The past year has been one in which all of us has become hyper aware of the importance of personal health. Now that wellness has been jolted to the forefront of our attention, what learnings can brands take away to earn consumer trust and help them lead healthy lives?
On this episode of BRAVE COMMERCE, hosts Rachel Tipograph (Founder & CEO of MikMak) and Sarah Hoffstetter (President of Profitero) sit down with WW’s President and CEO, Mindy Grossman. Together, they discuss the value of building consumer trust through data, seeing the consumer’s last great experience as your biggest competition, and making courageous decisions even when you don’t know you’re being brave.
Building consumer trust using science and data
“The beauty of being a data led organization and having science behind whatever we do,” Mindy says, is that not a single decision and investment is made without science as backing. For Mindy, data establishes trust in two ways. Firstly, it lets your consumers know that you are using science to make decisions when it comes to supporting their health. Secondly, it can propel your brand with better consumer insights and stronger product development, which has a virtuous cyclical effect in reinforcing that trust.
It comes with being a trusted brand in the wellness space. WW is purposeful in what they provide consumers so that their solutions both address consumer needs but also enables consumer trust. For example, in early 2019 Mindy’s team relaunched all of WW’s food products on every one of their commerce platforms. “We realized that our food products were not living up to our brand as a healthy living brand”, and a reformulation began, this time leaning into eCommerce. Then, when brick and mortar locations closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Mindy was able to quickly shift WW from hosting 30,000 physical workshops a week into a virtual model in six days. Today, the company has an on-demand model that allows consumers to choose when and how they want to engage. None of this, Mindy admits, would have been possible if they didn’t make the investments pre-pandemic toward a virtual solution.
Your biggest competition may not be your competitor
For many brands, this is an underappreciated perspective. Mindy notes that actually, a brand’s competition is “the last great experience someone had.” This could mean that the biggest competition is “people thinking they can get healthy themselves,” she says. ”That's the bigger part of the population.” Health and wellness brands know this well, oftentimes when consumers are not buying your product, it isn’t due to a loss to competition, but to their belief that your product isn’t necessary.
And that “last great experience” isn’t limited to experiences available within your industry. If the consumer has an experience that is “seamless and personalized”, Mindy says, and makes them “feel that you knew [them] and you were doing things for [them]”, it becomes both memorable and a standard of comparison. “Even if it’s in a completely different industry, you are going to be compared to that”. This is the reason why it is so important to be on top of how technology at large is impacting experiences and expectations.
You don’t always know that you’re being brave
Mindy has two memories of being brave, but only one in which she knew it was bravery in the moment. She did know she was being brave when, at the age of 20, she decided to call off law school and an engagement to be in business and do something with more creativity. She was willing to take a risk, move to New York for a year, and figure it out.
Her second memory involves resigning her position as the president of Chaps, Ralph Lauren. She had realized that the culture of the company wasn’t aligned with her own, and found her conviction strong enough to leave the company without another job prepared. In this instance, it wasn’t until in hindsight that Mindy realized the act was courageous. However, both instances of bravery were purposeful decisions that Mindy made in alignment with her values and who she is -- a trait that she carries with her as a leader today.
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