Will The Latest Weight Watchers Revamp Capture A New Target Market?

Weight Watchers is ditching its rigid calorie counting program in favour of longterm lifestyle changes, in a bid to reposition itself a rapidly changing market. 

Encouraging members to look ‘Beyond the Scale’, the guide, which had previously positioned weight loss at its core, will now adopt a more holistic approach to healthy living, in keeping with wider market trends.

“Clinical evidence shows that happier people tend to make healthier choices and our holistic approach not only delivers weight loss results but helps members discover the confidence needed to start, the motivation to stay inspired and the positive energy to keep going,” commented, Jeanine Lemmens, Weight Watchers UK General Manager in response to the revamp.

The breakthrough approach is the biggest innovation in Weight Watchers’ 50 year history and comes just months after the brand announced a new partnership with global superstar Oprah Winfrey.

Read more: Weight Watchers Shares Soar As Oprah Winfrey Buys 10% Stake

By embracing new wellness trends including fitness tech, individualised plans and an emphasis on overall wellbeing, the 52-year-old company hopes to retain its existing audience, capture a younger audience and avoid losing brand equity in what is a rapidly evolving market.

In the same way Levi’s failed to respond quickly enough to the activewear revolution, subsequently witnessing a rapid decline in sales, Weight Watchers has also been slow to react to the evolving industry.

At the end of its most recent quarter, according to WSJ, Weight Watchers had just 2.6 million active subscribers, down from more than 4 million in 2013 and its current market capitalisation of $1.6 billion is still 75% below a high of $6.2 billion, set in May 2011.

By meeting members where they are today and listening to changing consumer tastes, the company hopes to breathe new life into the brand.

Instead of a rigid plan based on empty calories and deprivation, ‘Beyond the Scale’ covers areas such as nutrition, wellbeing skills and personalised activity goals, all of which Weight Watchers argue will lead to an increase in their member’s inner strength and overall wellbeing.

So will the revamp of a company with regimented weight loss and calorie counting ingrained in its brand story, survive a generation driven by education and empowerment?

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