Despite the increasingly saturated health and fitness market, WeightWatchers is able to stand out among its peers and become one of the industry’s trailblazers. The company has been around since the 1960s, but its market value and performance remain impressive. In April 2023, WeightWatchers’s shares surged by 59% and raised the overall valuation for the year by 70% after it announced its plans to acquire the subscription-based telehealth platform Sequence. Additionally, it made a revenue of $1.2 billion for the full fiscal year of 2022, improving its position despite restructuring charges.
Such figures signify that WeightWatchers is a notable brand to look up to as it continues to transform, innovate, and come out on top after decades in the business. Whether you’re a long-standing brand or a small business looking to break into the health and fitness industry, here are four business and branding lessons worth learning from WeightWatchers.
1. Know your mission and core values
As discussed in a previous post, one of the fundamental principles of building a successful branding strategy is to know your brand’s mission and core values. Narrowing down what makes your brand unique and what it stands for makes it easier to reach and resonate with your target audience. WeightWatchers does so by defining weight management at the core of its global business and, at the same time, reducing stigma and improving access to obesity treatment and management. Acknowledging how the experience of weight loss and obesity can vary among individuals, the brand also puts clinical research and nutritional and behavioral science at the forefront for a more personalized and holistic approach.
2. Expand your offerings down the line
While WeightWatchers' focus is weight management, it showcases the value of expanding brand offerings to deliver relevant and updated approaches to a loyal customer base. To illustrate, the company utilizes clinical findings to present new medical weight loss programs that complement previous lifestyle recommendations like meal plans and fitness coaching. Under these programs, individuals who meet the body mass index and medical qualifications for anti-obesity medications can use phentermine for weight loss. The drug stimulates the brain and blocks a gut hormone to suppress appetite and reduce cravings — working in tandem with diet and exercise for long-term, clinically significant weight loss of around 10-11%.
3. Don’t be afraid to rebrand when needed
WeightWatchers has already made a mark in the broader health and wellness market, but its willingness to transform and adapt to the changing times is what makes it a long-standing brand. In light of this digital age, the company, once known for its in-person workshops, made weight loss more accessible through a mobile app. In addition, its flagship app introduced the Points system, a flexible approach to healthy eating that emphasizes the nutritional value and portions of food items instead of solely relying on calorie counting. With this new system also came WeightWatchers’ pivot from dieting to healthy habits and holistic wellness.
4. Be open to partnerships and collaborations
Lastly, WeightWatchers recognizes that the adage “no man is an island” applies to brands, too. Besides innovating its own offerings, the company reaches out to other health and wellness brands that share the same values for partnerships and collaborations. Long before it acquired Sequence to provide weight loss medications to eligible subscribers, the brand partnered with Abbott’s continuous glucose monitoring system to tailor its weight management plans to individuals with diabetes. Yet again, this endeavor meets WeightWatchers’ goal of holistic wellness by bridging the gap between body weight and overall physical health. In summary, WeightWatchers serves as living proof of how knowing your brand identity and being willing to expand, innovate, and collaborate can go a long way in not only attracting new customers but also building lifetime value for your business.