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The Purpose and Major Issues of the Case
Weight Watchers International Inc. is now one of the leaders in the market of services provided to people who want to lose and control their weight. The founder of the company stressed that “love, information, companionship, and commiseration of fellow overweight individuals were the key components… for the effective formula… to succeed at weight loss” (Dess et al. 202).
The company is now facing significant competition and it is also experiencing a considerable growth. Therefore, there are cautions that the company may lose its culture and basic principles that have attracted so many customers. There are concerns that the company will be unable to effectively address challenges of the new competitive environment.
Discussion of Recommendations
Thus, the company has an effective website where customers can get a wide range of services including diet and activity plans, discussions and online meetings in support groups, online videos with sport activities and so on. The company has managed to increase the number of its male customers focusing on gender peculiarities (thus, men prefer self-support). However, it is also clear that the rate of male customers can be increased.
It has been acknowledged that men prefer self-regulated programs and they are reluctant to participate in group meetings. Thus, it can be beneficial to focus on customization of plans for men. These plans should fit diverse preferences and lifestyles. Cultural background should also be taken into account irrespective of customer’s gender. It is clear that American overweight people come from different cultural backgrounds and it is important to customize diet and activity plans to these peculiarities.
Menus should include traditional foods. Activity plans can include some activities that are popular among specific groups. This will help people change their lifestyles to healthier ones with minimum inconveniences. Clearly, this will lead to the increase in customers’ satisfaction and it will also attract more customers. The company’s revenues are growing due to effective marketing strategies. Locating the company’s logos on some products has proved to be effective.
However, people (especially females) often prefer attending various sport facilities. Collaboration with these facilities can be beneficial as this will be another opportunity for customers to share experiences and get support from fellow overweight people. The company will also get profit form collaboration with facilities that will be eager to collaborate with a well-established brand. Of course, the company should keep the focus on the balance between plans and support as this turned out to be an effective formula which is still attracting many people. The online resources should involve online meetings, conferences and Weight Watchers should make the use of social networks more effective.
Summary of Recommendations
First, it can be beneficial to pay more attention to cultural diversity by including customized menus and lifestyles (involving some particular sports or activities typical of particular cultural groups), providing information in English, Spanish on the websites as well as during various events. Apart from selling some snacks and providing the company’s logos on some products, it is possible to collaborate (provide logos and develop specific programs) with some sport facilities where people could get a particular set of exercises and share some experiences with others.
Clearly, male customers can be seen as a great potential for the company where only 22% of customers are men while 70% of American males are overweight. To attract more males, it is important to develop a number of programs that could fit men having different backgrounds (pertain to different cultures, have different jobs, have different amount of free time and have different incomes). To maintain the balance between plans and support, it is useful to employ a variety of online tools (online meetings and conferences involving people from different states or even countries, use social networks like Facebook and Twitter more extensively and so on).
Dess, Gregory G., Tom Lumpkin, Alan B. Eisner, and Gerry McNamara. Strategic Management: Text and Cases. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2012. Print.