Last week I was interviewed on BBC One before the national COVID19 daily briefing. It was one of the most nerve racking experiences I’ve had, but a great learning experience and one I’ve had a ton of questions about. Off the back of all these questions, I thought I’d pull together a quick article to talk about my experience and answer some of the main questions I’ve received.

How it works:

I was asked by the BBC to do the interview at the start of the week. They had my details in their system from a previous interview that I’d done with them. They dropped me a message asking if I would be happy to talk about how Gymshark had reacted to the COVID19 pandemic, and how it had affected our business. I had a chat with our PR agency, and a bunch of people in the Gymshark business, and we all agreed it would be a good opportunity for us to be featured in such a prime slot on UK television.

The day before the interview, I had a briefing with a member of staff from the BBC. They explained the subject of the interview (How Gymshark has reacted to, and been affected by COVID19). They also explained that the presenter could ask whatever questions they thought fit at the time, so I should be open and prepared for anything. They explained technically how it would be set up, and what time I needed to be ready.

Immediately following this, I had a call with Sam & Richard from 3 Monkeys Zeno (our PR agency). The purpose of this call was to make sure I was set up in a way that would look good on TV, but also to prepare me mentally for the experience of a live interview. This test run through was extremely helpful, helped settle my nerves but also allowed me to practice answering potentially difficult questions off the cuff.

On the day, I called into the BBC via Skype, about 30 minutes before my interview. They made sure I was set up ok, and explained that I wouldn’t be able to see the interviewer, just a black Skype screen. This ended up being a bit more difficult than I thought, as I couldn’t see who I was speaking to, it was difficult to get feedback, and understand whether I should carry on speaking or allow them to interject.

The interview started and despite my nerves beforehand, they disappeared as the interview started and it was really enjoyable. I enjoyed the questions, and will treasure the experience for years to come. I’ve learned I’d love to do more interviews like this. I think it’ll help my self development greatly, and if we want Gymshark to become a world leading brand, and one of the greatest British brands in history – I’ll need to do more interviews like this over the years.

The interview definitely pushed me, but it was really fun, and a great learning experience. I’d like to thank everyone at the BBC, they were really helpful throughout and made it a really cool experience.

My brief thoughts on the future of retail:

The question I’ve had the most since the interview, was for me to dig a little deeper into my thoughts on what the future of retail will be like.

I’m a firm believer that the best global brands in ten years time will be purpose led, community first brands that clearly define their values and position in the world.

Previously, when the high street was at it’s peak, the growth model was very different. The model was around creating as much product as you possibly can, to fill as many retail stores as you possibly can (more often than not, these stores were third party stores), to please as many customers as you possibly can. This has led to masses of huge, slow brands who ultimately rely on third party retailers. It also means their product range is so wide that it can lack purpose. The product becomes more of a utility which is purchased based on the proposition at the time (it’s in front of me, in this store, looks nice, and is reasonably priced).

Enter direct to consumer, purpose led, community first brands.

This new type of company has started to appear over the last ten years, and although I think there’s room for improvement in this business model, I believe it’s closer to what we’ll see the biggest and best brands built like for the next ten years.

As I’m looking to delve deeper into this subject in a future, full article, I’ll keep my thoughts brief:

This new company is more agile than the aforementioned style, meaning they can react to trends (or pandemics, in our current case) much more quickly. Being community led brings endless benefits. They can truly control the entire customer experience, and create world class experiences that previously were impossible.

As well as this, it’s incredibly motivating. In my case, I feel like I’m working towards building a greater fitness experience every day I work at Gymshark. I feel like I’m bringing the conditioning community closer together, and supporting people working towards their self development goals. I know others at Gymshark share this feeling, and that helps create an incredible culture. Creating purposeful product makes a product portfolio much easier to understand from the consumer’s point of view. It makes for more efficient work in Product departments, and for better SKU productivity. This means more time is spend creating fewer, more purposeful products. Generally, DTC businesses lean heavily into Ecommerce. Again, the Ecommerce trend is growing, and as final mile couriers get better and better, I believe more and more people will be purchasing online from direct to consumer brands in the future.

My top three reasons why I love the direct to consumer, community focussed model:

  • It can resonate with people much more easily
  • Incredibly lean & agile
    • Leaner businesses tend to be more profitable, allowing for easier exponential growth through the reinvestment of greater profits
  • It allows brands to truly control their destiny and the customer experience

I’m going to write further on my views on the future of retail in a future article. If there’s anything else you’d like me to cover, please comment down below! I’m hoping my thoughts will help people out there, and it also serves as motivation for me to continue to write. 🙂

Links:

If you want to check out the full interview, you can see it here.

Our great PR agency, 3 Monkeys Zeno can be found here. I personally work with Sam there.


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