Yesterday, on NBC’s Today Show, Mindy Grossman, CEO of Weight Watchers announced that Weight Watchers is rebranding itself “WW” with a focus on wellness.
This makes sense for a product line-extension to more fully service their client base. Instead of just “losing weight” clients now “gain wellness!”
With this change they are changing their name/logo to “WW.”
This allows Weight Watchers, or rather “WW” to provide additional products and services to their clients. It should allow “WW” to create longer and more valuable client relationships which should result in a more stable business and financial environment for employees and the company.
BUT…. HERE IS THE RUB……Based on what I have heard and read thus far:
- WW does not mean Weight Watchers.
- WW means Wellness that Works.
Weight Watchers is the 55-year old Undisputed World Champion of Weight Loss! Their equity in the marketplace and their equity in the minds of the consuming public is that of weight loss.
Walk down the street ask anyone, “What organization will help you lose weight?” I will bet that 99% of the answers will be “Weight Watchers!”
Ask the same question about “Wellness” and not only will no one say Weight Watchers, you will get answers covering everything from apples to the Z-spa.
If the rebranding from “Weight Loss” to “Wellness” is done without maintaining a connection to weight loss, it leaves “WW” with no position they own in the market and no position they own in the minds of their consumers. If that is the case, they are throwing out 55 years of equity, good will, recognition as arguably the market leader in the space.
WW could have easily communicated their transition from weight loss to wellness and still have maintained the equity they have in the weight loss market.
- WW = Wellness that Works
It could mean:
- WW = Weight to Wellness
- WW = Wellness through Weight Loss
- WW = Weight & Wellness Watchers
Just keep “Weight Loss” in the brand!!
Another important factor is that Weight Watchers was competing in the weight loss marketplace. Which they owned.
WW is now competing in the “Wellness Marketplace.” They do not have a position in this market. In the wellness marketplace you have the entire medical industry, every hospital network, every health insurance company, every chiropractor, nutritionist and acupuncturist, every nutritional product, diet fad, every sport drink, every gym, yoga studio and Pilates club, the list goes on and on.
Compare Weight Watchers rebranding to what FedEx did when they bought Kinko’s in February 2004.
- FedEx owned the overnight delivery market.
- Kinko’s owned the consumer copy center market.
FedEx was the acquiring corporation, so FedEx would dictate what name would be used. FedEx simply added FedEx to Kinko’s to be FedEx/Kinko’s.
This move kept the equity that both companies had in the minds of the consuming public. Now consumers could get their copies and mail their packages at the same store. This avoided massive amounts of confusion and lost revenues.
Five years later, once consumers were used to the change, FedEx dropped Kinko’s and changed to FedEx Office. Had they launched with FedEx Office in 2004, no one would have known what they were. The only option would have been to spend millions of dollars to educate the public.
We all have existing equity in our lives. Perhaps it is existing equity with our friends and family, existing equity at our work or with our customers. Perhaps it is equity in our neighborhood or community.
Sure, expand your brand and make a bigger mark on the world. But keep the equity you have earned!