Ask any of the girls in your section if they do Kayla, I bet you will get at least one “yes”. A resounding “yes” indeed. In fact, they are on their way to a Kayla workout with 5 other girls in the section and want to know if you want to come along. It’s 28 minutes, you do it with your friends (so no social fomo) and you’re done with your workout for the day!
“Sweat with Kayla” refers to the mobile phone app created by Kayla Itsines, a 25 year-old Australian personal trainer and her boyfriend and business partner Tobi Pearce. Through the app, you can access a workout program consisting of 3 strength, 4 cardio, 2 recovery, and a bonus challenge workout accompanied by video demonstration, a countdown clock, and a cool-down routine. The app also features a meal plan, an exercise planner, progress picture (before-after) library and an education session. Basically everything you will ever need from a personal trainer and nutritionist, for $20 a month. The program is also available in pdf form, for $60 if you purchase from kaylaitsines.com.
I believe that Sweat with Kayla is a breakthrough product in its ability to deliver an experience comparable to personal training through brilliant interface design, social enforcing mechanism and scalable business model.
How is Kayla Itsines #winning #squadgoal?
The app “Sweat with Kayla” is pleasant to look at. No matter what screen you are on, you’re looking at a display pared down to the absolute necessary for what the screen is supposed to do.But it does not stop at being a pretty app. It solves the problem of “coordinating” timing, equipment and instructions that individuals face when exercising by themselves. The screen below demonstrates what the circuit is for the week’s arm workout, what equipment you will need, the playlist available (through Apple Music). During the workout, the video demonstration is accompanied by a highly visible countdown clock with accessible “Next” and “Pause” buttons. Those who don’t have the good habit of stretching, fear not, as the app will walk you through a cool down routine for the muscle group of the day right after the workout.
In summary, coordinating and enforcing disciplines are the two critical pain points that individuals traditionally have hired personal trainers to do, now accomplished through user-centered design.
B. Clever uses of social media keeping subscribers hooked
Contributing to Kayla Itsines’ viral success is the built-in social element of the workout. As you are about to start a workout, the app shows words of encouragement from other app users. After each workout, users are prompted to encourage others and take a “selfie” and post on social media to show that you’ve done the workout of the day. These social features create (positive) peer pressure and accountability, “nudging” users into adopting the habit, and hence, happily keep their $20/month subscription.
And finally, the “before – after” pictures are powerful marketing vehicles for Kayla’s program. Kayla stated that she doesn’t believe on the numbers on the scale, and instead choose to encourage her users to post pictures of themselves before and after adopting her program. Her Instagram has 5,000 pictures, many of them are “before – after”, broadcast everyday the potential results of the program to 6.3 million subscribers. Using social media, she keeps her subscribers hooked with the visualization of what they may achieve if they stick with her program.
C. Scalable business model
Last but not least, the software-as-a-service model, delivered through the app store, creates significant scale for Kayla at zero marginal cost per user while in-advance subscription payment reduces her funding needs (minimal to begin with as her product is low-tech). One may say that Kayla is leaving money on the table by making the program available in PDF that could be copied. I see the PDF as the “teaser” and a channel to acquire customers for the app as the PDF fundamentally does not solve the “coordinating”, enforcing disciplines and provide the social elements that the app does. All those activities could be accomplished outside the app, but significantly more inconveniently.
While I am a happy subscriber, I see several challenges for Kayla’s sustainability. One, fitness, like dieting, has proven to be a fad-driven industry where people constantly look for new solutions to age-old problems. How would Kayla sustain her appeal in the possible emergence of, say, virtual reality social workouts? Second, her workout program is bounded in 12 weeks and though her workouts do vary and increase in difficulty, what would she do to keep it fresh and her users challenged? Third, there is virtually no barrier to entry for other app designers/trainers to come in with their own workout app. Unsubscribing and downloading new apps are what most mobile users do daily.My opinion is this is the type of business you want to “milk” as much as you can while you still can. And it appears that she is doing just that.