Weight Watchers Loses Weight

Weight WatchersYesterday, 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.

Instead of:

  • 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!

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When in Doubt

How do you know what will be acceptable to say to an audience?

ConfusedMany times the line can be blurred between:

  1. Wanting to create an impact on the audience. Wanting to make them laugh and to engage them with examples and rhetorical devices and…
  2. Overstepping social and cultural boundaries by saying something offensive.

We don’t often achieve what we want by playing it safe. It is necessary to push beyond our own comfort zone and to many times push the audience out of their comfort zone to deliver an effective speech.

On the flipside, we don’t achieve what we want by being offensive.

When I am unsure of how a topic, example or subject will be accepted by an audience, there are three ways I determine if I should use it or not.

Jim Key

  1. The best option is to test it on non-crucial audiences and get their reaction and feedback.
  2. The next option is to run it by a few trusted peers who understand the audience I will be speaking to and get their opinion.
  3. Lastly, I use some advice I received from Jim Key, one of my fellow World Champions of Public Speaking. Jim said he lives by the mantra “When in doubt — Leave it out!”

There are numerous ways to craft a speech and make your point. You can create a beautiful talk with a great message and lose the some or all of the audience with one inappropriate comment.

Using questionable material and subject matter in a talk is simply an admission of one’s lack of ability and creativity.

Take the high road and always leave your audiences better than you found them!

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What is your Brand?

I hear a lot about “Branding” today. I regularly get emails about the corporate brand, your personal brand, defining your brand, building your brand, brand nauseum!!!

Much branding information focuses on a logo or a positioning statement.

For example:

  • BMW — The Ultimate Driving Machine
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken — Finger Lick’n Good!

Thus, you change the logo or positioning statement to change the brand.

I have a different concept of branding.

Rancher Branding CattleIn the American West — in the time of cowboys, open ranges and cattle drives — in order to tell one rancher’s cattle from another, ranchers would burn a mark into their livestock’s hide. When other ranchers saw the mark, they knew who owned the cattle. When rustlers stole the cattle, they knew whose cattle they were stealing. The “brand” is the mark that the rancher left on the cattle.

Thus, a business’s brand is simply the mark the business leaves on its customers.

BMW Corporate LogoBMW — The Ultimate Driving Machine only works if a BMW actually is the ultimate driving machine. It’s the car and its performance that leaves the mark on the driver and makes the brand.
Starbucks Corporate LogoStarbucks brand is not a green and white mermaid. Starbucks brand is my grande Veranda with no room for cream, or it is a venti pumpkin spice latte with eight shots of espresso, seven pumps of pumpkin sauce, and one pump of maple pecan sauce, as the case may be. It also is a comfortable place to meet with a variety of chairs and tables where you can stay for hours and not get hassled, clean restrooms and free Wifi.

What is good customer service?Our personal brand is the mark we leave on the people we meet and touch each day. We each leave a mark on everyone we touch. Some of us leave others feeling better every time we see them. Some of us make others happy every time we leave. I am sure we all have friends who are always late or don’t seem care if they upset us. We also have friends who aware and concerned about our well being.

Our personal brand is the mark we leave on the people we meet.Your Personal Brand

Let’s be sure not to burn them!

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How to Mimic Authenticity

Groucho Marks is reported to have said, “The most important thing is honesty. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
Groucho Marks

In line with these words of wisdom, “To be a great speaker, once you can mimic authenticity, you’ve got it made!”

I have had a busy spring and summer reviewing scores of speeches and speakers. One issue I consistently see with most inexperienced speakers is that they tend to mimic their stories, styles and performance from the speakers they would like to be.

My assessment of the problem is that most of us want to be something more than we are. In the process of trying to be more than we are, we fail to realize that our conundrum is actually resolved by being what we are – more!

With few exceptions, successful speakers, and successful people in general, have connected with own authenticity in their subject, in their career or in their life.

Authenticity comes from the word Author. Author is defined as – the maker of anything; creator; originator:

Seeing into the future

You cannot mimic someone else’s creation and in the same breath be your own author or creator.

This is not to say that you don’t watch, listen and learn from others. It is to say that you while you watch listen and learn from others, you take what you learned and fully own it. Make it yours, play with it, use it, see that it works for you. You don’t copy someone and do what they did only because you saw it work for them.

Your story is always best, because it is your authentic story.

Your lesson is always best, because it is your authentic lesson.

Your Choice

Your heart touching moment is always best because it is your authentic heart touching moment.

If you want to touch the heart of the audience, you have to speak from your heart.

So how does one do that? How does one find their authenticity???

Well…I had to dig…into the essence of my soul and discover who I really was. It was not a 2 hour drive – It was a bit of a journey!

In my DVD, Mastering Your Speech, I spend an entire hour on this subject. Where I looked for my messages. What questions I asked of myself to find the answers to who I was. How I discovered my authentic stories.

Speaking is not a matter of giving a message. It is a matter of giving your message!

There are great stories, great lessons and great wisdom that resides in each of us.

If we can find them and communicate them, we improve our lives and lives others!

Safe travels!

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Are Employees an Asset or a Liability?

Last month I attended the National Speakers Association Annual Convention. I had the opportunity to speak with Howard Putnam, a fellow pilot and professional speaker. Howard was also the second CEO of Southwest Airlines.

I have long been a fan of Southwest Airlines. I use their services extensively as I criss-cross the U.S. I consider Southwest one of the most consumer-friendly airlines. But what stands out the most is the attitude of their employees.

I have asked over 100 Southwest employees how they like their job? Of those, 100% have enthusiastically responded with, “This is the best company I have ever worked for!”

Howard shared a story with me about Southwest’s founder, Herb Kelleher. In the mid-1970’s, Howard and Herb were in New York City at an investor meeting. One of the investors asked Herb how he was going to generate the financial return to the investors if they paid his employees so much?

Howard said that Herb responded, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers. If the customers are taken care of, they will take care of the investors.”

While other carriers have struggled over past years, this little airline from Dallas continues to grow. While they have around 60,000 employees today, the real indication of their success is that they have over 200,000 people apply to work for them each year.

This is not to say that Southwest is perfect. But Southwest is taking a lot of right actions in creating a winning employee culture.

Many companies I have worked for considered employees a “cost” or a “liability” rather than an asset. They looked at how to lower labor costs rather than how to maximize employee contribution.

How much better would our work be if employees:

  • Were empowered to be their “best” at work?
  • Were acknowledged for the success they helped create?
  • Shared in the financial rewards for the success they helped create?

What if going to work was the best part of our day!

“The greatest wasted natural resource in the world is the untapped human potential that resides in each of us.”

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How to Start a New Club

If you have ever wanted to start a new Toastmasters Club, here is a proven way to successfully do it!

This by Rick Furbush who has started over 100 new clubs. Rick is the Region 8 Advisor, and as a District leader took District 46, in Florida, to President's Distinguished and was one of the top 6 Districts in the world 3 years in a row. 

Here is a complete write up on how to do a Toastmasters Kickoff Meeting.

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