, with the goal of telling Gymshark athletes’ fitness stories. This particular episode follows Nikki Blackketter, a YouTube fitness vlogger, and tells her unique story of how she found her way to fitness.
“I can’t lie and say I set out with a plan to be where I am now; that I believed in myself and made it a reality. I didn’t. I don’t think I had a vision, I think my success came from making a lot of the wrong decisions.” These are Blackketter’s words which make up the first 12 seconds of the video. These are the words which set the tone of the story; of how she began to make the right decisions to become the first female Gymshark athlete.
Her story begins when she graduated from high school and left small town life for San Antonio, Texas. She dropped out of her community college, began waiting tables. At this point in her life, there were many times she only mad 5 dollars in her bank account. This stress turned her to alcohol and she began partying constantly. She lived this way for four years. She finally reached a point where she was miserable and had to make a change, a change that meant losing her friends and her life as she knew it.
She began to lift weights, and after six months decided to compete in her first bikini fitness competition. She then created her YouTube channel as a way to represent females in the fitness industry. She then received the opportunity to travel to Birmingham, UK for Body Power, where she met the Gymshark crew. After several months she was asked to join the Gymshark team.
This series is created by Gymshark, a fitness clothing brand. It is never hidden that Gymshark is responsible for the content. While some episodes first word is “Gymshark,” others begin by showing the Gymshark brand on clothing. Throughout the video the brand name is said and shown, and at the end of the video the Gymshark logo is clearly displayed across the screen.
Up until this series, Gymshark had only utilized their Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as word of mouth from their athletes. This series was the first time they had utilized their athletes’ main platform to spread content. The main difference between this series and Gymshark’s previous content is that these videos tell the Gymshark story, through the stories of their athletes.
I think what makes this series intriguing is the angle the company takes. Rather than saying, “These people are great because of our brand,” Gymshark says, “These people are great, they share our values, and that is why they represent our brand.” This is a contrast to many other fitness brands which take the angle that their brand is great, which will lead to people’s greatness.
The series was not controversial, and the reaction to this video was overall positive. There were some people who disliked the piece, but the majority were inspired by the story and the way it was told.
What can brands learn from this series? There are stories everywhere, and it is important not to overlook them. Sometimes the brands story is not as strong as the stories of those who represent the brand. This means that maybe the story won’t be the most glamorous, but the catch is a story doesn’t have to be glamorous, it just needs to resonate with the audience.