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Weight Loss Brands Leverage Digital Solutions For Holistic Experiences

December 10, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Before wellness, there was dieting. Now, many brands that focus on weight loss take more holistic approaches that incorporate overall health and positive body images. The holistic messaging of wellness brands resonates with consumers seeking authenticity, particularly those who are interested in a whole body approach to fitness, dieting and nutrition. 

As weight loss brands, like Noom, Optavia and WW, embrace wellness-based approaches, reaching consumers digitally is more important than ever, particularly for brands engaging the increasing numbers of young people interested in wellness. Additionally, web traffic has increased 20% during the pandemic, people are buying products and services online more than ever, and brands that want to keep up, launch new ideas and meet consumers’ needs, must think digital.

Noom Appeals To Social Media Savvy Millennials Who Like To Share Their Stories 

Shutterstock_1745003447 Young happy athletic woman eating fruit while text messaging on mobile phone in the kitchen.

At first glance, it’s hard to tell what makes Noom different from other weight loss programs. It requires food tracking and exercise like many competitors, but it also relies heavily on encouraging behavioral changes and getting to the root of issues that may cause overeating. The Noom app offers advice and quizzes to help analyze eating and dieting habits, and it offers advice on the best, most nutritious foods for individual Noom members. “The education elements that the [Noom] app includes, like how it teaches you about calorie reduction and carbohydrate intake, as well as how to increase physical activity, is really helpful and crucial information if you want to lose weight in a sustainable way,” writes registered dietitian Nora Minno for Women’s Health.

The app-based Noom program costs $59-$144 with the price depending on enrollment duration. There is also a free version of the Noom app, but it offers fewer features and no personalized plans. Noom describes its weight loss approach as breaking “self-sabotaging behaviors and develop[ing] balanced relationships with food and yourself that last,” according to an article in Good Housekeeping. Which adds, “The individualized coaching [within the Noom app] is also essential, since it provides a veritable cheerleading team through your phone who can help you stay engaged with the platform.” Members get personalized items, generated by the Noom algorithm based on prior information inputted by individual members, to check off each day to help reach their goals. 

Noom relies heavily on members sharing their weight loss journeys and connecting with one another through the Noom message boards and live chats. Noom is considered the weight loss app for Millennials, with an emphasis on the usability of the app and connection members can make with one another, an extension of social media use Millennials are already comfortable with. The Noom app has 50 million users.

Optavia Leverages Content Marketing And Ecommerce To Share Success Stories And Sell Branded Supplements

Optavia, a weight loss plan that involves meal replacement snacks the brand calls “fuelings,” relies heavily on positive content marketing, including video explanations of their various plans, as part of their digital advertising strategy. Optavia also regularly touts success stories, coach profiles, recipes and product launches on Instagram. Social media has become a go-to resource for many people looking for weight loss inspiration, diet ideas and new products, offering much of the same community-based connection and engagement that people often seek out from weight loss meet-ups.

Optavia’s trademarked Habits of Health, plus Optavia coaches, offer step-by-step guidelines to incorporate the Optavia “fuelings” with a “lean and green” diet. As with most current weight loss plans, Optavia aims to incorporate the whole body experience and Optavia community to create a supportive, holistic atmosphere that has more lasting results. Tiered plans on Optavia range in price depending on how many meals a member opts into, but the ecommerce platform can be used by anyone to buy any Optavia products. An easy-to-access ecommerce store may resonate with consumers looking toward a “new year new you” approach as 2020 winds down, and the store can be an entry point for people interested in Optavia but not ready to sign up for the whole system.

WW, Formerly Weight Watchers, Ramps Up Digital Platforms With Launch Of Wellness Strategy

Shutterstock_736958713 Asian women are using the smart phone on the bed before she sleeping at night. Mobile addict concept.

Few weight loss brands had more name recognition than Weight Watchers, which rebranded as WW and adopted a more whole body approach in 2018. And, while some members balked at the holistic approach after years of very weight loss focused messaging, the brand boasted of a record high 5 million members prior to the pandemic. Recently, WW course-corrected to create a better balance between its wellness initiatives and its weight loss mission in order to meet the needs of a broader audience with a mix of goals. The brand’s new myWW+ seems to be taking a page from Noom, offering a personal assessment that accounts for lifestyle, sleep and behavior patterns, all while still relying on WW’s proprietary and legendary SmartPoints System.

One of the main features of WW that has long distinguished it from other weight loss plans, are the in-person meetings that provide motivation, guidance and accountability. “Before the pandemic hit, about a quarter of the company’s members were paying $44.95 a month for access to workshops in its 800 branded studios or 2,500 locations like community centers, places of worship, hotels and other spaces. The other subscribers pay $20.95 a month for WW’s app. The company had been making its digital platforms a priority,” said Nick Hotchkin, the chief financial officer for WW. The inability to meet in person during COVID-19 has accelerated WW’s move to digital, as people everywhere move many of their interactions and purchases online. The WW digital options range from use of just the app to the app plus workshops, virtual and live experiences, and personal coaching. Brands that are able to offer tiered subscriptions often find greater reach with audiences of different income and interest levels. 

Healthy Eating & Wellness Are Top Of Mind As We Head Into Resolution Season

In 2020, fully understanding how to stay healthy and fit, in mind and body, may be more top of mind than any other year. Brands that can reach consumers via digital tools and platforms that make healthy eating and nutrition accessible, fun and supported, are likely to find lasting consumer bases. By implementing interactive whole body approaches, tiered app subscriptions and easy access to products and services, weight loss brands are likely to gain the trust of consumers well into the future.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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