Marketing Maestros

Weight Watchers: the skinny on transforming a brand during a recession

By Martha Young, FM Global
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

As a self-proclaimed "repeat offender" and brand advocate of the Weight Watchers program, I had a vested interest in Senior Vice President of Marketing's Cheryl Callan Friday afternoon presentation at the Masters of Marketing Annual Conference in Phoenix.

As a "Lifetime" member of Weight Watchers, I've counted enough Points and Points Plus to make an accountant blush. It is through the lens of my 10-year relationship with the brand that I listened intently to Callan's business challenge: transforming the Weight Watcher's brand during a recession.

Callan, with the assistance of agency partner McCann WorldGroup's Nick Brien, outlined the brand evolution: telling the story of Weight Watchers through inspiration versus persuasion. Together, they carried us through the story of marketing weight loss--often seen as self-indulgent--during tough economic times. We saw the comparisons of Weight Watchers' previous campaign of telling consumers how to lose weight versus the current campaign allowing Weight Watchers members tell us their weight loss success stories.

Callan shared some frightening statistics:
1. The average woman tries 15 diets during her lifetime
2. 90% of dieters regain weight during their lifetime
3. On average, women spend 25 years of their lives on a diet

Callan and Brien, in their presentation, told the story of differentiating Weight Watchers from its competitors.  In launching its first innovation in 13 years, the Points Plus Program captures Weight Watchers not as a being a weight loss program, but rather a platform for talking about success. The end result: the incredible weight loss journey of singer Jennifer Hudson.

Ultimately, the success of Weight Watchers is in the facts--a 19 percent increase in enrollment during challenging economic times and in becoming a brand on a mission to inspire Americans to lose weight.

What are your thoughts on the Weight Watchers Points Plus campaign? Chime in with your comments below.

“Learning to Leap. Give it a try – you are going to love it.”

By Jacqueline Touma, Microsoft Corporation, jacquiet@microsoft.com, Twitter @jacqueline008
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

Enlightening, impactful and with just enough craziness that you know she is on to something. Dana Anderson presentation today at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix made you want to be "hopped up on Dana...". Dana's fresh approach to disruptive and transformational marketing helped me understand we are living in a VUCA world (Denise Caron). What the hell did she talk about you may ask? V- Volatile, U- Uncertain, C-Complex and A - Ambiguous.

To leap requires breaking our usual norms and boundaries. It requires flexibility, learning through immersion and trials, acceptance of intuition, uncoupling winning from the need for a solution and engagement with complexity. Taking the leap, really doing these things in your business can turn VUCA from negativity to visionary, understanding, clarity and agility.

Dana emphasized about being open to your destination, that it may change and how mediocrity was exhausting. This echo's Thomas L. Friedman's from NY Times talk just earlier that average is over, it's dead. The takeaway for me was about confidence, tenacity and the ability to take the risk - to leap.

Leaping at Kraft, as Dana commented is about people, pilots and process - and it's not without significant risk. There has to be a belief and a supporting culture to do so.

This came to life in one of her stories she told about one of her executive colleagues using a 'blank check approach'. To allow marketers to have the freedom to do the right things, the right programs and give people the right, the freedom beyond the numbers. The constraint shouldn't be the budgets but people's imaginations. Out of the 16 requests, 13 were approved and the employees treated the money better than if it were there own she went on to note.

"Feels like a girdle but flies like a bird". Leaping is not about blindly jumping. Kraft follows a four box process of that covers every aspect of the consumer experience. It's excruciating upfront and at first, but then there is an exhilaration of lifting up, of taking flight. Numa Numa helped lift our spirits and drive home the message.

She ended her presentation with these parting words of wisdom from an apropos source: "Things much happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you. "  Dr. Suess.

Inspirational. Thought-provoking. Mad genius. There was so much more in her presentation that I could hope to address in this brief blog. Go download the slides from ANA, engage with Kraft Foods, connect with her and, above all, try leaping.

Marketing as the Organizing Principle for Growth

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

If you asked 20 people on the streets of New York or Chicago, "what is marketing," you might get 30 different answers.  Those answers would range from statements that describe specific functions of marketing, like advertising, to those that describe one of the results of marketing, like "it's convincing people to buy".  Some people might even describe it as a specific department. 

