She’s smoking hot, super sweet, has legs for days and CAN squat! Her meals are balanced, triceps toned and brow-game strong, but these aren’t the secrets of Kayla Itsines’ success. They all contribute to the essence of ‘Kayla’, but they’re not the fundamental pillars that underpin this power brand. That’s right – Kayla Itsines isn’t just an ultra fit gal who got lucky on Insta, she’s a powerful commercial brand. Ok let’s take a step (or dynamic lunge) back. If you’re slightly confused, yet intrigued about all things ‘personal brand’, you’re not alone. For the vast majority, personal branding is something that both excites and frightens. After all, personal branding involves focusing wholly on ourselves, and for a lot of us, that can feel hedonistic.
In its purest sense, managing your personal brand simply means taking control of the essence of YOU. Just is the case for branding at large, being strategic about your personal brand takes a consideration of multiple touch points, and leveraging those touch points to realise your particular goals and objectives. The sporting world is rich (no pun intended) with examples of strong personal brands. Federer, “Rafa”, Williams, Jordan, Bolt, Slater, Fanning, Wright, Gilmore… these super stars aren’t merely world-leading athletes, they’re commercial entities in their own right. There’s no denying Kayla and the pros are backed by the support of well-oiled marketing machines, but even the slickest of machines is useless without a brand framework to guide its performance. Here’s five brand fundamentals Kayla has nailed, and ones you can adopt to enhance your personal brand (or business) too:
1. She knows it’s all about the audience
Knowing your customer (or prospective customer) is critical to crafting a message they’ll understand and appreciate. Not only is Kayla clear about WHO she’s targeting, she understands WHAT her audience cares about, HOW she can help them (value proposition) and WHERE they spend their time (hellloooooooo 11.2 million followers). Without a clearly defined audience in mind, individuals can end up trying to connect with ‘everyone and anyone’ (#tailspin), or worse, crafting brilliant branding that fails to be seen or heard. Insta might be great for Kayla, but if you’re chasing baby boomers with a daily addiction to print, you might need to head elsewhere! Never stop stepping into the shoes (are they Mizuno racing flats, or the latest Nike Flyknits?) of those you’re looking to engage.
The world’s strongest brands are acutely guided by their WHY, and they don’t shy from making it known. Kayla knows she’s championing more than a product (fitness plan) – she’s broadcasting a brand ethos – her WHY. Kayla’s mission is clear:To help as many women as possible to achieve their ideal body and to feel more confident and happy.And she delivers on this by: Educating and supporting women to improve their health, fitness and life. Most importantly, Kayla clearly lives her WHY, and articulates it through every brand touch point. Be clear about WHY you do what you do, share it with your stakeholders and commit to bringing it to life. Because a brand without values or a guiding ethos? Darn hard to love!
3. She is consistent and clear yet flexible and creative
Branding 101. The sharper your focus, the broader your appeal. When we hit up a Kayla platform (website, socials, app), we’re clear on what we’ll get. She won’t be cutting laps in the pool, getting her Om on, or knocking back booze and burgers.
“Kayla is fitness, fun, colour and clean lines. She’s pink and white, she’s a crop and shorts, she’s a slick high pony and a cute-as #selfie smile.”
The key to consistency is to avoid talking about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Uploaded a new insta story? Does it mean something and align with your WHY, or was it just something funny that would, quite frankly, confuse your audience? Consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty. That said, Kayla is far from a formulaic Boring Betty (#yawn). She’s flexible in her approach, which offers a refreshing level of ‘surprise and delight’, and distinguishes her brand from the competition. Bottom line? Be consistent and identifiable, yet fun, flexible and human along the way.
A post shared by KAYLA ITSINES (@kayla_itsines) on
4. She is aspirational yet real
Speaking of human, this is surely one of Kayla’s greatest traits. She’s undeniably a global star, but to her community, often feels like ‘one of the girls’. Kayla admits when she’s not feeling great. She’s caring, gentle and forgiving. She likes animals, sunshine, family time and holidays. She’s professional, yet pragmatic (amen to REAL pasta with home-made passata), and feels within reach. That said, Kayla clearly represents the epitome of what her community strives for. Without fail, she’s beautifully groomed, dressed to impress, reminding us what optimal fitness looks and feels like.
“So… dangle the carrot your audience wants and needs, but not too high or they’ll give up trying to reach it.”
5. She gives reason to believe
One hashtag: #bbgprogress. While Kayla herself serves as a beacon of #bbg brilliance, the greatest brand ‘proof’ lies in all things #bbgprogress.In the spirit of point number one (It’s all about the audience), could you imagine the success of Kayla without her community-generated content? Her re-sharing of these shots not only demonstrates Kayla’s attention to the world of her followers, but proves her brand is true to promise, and moreover, offers a product that works! Being clear about your WHY and brand promise is one thing, but unless you back it up with authentic ‘reasons to believe’ (show, don’t tell), you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.
Want more business tips and tricks? Belinda Wall is the Founder of Brand Amplified, and Personal Branding specialist for CareerCEO – a training program focused on communication, confidence & career progression with upcoming One Day Workshops including: Melbourne: On Friday March 16, join Belinda, CareerCEO Co-Facilitator Jennifer Adams & leading Australian stylist Meagan Harding for a single day intensive workshop spanning personal brand, communicating with confidence and credibility, managing nerves, dressing with authority and more. Details and registration here. Sydney: On Thursday April 12, join Belinda and CareerCEO Founding Director Andrea Clarke for the next Sydney full day intensive workshop. Details and registration here.