After 55 years as one of the most well-recognized diet brands in the world, Weight Watchers is no more. The iconic stronghold is now WW, a health and wellness company with an amended mission.
WW is focused on “wellness that works,” which is their new tagline and a nod to their famous Ws or “dub dubs” that have been showing up around the existing Weight Watchers branding over the last several years.
“We will never abdicate our leadership in the best healthy eating program for weight loss in the world, but we can be so much more today,” says WW’s President and Chief Executive Mindy Grossman. “Everyone is talking about wellness, and to a degree people don’t want to use the word ‘diet’ because they think it’s a more short-term, punitive kind of issue, and that’s not what we are.”
With subscribers – nearly 4.5 million – and earnings both up from last year, this branding was a cultural shift, motivated by a desire to align with the massive wellness industry philosophically and financially. In 2017 over a trillion dollars was spent on healthy eating, nutrition, weight loss, fitness and mind-body, so clearly wellness is big business.
However, in marketing and branding, financials can’t be the only tool driving your decisions. If data is showing that your competitor’s more agile, modern approach is making your brand look outdated, it’s time for new ideas. And, as Goop illustrated, there is no shortage of earnings to be found when a lifestyle brand takes a comprehensive, holistic approach to health.
WW Goes for the Marketing Wins
WW is implementing several new programs illustrating a widely integrative approach to capturing market share, as they attempt to touch all the key components of a successful rebranding strategy, while staying true to their mission.
Creating Customer Engagement
WW is now open to everyone interested in healthy living. You don’t have to declare a weight loss goal to use their points system or new features, and the app is free. Once in the app however, the key products are still fee-based. This encourages subscriptions and allows customers to be in control of their content.
- Gamification with Wellness Wins: A rewards program that assigns “wins” or credits for every positive step subscribers take in their wellness journeys. Credits can be cashed in for experiences or exclusive products and services, further incentivizing WW users to keep tracking their progress and coming back.
- Entering the Home with WW Healthy Kitchen: A line that makes eating healthy at home as easy as possible with cookbooks, kitchen tools and cookware. By the end of the year, the line is expected to include 100 items, ranging from measuring implements to non-stick cookware. And if you don’t want to prepare the food yourself, WW has developed WW Fresh, a meal-prep kit currently available at Sprouts Farmers Markets in California. They’ve also cleaned up all their pre-packaged foods, eliminating most artificial ingredients, further asserting their new wellness re-brand.
Promoting the WW Brand by Leveraging Voice, Social and Mobile
- Voice Search Skill: A voice integration program with Alexa and Google Assistant will allow users to ask their smart devices for point values, recipes, and updates.
- Subscriber Social Network: In December, WW will launch Connect Groups, which encourage online connections among subscribers over niche issues like gluten allergies and love of the outdoors. Since the beginning, human connection has been a part of the WW marketing plan, and it continues in the digital age.
- Mobile App Partnership: WW partnered with Headspace, an app that offers guided meditation, to complement their new whole-body approach. This includes a free 90-day subscription, which will soon be customized with WW content.
All the Components of a Successful Rebranding
“People really need a partner to help them get healthy," Grossman said. "And what we want to do is help give them the tools, give them the community, give them the motivation and inspiration to be able to do that. And it's very important we can do that for all people.” The strategic rollout of their new name, alignment with a profitable, of-the-moment cultural movement and market tested approaches to customer acquisition, engagement and retention could bring WW the results they are looking for.
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