Student Fitness: five key takeaways from Tone & Sculpt founder Krissy Cela

Tone & Sculpt is the definition of a challenger brand. During YMS:ONLINE, founder Krissy Cela shared how she tapped into the thriving health and fitness trend among the student demographic – growing its user base by 88% during the pandemic, and hitting 2.2 million followers.

Never underestimate social media 

If fitness brands and Gen Z are aligned on one thing, it’s social media. “If you look at who is on social media – especially Instagram – it’s that 18- to 24-year-old age range – and now, more than ever, trainers and influencers are utilising the platform to help provide free content to as many people as possible”, said Krissy. Identifying social media that would suit your brand – and creating content that’s genuinely useful – is a great way to connect with Gen Z in an online space that is familiar to them.

Always look at the bigger picture

For Tone & Sculpt – a fitness app focused on working out at home – the global lockdown was not as huge a threat as it was for other sectors. But even in a position of relative stability, Krissy was thinking about the future. “A trend right now is working out at home, obviously – but also, people are creating healthy habits that will be sustainable when they do go back to the real world, and to work.” It’s similar with marketing to students – the brands they buy from when they first establish their purchasing power will shape their spending habits for years to come. As you market your products to them, you should think about what they’re buying now, as students – but also, how you can attain their loyalty for years to come.

Maintain authenticity 

Gen Z often shows their allegiance to brands via their social media actions – and Krissy credits her 2.2 million Instagram followers to staying authentic. “I’ve always just been myself – I know that sounds really cliché, but I just don’t believe in trying to please everyone. My job isn’t to go on social media and post something to be clickbait – my job is to help you. I am your virtual trainer. I’m going to be your biggest cheerleader”. The student demographic will align with this – an exercise plan that is personable, digital and affordable. But as digital natives, they’re also the resident experts on keeping it real. Make sure your brand sticks to its key values on social media and off it.

Use influencers – but innovatively 

“Right now, Tone & Sculpt is working on a massive influencer and social media strategy”, says Krissy. The brand has worked with influencers in the past, but now they are taking it one step further by working with their first spokeswoman – YouTuber Saffron Barker. “No other fitness app has this yet – she will be the voice of the company. She’s pretty much an employee at Tone & Sculpt, and will be paid, but she doesn’t need to work with us – she wants to. She believes in our message and what we stand for.” Strategically working with internet personalities that students look up to will open your brand up to an entirely new audience – and building up hype around your chosen influencer will get Gen Z talking.

Understand how you fit into students’ lives 

Krissy knows exactly what students are looking for in terms of their fitness – she’s been there before herself. “I remember when I used to be at university studying law, I struggled to find the time – but I made time because I wanted to create healthy habits.” Whatever your brand is geared towards, understanding the youth market – and how it differs from the wider demographic – is crucial to engaging students. “I wanted to make fitness accessible for everyone. If I can give more of a discount to students by working with a great company like Student Beans, then I want to do that. At the end of the day, fitness should be accessible to everyone, and Student Beans allows us to do that. It allows students to stay active, fit, healthy and sharp – because that’s what they need when they go into their lectures and get ready for exams.”

 Looking to do the same as Krissy? Student Beans has been working with Tone & Sculpt and we’re always on the lookout for the next go-to student brand. If that sounds like you, request a demo.