Well, if you are like me, and you believe that the starting point for any discussion about marketing, must begin with the process of value creation for both the company and the consumer, you would have enjoyed Tony Palmer's ANA presentation on the journey he's been on to transform a 140 year old company that made great products into one that see's marketing as the organizing principle for growth. 

Mr. Palmer's journey to transform the company through great marketing started at the highest level possible-with the board.  He believed that if marketing was going to drive the growth agenda, then the Board should have a marketing committee. 

From there, all actions should be about selling more stuff to more people more often.  To do so, Mr. Palmer has simplified the goals of marketing down to one thing: changing the trajectory of their business.  He also states that it's imperative that any marketing campaign be fully integrated which is why he puts media planning at the center of Kimberly Clark's integrated marketing process. 

So what are the processes and principles that allow marketing to truly be the growth engine of a company?  According to Tony, they are:

Perhaps the most compelling, but understated thing that Mr. Palmer said is that marketing requires fearlessness.  I agree, you must be fearless to grow in a hyper-competitive world! 

Inspiring Consumers Enough to Grow During a Recession

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

According to Cheryl Callan, SVP of Marketing for Weightwatchers, the "Do it Yourself" weight loss industry is a $460 Billion Dollar industry. Since its founding, Weightwatchers has competed as social business in the sub category of the industry, called weight management (this portion of the weight loss industry is a $3.7BB dollar industry).  The growth dilemma facing Weightwatcher was how to be as a "social" business when the service they provide consumers is the ultimate purchase that "can wait". 

The process that Cheryl and her agency team, led by Nick Brien of McCann Worldwide, involved getting back to it's roots and becoming relevant by getting out of the persuasion business and going back to providing a platform and the tools for consumers to inspire each other to achieve their weight loss goals. 

Like many of the other speakers on day one of this year's conference, unlocking success for Weight Watchers required that the team take risk and adapt quickly if the early indicators did not show signs of success.  The Weight Watchers team learned that some creative executions test well but they do not change consumer behavior or improve sales, and therefore had to be scrapped.  The other risk that the team took, that definitively paid off, was to make a significant product innovation and to simultaneously embrace the idea of finding the ultimate influencer/advocate that would inspire consumers that they could be successful with the program.   The combination of the new "points plus" program and the partnership with Oscar and Grammy award winner, Jennifer Hudson has increased enrollments 19 percent.  Mr. Brien indicated that the success of the brand has experienced boils down to:

“These Are Amazing Times…Leverage Your Brand to Exploit Them”

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

Depending on who you ask, the current environment for marketers might be described with words, like: crazy, busy, overwhelming-some might even say "insane"!  Building great brands, and telling great stories is now just a portion of what marketers are expected to contribute to their organizations.  If you really want to a list of what marketers do daily, you'd have to add a number of new disciplines including, driving the growth agenda, discovering new markets and new ways to connect to consumers, and most importantly, defending the marketing investment-daily.  Most of us as marketers welcome the new opportunity to help our companies succeed and we are even honored that people recognize that marketing is a true discipline that requires knowledge, skill and leadership.   But, let's admit it...sometimes it feels like this great discipline that we love has lost a bit of its swagger and magic. 

Well, Esther Lee, SVP of Brand Marketing and Advertising for AT&T Services has the anecdote that will get us back to the amazing opportunity that we have as marketers, and surprisingly, and it starts with unleashing the power of your brand. 

The amazing opportunity that confronted Ms. Lee when she joined AT&T was the fact that AT&T has near universal recognition-they are well-known, but not necessarily well-loved. Ms. Lee has been on a journey to change this, and based on results of things like customer retention, sales and market share, I'd say she's making pretty good progress. 

Every journey has a roadmap or some mileposts to help shape and ensure that you will arrive at the appointed place.  For Ms. Lee, and the AT&T Company, there are four critical steps that have marked the journey that all marketers can apply:

Admittedly, all of these seem like relatively simple steps, but Ms. Lee showed that they are not...you cannot truly capitalize on the journey without taking a deep, visceral look into each of these steps.  For example, in step one, most people would describe AT&T as a "Telcom" company-Ms. Lee would not.  She states that they are a "mobility led company that allows people to do more things".  Knowing this allows her to move forward to milepost two, with a true vision on how to seek higher ground (and I'm sure higher profits) for the company.  This also allows the company to know and understand that to capitalize on milepost three, they cannot only present great technology and networks that make everything better, they also have to provide a remarkable customer experience (they are working on this one) and public service that builds deeper and more personal connections to consumers.  One way they did this was through the New Years Eve release of the "that text can wait" documentary: http://youtu.be/DebhWD6ljZs. Another is the fact that they have 30,000 people devoted to building apps to help deliver on the vision on making anything connected to the Internet better. 

