For all that the pandemic has alarmed consumers and businesses, it has also created new opportunities for brands to build engagement and trust via digital means; for wellness brand WW that has meant accelerating a digital transformation that was already taking place.

“We entered 2020 with incredible momentum,” Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International, recalled at the recent (digital) World Retail Congress.

“We had just launched MyWW, which is our newest program and the most personalised in the history of the company; and we also embarked on WW Presents Oprah's 2020 Vision, a nine-city arena tour, [based] around a full day of inspiration and wellness.”

Just days after that tour finished in Denver, with 15,000 people attending, WW had taken the decision to shut its offices as the risks of catching the COVID-19 virus were becoming ever clearer. But “we wanted to keep the community together”, said Grossman. “Community is at the core of everything we do.”

With social distancing and sheltering in place policies being enacted, the only option was to go digital – and fast. Just how fast WW achieved that feels extraordinary.

“In six days, we trained 14,000 coaches and guides and we launched every workshop in 12 countries simultaneously,” Grossman reported. “To give you a sense of scale, we had 30,000 physical workshops a week and we were able to launch 15,000 virtual workshops to be able to cover all of that.”

It was, as she acknowledged, “a huge feat” and one that could only have been done because WW had already invested so much in product and technology and had an agile team capable of making it happen. “It really was our ability to accelerate our digital transformation that allowed us to do it.”

It all ties in with Grossman’s belief that the brands of the future have to marry technology and meaning to help people lead better connected lives.

“This was a great example of how we were living our mission and our purpose to be able to give someone the tools to enhance their wellness journey,” she said.

For more, read WARC’s report: How WW pivoted to virtual wellness.

Sourced from WARC