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Posted on Fri 23rd Sep, 2016 in: Advice, Public Relations, Social Media by Emma Lister

I'm constantly amazed at how far Joe Wicks has come. From starting out as a penniless pub worker, to becoming the next Instagram phenomenon, he's sprinted to fame and is showing no signs of slowing down (excuse the pun). His bite size Instagram 'Lean in 15' cooking demos and live Facebook workout sessions continue to keep people satisfied with easily digestible and useful content. I'm a particular fan of his Pad Thai in 15 minutes recipe! Wicks has developed a hugely successful fat loss plan, the 90 day Shift, Shape and Sustain programme under the brand name The Body Coach, which already has tens of thousands of members across the world. He's converted people who wouldn't have normally been interested in a healthy lifestyle to his way of thinking. His plan is a completely unique one in that it is entirely focused on giving your body the foods it needs to be able to work out and burn fat. It's far from a low calorie diet that we've seen the likes of Slimming World and Weight Watchers plug for decades. And the way he has promoted it is a little different too. He's used his charm and silliness to get people like me avidly watching his Snapchats and Instagram videos day in and day out, desperate to hear what he has to say about staying fit and lean. He's become an idol for many. His followers admire him and are keen to adopt his lifestyle and even his obsession with midget trees (tenderstem broccoli). Wicks' approach to marketing is a very organic one, in that it has mainly been dominated by his personal social media activity. But it has had one heck of a PR programme behind it. From almost weekly national profile pieces and broadcast media interviews, to recipe columns, best-selling cook books and even starring roles on entertainment shows like Celebrity Juice and Good Morning America - Wicks has had a good stint of communications activity, particularly over the last 12 months. The Body Coach is probably one of the few businesses where the person fronting the brand is not only the face of it, but they are it. If you take Wicks away, what's left? When people think of the 90-day plan, they think of him. He's the real selling point. He spends his days offering his nutrition and fitness advice to anyone who will listen. But what if he wanted to take a short break from The Body Coach or decided he'd outgrown it? Would the brand go with him? I would argue that The Body Coach - as a brand - doesn't have the strength and depth to stand on its own two feet. And why should it? If it's doing well enough as it is with Wicks firmly behind it and driving it, why change this? But surely there will be a time when this all gets too much for Wicks to handle on his own. If it continues to grow as quickly as it has done so far, it will inevitably get to a point where Wicks can't be the only person in charge of recruiting and retaining customers. Social media has helped him succeed by giving him a platform to attract a mass audience in the simple click of a button. He has given his brand a voice - his voice - by talking directly to consumers. Yet, even this could become too time-consuming if he's running a multi-million pound business all by himself. I would suggest that to take some of the pressure off Wicks, perhaps the The Body Coach should launch a dedicated social media channel to offer a central point of contact for members. Wicks could still continue to post video content and Snapchats on his own page, but by having a brand social media presence, people will start to see The Body Coach as even bigger and more influential and it will give Wicks the chance to focus on the wider strategy of the business!and allow him the chance to take a break or simply come up for air! He could also even recruit an 'army' of recruiters, who can share some of the spotlight by becoming his ambassadors. This army of advocates could then be profiled in the media too and share their top tips on staying lean, as fitness experts. They could also follow Wicks' style and personality with cooking demos and live social media workout sessions.      

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