Milepost Four, starting from the beginning is what brings the journey together.  Great brands activate the souls and visions of companies.  So before you march off to fight the ROI and metrics battles, don't forget to remind yourself that profits, consumer engagement and loyalty all start with a brand having the courage to be authentic to their highest purpose. 

So in your quest to be able to passionately agree with Ms. Lee that these are indeed amazing times, I leave you with a few words from AT&T's Rethink Possible manifesto:

Play the angel's advocate,

Outsmart can't,

Explore. Try. Do.

Before it could be done, it couldn't.

These are amazing times.


Facebook: The Social Web Powered By You and Your Friends' Content

By Martha Young, FM Global
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

Facebook -- perhaps you've heard of it. It's all about people.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, presented at the Masters of Marketing Annual Conference Saturday morning to a roomful of Facebook fans.  Because, after all, who isn't on Facebook?

But, before getting too deep into the topic of our love of talking about ourselves, Sandberg humorously reminded us of the frightening days "before the web" and the days of the web's infancy when online activity was anonymous. Today, the social web is about identity, allowing ordinary people to become broadcasters as well as receivers.

Sandberg posited that "social by design" is a key foundation to successfully connecting with customers. She offered three ways marketers can build their brands on Facebook, by:
1.  Connecting
2.  Engaging
3.  Inspiring

Amid the showcasing of familiar Facebook campaigns, including Diageo, Subway and Walmart, perhaps the biggest news bite was the unveiling of Facebook's new "timeline," a media rich view of Facebook users' lives. Yes, fasten your seat belts for yet another site design enhancement! As with other design changes, it may take some getting used to, but I think we'll like it.

Most notably, "timeline" appears to better promote Facebook's capabilities with photography. Did you know that Facebook is the largest photo sharing site on the Web? Sandberg reports that 250 million photos are uploaded daily on Facebook.  She encouraged us to develop our brand campaigns with engagement activities, including tagging friends and commenting on photos. "Give people a reason to share, a reason to care," Sandberg implored. "Encourage your customers to be part of your brand, not just recipients of your brand." And, of course, we can do this on Facebook. Because why build microsites when you can market to people where they live--on Facebook.

Got an exciting Facebook engagement success story? In the spirit of having a reason to share, tell us about it in the comments section below.

Steve Jobs, Technology Pioneer: 1955-2011

By Sumitra Duncan
Posted: Oct 6, 2011 12:00am ET

Yesterday the sad news was announced that Steve Jobs, co-founder and longstanding CEO of Apple, Inc., passed away at age 56 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I first learned of this news via my Facebook feed, fittingly viewed on my iPhone, and within minutes friends had reposted the news accompanied by many inspirational quotes from Jobs-my favorite of which come from his address to the 2005 graduating class at Stanford.

Wired.com described Jobs as the "most celebrated person in technology and business." As a visionary innovator whose contribution to our love of mobile technology could be described as unrivaled, Jobs pioneered a shift in the way that we communicate, work, socialize, navigate, research, broadcast, and entertain ourselves while watching video, listening to music, and playing games on the go. My relationship to technology dramatically shifted with my first iPod, PowerBook, and then the iPhone-I now can't imagine a world without the latest in mobile innovations.

ANA members can visit the ANA Marketing Knowledge Center for the latest marketing insights in mobile technology-such as learning more about the iPad for marketers.



I Feel the Earth Move...

By Susan Burke
Posted: Sep 6, 2011 12:00am ET

In the ANA's New York City offices, we felt the slight aftershocks from August's earthquake in Virginia. After it passed, the questions began, ranging from "was that an earthquake?" to "was that the subway?" A quick look on CNN.com and MSNBC.com confirmed that there had been an earthquake in Virginia, but beyond a "breaking news" banner, there was no fresh information on either of those sites for some time afterwards.

