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Brand repositioning: More than just brand cosmetics

The repositioning of a brand is still equated with a new advertising line or a new branding. A typical example of this is currently the WW brand. Here is a brief review.

First Oprah Winfrey, then WW

In 2015, Oprah Winfrey participated in Weight Watchers and became the most important and influential testimonial. In October 2017 said: «The attention of Weight Watchers pays off for Oprah Winfrey. Since the American media entrepreneur and billionaire has followed the instructions of the diet company Weight Watchers International, she has lost more than 18 kilograms. That's what it says on the American Weight Watchers website, which advertises "Oprah's story". Winfrey's assets, on the other hand, have increased sharply since she acquired a 10 percent stake in the stumbling company in October 2015 for 43 million dollars and took over a seat in the board of directors. Since then, Weight Watchers' share price has risen by around 550 percent."

In autumn 2018, Weight Watchers was rebranded into WW and the new claim "Wellness that Works" was introduced. The goal or logic behind this is clear: WW wants to position itself more broadly for the future in order to profit from the booming wellness market. In October 2018 I wrote: "On paper, this may seem logical, especially for management. The booming wellness market is certainly much larger than the pure (outdated) consumer market. But there is also the extremely great danger that the WW brand will only be perceived as one of many providers there. In addition one will have the disadvantage that the brand comes from the consumer market. The WW won't change that either."

Last week (27. 2. 2019) reported: "The company Weight Watchers International, known for its diet programs and now only called WW, with talk show star Oprah Winfrey as its main figure, surprised investors unpleasantly with its latest annual report. The share price fell by 30 percent at times on Tuesday after the close of trading, after the company had admitted a weak start to the current year and given a gloomy outlook. This is somewhat embarrassing for the group, as it had only just given itself a new coat of paint with a changed brand strategy."

A lead product or a missed opportunity

To counter this development, CEO Mindy Grossmann announced that TV star Oprah Winfrey would play a central role in the upcoming advertising campaign. Only this could be too little, as the Oprah advertising effect has probably already been more than used.

Brand repositioning should always be seen as a kind of "play" with a clear dramaturgy. And nobody could do this better than Steve Jobs. Accordingly, he didn't start the repositioning of Apple with a new branding or a new advertising campaign, he repositioned Apple with the iPod in 2001. This was followed by brands such as iTunes, iPhone and iPad.

This brings us to an important point: ideally, Weight Watchers should have started its own repositioning with a special fitness program. In other words, you would have had to develop this special fitness and weight loss program with a special product name first. Then one would have introduced this with PR. The next step would have been to use the 18 kilograms and Oprah mentioned above as testimonials for this program in order to establish it even more strongly on the market.

The missing action

Many brand repositioning programs fail because the focus is far too much on communication instead of really doing something new in the eyes of the customer. The examples Alpecin and ‹Nimm 2› show how to do it. Both not only rejuvenated themselves very successfully, but also gained new target groups and market shares. Alpecin achieved this with its caffeine shampoo, Nimm 2 with its salmon gum. Exactly this focused action is missing from WW, because it is not about the next product offensive, but about a lead product that makes the difference and serves as the basis for all future activities.

PS: And of course the name Weight Watchers should not have been reduced to WW.

This blog was translated from following article:

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