Kayla Itsines is part of a social media powered movement that is changing the way consumers interact with the fitness industry. She is doing this through a simple business model supported by a low-cost operating model, and she is WINNING.
The Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (BBG) is a set of 2 PDF documents (each ~60 pages) that retails online for ~$140. The first PDF is a 12-week exercise plan; each week contains three 28 minute workouts that require minimal equipment. The second is a 12-week food plan which covers the optimal food types and quantities for leading a healthy lifestyle.
Once a customer buys the guide they can opt in to being a member of the BBG community. The hashtag #BBG has been used two million times on Instagram, at a rate of one post every thirty seconds. Other hashtags such as #KaylasArmy, #thekaylamovement, #thek2movement, #deathbykayla, and #kaylaitsines are also widespread. Kayla Itsines has amassed over 4 million Instagram followers and uses this platform to bring her clients together, motivate, inspire and on sell!
Since it’s inception 2 years ago Kayla has expanded to 3 BBGs, and recently begun introducing apps, products and a global boot camp. Keeping this business model simple and leveraging the low-cost operating model is allowing the company to grow organically and rapidly in a highly competitive industry.
The key features of the operating model are around product offering and advertising channels.
- BBG is a low cost product and quick to bring to market
Kayla Itsine’s researched and wrote the BBG whilst working at a women’s training facility in Adelaide, Australia. Rather than entering the market with a glossy book or online subscription, the product she came out with was a PDF document that a customer can download onto their laptop or phone. As such the guides are replicable at no-cost and the main business expenses are the website and online sales system.
Following the release of BBG 1 customers demanded more. With a low cost and quick go to market product Kayla was able to rapidly introduce the next two guides, the third being a sustainable lifestyle model to ensure long term engagement with the brand. The simple PDF format has enabled a young business to keep pace in the highly competitive fitness industry.
Additionally, maintaining a low-cost product allows the retail price to remain relatively low and promote trialability. The cost is equivalent to ~2 personal training sessions or a month’s gym membership making it justifiable for many people.
- BBG is simple, not intimidating
The guide is very simple making it accessible to a wide range of customers. The key enablers of this are:
> Basic instructions and pictures
> Minimal required equipment
> Minimal time commitment
- BBG advertising platform creates a community that delivers its own content
The biggest feature of being a BBG user is being part of the community. By establishing an easy to use website and maintaining a high-volume Instagram Kayla has created a platform where her followers interact, share success stories, day-to-day experiences and healthy lifestyle tips. This is an engine that runs itself at a very low cost. It also continues to grow organically. As Instagram is an open forum if a user stumbles upon any of the Kayla hashtags they will fall down a rabbit hole of Kayla fanatics driving them to try the BBG way.
This established platform is now available anytime the business wants to expand its products. Recently, Kayla introduced equipment, clothing and sponsored products through Instagram, deepening customer’s relationship with the brand.
The global reach of the social media advertising campaign has driven rapid geographical expansion with minimal additional investment (translation of the guides). The demand for Kayla Itsines outside Australia led her to conduct a sold out US Boot Camp Tour in 2015, next stop Europe.
- Kayla as the face of the brand drives loyalty at a low cost
Kayla Itsines is the face of the brand. This does two things:
> Fits in the low cost operating model as the business is not spending any money on spokespeople, associated branding campaigns etc.
> It aligns with the ethos of the brand to be a genuine, supportive community-led product that delivers results. Kayla posts insights into her life, photos with her fiancé, dogs, struggles in the gym. This makes her and the brand highly relatable. This is a critical part of her competitive advantage, stopping the BBG is not like ‘giving up on the Atkin’s diet’, it means cutting off ties with a community, which is much harder to do.
Lorenz, Taylor, ‘Meet the Australian Instagram fitness queen who’s about to take America by storm’, Business Insider, March 2015. Retrieved: 5 December, 2015.
Boyd, Sarah, ‘Reshaping the Fitness Business: Kayla Itsines’ ‘Bikini Body Training Company’, Forbes, March 2015. Retrieved: 5 December, 2015.
Burke, Brittany, ‘Kayla Itsines is becoming the world’s most influential trainer’, Well+GOOD, July 2015. Retrieved: 5 December, 2015.