Hungry for more information, I headed to Facebook and that's where I got the scoop-links to articles, attempts to check in to the earthquake on Foursquare, and reports of a mild shaking going on from friends all over the northeast. Not only was information coming out of Facebook (and Twitter) quickly, it was also, for the most part, accurate and interesting.

My social media experience on Tuesday reflects a larger trend that is currently impacting the advertising industry. According to Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing, Facebook, who spoke at the Mobile Marketing Association's CEO & CMO Summit in July 2011, 74% of consumers would prefer to receive information and recommendations from their friends online as opposed to experts. For me, Facebook (and my friends) were a more helpful source of information during the earthquake than any of the traditional news sites.

What do you think? Is social media where you go for news and reviews?


Mobile's Time Has Come

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Sep 6, 2011 12:00am ET

Results of a new ANA survey are just in on the use of newer media platforms. Social media and mobile are both red hot. 89% of marketers are now using social media and 75% are using mobile. Recent growth for both has been strong, as reflected in the numbers below.

Use of Media Platform
  Social Media Mobile
2011 89% 75%
2009 66% 32%
2007 20% 28%

Mobile's growth trend is particularly interesting - very modest growth from 2007 to 2009 and spectacular growth from 2009 to 2011.

In my eleven year tenure at ANA I have often heard that mobile's growth will be "next year" and then "next year" does not quite live up to its promise. But next year has finally arrived.

Some other interesting findings regarding mobile from that new survey:

However, marketers are not yet completely sold on the effectiveness of mobile. It fact, mobile ranks behind a host of other newer media platforms in terms of perceived effectiveness (behind websites, SEO, SEM, email, webinars, online ads, social media). So it still has some work to do.

According to Wendy Clark, SVP, integrated marketing communications and capabilities at The Coca-Cola Company, mobile is the MOST important medium for the firm going forward. That's quite a statement from a company that is over one hundred years old and sells beverages! Wendy will be the opening keynote speaker at the ANA Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest on September 14 in NYC. Other companies that will share their perspective on the importance of mobile will be Walmart, Hershey, American Express, HP, Westin Hotels, Sprint Nextel, and MediaVest. Check out the agenda and I hope to see you there!


Mobile Marketing: What Are Marketers Doing?

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Aug 31, 2011 12:00am ET

Mobile marketing is a relatively new space that marketers are getting involved in, and rightfully so-it's the best way to get your product into the hands of your consumers-literally via their mobile device which doesn't seem to leave their hands!

According to one of our recent surveys, about 90 percent of marketers currently use or plan to include mobile marketing as part of their overall mix. So what are companies and marketers doing in the mobile space? Westin Hotels & Resorts is embracing mobile technology by creating a mobile website, a mobile app for their Starwood Preferred Guests, and they've done mobile geo-targeted advertising with the "Warm Up Your Weather" campaign.

The Coca-Cola Company has publicly stated that mobile is the most important medium for the company going forward and they are currently using mobile advertising to engage with brand lovers. Coca-Cola has also stated (Gavin Mehrotra, Director of International Media) that SMS is the number one priority at Coca-Cola in the mobile realm, mobile web is number two, and smartphone apps are number three. According to Coca-Cola's theory-SMS reaches all customers, whatever mobile device they may have.

HP recently announced their exit from the tablet space; however that doesn't mean they aren't doing a ton of really cool stuff in mobile marketing. HP developed HP Connect for events (on mobile devices), which provides details of presentations, information about booths, connection to social networks, and QR scanners (used with the camera feature of mobile devices). All of the files received though HP Connect can be viewed using the mobile phone, or can be transferred to a computer. HP Connect is just one of the many cool mobile marketing concepts they are working on.

Want to find out what other marketers are doing in the mobile space? Want to network with your peers? Join us at the 2011 ANA Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest on September 14 in NYC to hear more from leading mobile experts from Westin Hotels & Resorts, American Express, MediaVest, The Coca-Cola Company, Walmart, HP, Comcast, eMarketer, The Hershey Company, and Sprint Nextel!

First  << 28293031323334 >>  Last (39)

About This Blog

Written by our in-house citizen journalists, this varied blog draws on insights from the client-side marketing community, examines game-changing campaigns and industry research, provides actionable takeaways from ANA events, and more.