Zef Eisenberg founded MaxiMuscle as an eighteen year old, thanks to his passion for competitive weightlifting and bodybuilding. Through persistence, hard work and very good timing, Eisenberg built MaxiMuscle over 15 years to a point where it was selling £80m worth of products a year. In 2011 pharmaceutical giant GSK made Eisenberg an offer “he couldn’t refuse” of £162m. In this BBC article you can read the story.
Now Eisenberg is considering buying the business back from GSK, which is looking to slim down its portfolio of brands.
What MaxiMuscle needs in the future
Eisenberg says that “For the brand to continue to be the best it can be, it needs to be led by a more nimble entrepreneurial-type mindset that has direct links with the industry and the consumer”
What Eisenberg does know is that the sports nutrition industry has changed dramatically since he handed over control to GSK.
“There is a growing demand,” says Carolina Ordonez, head of consumer health at market research company Euromonitor. “But there is also a lot of competition.”
For a start consumers are more demanding. There is also a shift away from animal-sourced ingredients to vegetable sources, especially for people looking to avoid dairy. And looking further ahead, Ordonez thinks the current focus on protein will fade in favour of new trends.
How Marketing has Changed for Sports Brands
There have also been huge shifts in the way that brands reach and engage with potential customers. If Zef is to succeed with MaxiMuscle a second time round, Ordonez says he will need an army of social media “influencers” to reach the products’ specific target market.
The Reasons Brands Need to Work with Influencers
There are any number of reasons that brands should be working out how to work with influencers. But for an established brand like MaxiMuscle, there are some very specific ones;
- Increase credibility: There is no doubt that MaxiMuscle is built on a great understanding of sports nutrition. But then every sports nutrition brand claims that. Telling customers that your product is superior is simply not enough – you need independent experts (also known as influencers) to spread that message as well.
- Cut through the noise: Now that every brand is able to tell their story through their social channels, digital advertising, PR and so on, it is essential that marketing teams and business owners work out how to be heard. Collaborating with influencers, whose audience actively seeks out their content, is a great way to raise a brand’s voice.
- Gain trust: People have always trusted friends, family and acquaintances more than advertising. But the degree that is true is now increasing day by day. In order to be trusted by potential customers, brands have to do more than tell them that they are the best. They need trusted sources doing the same.
- Talk to new customers: By using the same channels that they always have, brands talk to the same people they always have. If a brand wants to grow, it need to talk to new people. One way to do that is by finding influencers whose followers are not people the brand has traditionally been talking to.
Adaptive, innovative and forward-thinking brands know that influencers are the key to unlocking growth and customer loyalty. This is certainly not the first time we have said this, but it is very interesting to see how big, established brands are starting to acknowledge that marketing has changed and they need to respond.