Thoughts

How Kayla Itsines Transformed Her Local Fitness Business into a Global Phenomenon with Tobi Pearce | Industry Change Ep 17

If you’re in the fitness space, most likely you’ve heard of Kayla Itsines – she’s a global phenomenon growing from a local fitness trainer in Adelaide to becoming the global face of the app and brand SWEAT. Who you probably haven’t heard of is Tobi Pearce – Kayla’s Fiance and CEO of SWEAT. Tobi has been beside Kayla from the beginning very much in the background building the brand to wear it’s at today.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Tobi while he was in Sydney and talk all about growing a fitness brand, transitioning to the fitness space, and how to build a brand that people love.

Tobi & Kayla have been able to scale their brand in only 5 short years and show no signs of stopping. In 2014 they launched the Bikini Body Guide. Very quickly they realised that an ebook is not very interactive and moved that to an app. In 2017 they transitioned the name of that app to SWEAT with Kayla and then further transitioned to SWEAT as they have added new trainers to the app.

Plenty of personal trainers have ebooks and courses and online programs, so why was the Bikini Body Guide so successful? Tobi puts it down to his relentless pursuit in building a product that sells itself. When you create a quality product that gets people results – people want to buy it – you don’t have to ‘sell’ it to them.

But how do you go from a bikini ebook to a global app available in 155 countries and countless languages with millions of users? Tobi puts it down to being adaptable to changes and able to pivot easily. When they first build the Bikini Body Guide Ebook, they realised that it was not going to cut it in the interactive world we live in today. So even while they were launching the ebook they were already thinking about the next step – building an app. Even as they launched the BBG App, they were already thinking about rebranding to SWEAT with Kayla and then eventually to just SWEAT. Adding new workouts, languages, etc. just seemed like the logical next step as they listened to their audience.

Kayla & Tobi have built a strong brand presence – especially on Instagram. As one of the most influential fitness figures on Instagram it’s surprising to find out that Kayla doesn’t do any paid posts. Tobi has a single view on this: Do you want to be an influencer or do you want to be influential? Influencers are a dime a dozen, selling this and selling that. But does promoting that brand REALLY add value to your audience?

In a world consumed by social media it’s easy to get caught up in ‘vanity metrics.’ How many likes do I have, how many people commented on that, how many people have watched my video. You could post a whole heap of funny cat photos – but that’s not going to help sell software. Tobi prefers to look at those metrics through the eyes of brand. What are we trying to convey to our audience? Are we reaching our target audience?

Tobi has a wealth of knowledge around brand, leadership, mentors and the digital world. Check it all out in the video above.

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