Why Weight Watchers’ Rebrand Failed

Posted on November 8, 2018

In September 2018, Weight Watchers announced that they were rebranding to become “WW,” which stands for “Wellness that Works.” The company is known for helping people achieve their weight goals by giving them points for eating healthy. After 55 years of being called Weight Watchers, they were making a huge shift from weight loss being their main goal to focusing primarily on mental well-being, fitness, and meditation. The decision to abbreviate was due to their brand name no longer aligning with their vision. We agree that every company must rebrand at some point, but a rebrand shouldn’t leave customers confused.

Core values were abandoned to enter a new market

Weight Watchers’ consumers weren’t dissatisfied with the old system; however, there was an opportunity for growth within the wellness industry and with technology. It’s going to take more than rebranding for them to become a lifestyle tech brand. Weight Watchers is known for helping people diet. Rebranding is not the change members need to help them live a balanced life. WW will still include the point system for food, but eating habits are only a small portion of healthy living.

For a company that has never used a holistic approach and was focused on shedding pounds, they must understand what works for one member may not work for all members. Consumers must begin to change their mindsets to recognize the power of their bodies and focus on positive aspects in life. It may take some time for consumers to make this adjustment.

Here are a couple of reasons why WW failed with their rebranding:

1. WW offended their most valued consumers.

Weight Watchers replaced their original brand for the initials “WW,” leaving many consumers confused by what it stands for. This rebrand has caused a lot of negative criticism. Their subscriber numbers and revenues are gradually declining.

How to avoid this:

Choose a brand identity that won’t antagonize your target audience. And if you’re going after a new market, make sure it’s an audience you can capture.

2. Rebranding made them unrecognizable.

It’s possible that some consumers won’t be able to recognize Weight Watchers because of the new name, logo, and packaging. This could lead them to buying from their competitors.

How to avoid this:

Keep a consistent look that visually communicates who your company is. If you already have a great brand identity, getting rid of it could be a bad decision. Keep what works for consumers and remove what doesn’t.

Recognizing when it’s time to rebrand can seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Contact us to learn more about rebranding your business.