According to their own LinkedIn profile, Gymshark is one of the ‘fastest growing and most recognisable fitness apparel and accessories brands, supported by over 5 million highly engaged social media followers and customers in 100s of countries’.
In the last week alone, Gymshark had the fastest growing international sales in the UK and was awarded the number 1 position on The Sunday Times Fast Track Rankings demonstrating the fact that they’re a big business with a huge global reach.
You only have to visit a fitness facility, follow one of their social media ‘athletes’ (affiliate influencers) or watch one of founder Ben Francis’ YouTube videos to realise how successful Gymshark have been since they began in 2012.
However, even the most capable, innovative and disruptive brands are at increasing risk of image theft and online fraud – as we recently witnessed…
What’s the issue?
On 18th February Gymshark were forced to release a number of communications their social media channels, making their valued consumers and followers aware that there have been a number of ‘fake accounts’ and imposter sales channels being created on the internet, impersonating their brand without authorisation.
Their visual content, social media marketing and brand image are undoubtedly some of the most high-quality in the industry. The made them a primary target for opportunists online, who were looking to profit from their success and capture a following of innocent people (who probably thought they were interacting with the official Gymshark page).
By directly drawing attention to the existence of more and more fake Gymshark accounts and sites, the brand efficiently and publicly addressed the issue, reassuring their loyal endorsers that ‘they make a lot of noise, but only on their socials and at www.gymshark.com‘.
An additional ‘see more’ link allowed users to swipe up from the related Instagram story and find out more about the fraud, creating total transparency and clarity surrounding the violations. As a result, any confusion was resolved relatively rapidly.
How can it be prevented?
Gymshark had the communications abilities, resources and technical knowledge to combat their intellectual property problems, so are unlikely to experience many negative consequences long-term, but this issue could have been resolved far more proactively.
If they had been able to regularly, thoroughly scan their online landscape from the onset of their outstanding growth – the criminals impersonating them would never have reached the level of visibility or traction that they did.
That’s where Veritent comes in. Whether you’re a very small business, just starting out and beginning to develop your brand image through photos/videos/graphics or a long-standing company with a rich archive of branded content and lots to lose at the stake of image theft, implementing strategies to #ProtectYourWorth is a necessity.
Our automated image search and analysis provides brands of any size, industry or value with the tools and capabilities to really take control and avoid facing the issues that Gymshark encountered.
How can you get involved?
Check out our website, to find out more about the services we offer and how you can benefit.