The best brands build communities. Here’s how they do it
Every brand is desperate to build authentic, genuine connections with their audience, but it takes a lot to earn people’s confidence and loyalty. In Part 1 of our video series where a CMO meets a creator, Gail Tifford, chief brand officer of WW International, Inc., and YouTube creator Alisha Marie share how they use community feedback to shape their content and strategy.
[Alisha Marie] Perfect, we are recording.
[Gail Tifford] Okay.
[Alisha Marie] Hey, my name is Alisha Marie. I am a
[Alisha Marie] professional
[Alisha Marie] Youtuber, influencer, content creator.
[Gail Tifford] Hi everybody. I'm Gail Tifford, the Chief
[Gail Tifford] Brand
[Gail Tifford] Officer at WW, formerly Weight Watchers,
[Gail Tifford] and
[Gail Tifford & Alisha Marie] I'm so excited to be here. I'm so honored
[Alisha Marie] that I'm
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] able to be here with Gail. She said it
[Gail Tifford] great. Should I just go in?
[Alisha Marie] Thank you so much for being here. I'm
[Alisha Marie] curious what you think about the term
[Alisha Marie] health and wellness?
[Alisha Marie] It sounds so broad and it means
[Alisha Marie] something completely different to
[Alisha Marie] everyone. What does it
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] necessarily mean to you? For me, what
[Gail Tifford] wellness means is really my
[Gail Tifford] mind, body, and soul kind of all working
[Gail Tifford] together. We've banned the words ‘before’
Gail Tifford] and ‘after’
[Gail Tifford] because we feel like it’s kind of dirty. So
[Gail Tifford] we talk about it as ‘now’ and ‘then.’
[Alisha Marie] For a fitness and health brand to say,
[Alisha Marie] “Hey, you're beautiful no matter what size
[Alisha Marie] you are,” no one's doing that. I love this
[Alisha Marie] wave of body positivity,
[Alisha Marie] of people showing that, and showing
[Alisha Marie] stretch marks, and showing real before
[Alisha Marie] and afters, where
[Alisha Marie] you have your leggings and you pose
[Alisha Marie] like a fitness pose, but then you put
[Alisha Marie] them down and show that. I think
[Alisha Marie] that's what people are missing in the
[Alisha Marie] health and fitness
[Alisha Marie] industry, and I love that you guys are
[Alisha Marie] really tapping into that when not a lot
[Alisha Marie] of other people
[Alisha Marie] are. To see a brand doing it because they
[Alisha Marie] actually believe, that I think speaks
[Alisha Marie] volumes.
[Gail Tifford] We're really focused on, as we talk to
[Gail Tifford] new audiences,
[Gail Tifford] really coming right out to bust those
[Gail Tifford] myths head on.
[Gail Tifford] When I look at your community, they're
[Gail Tifford] rallying around you, but they're also
[Gail Tifford] rallying around
[Gail Tifford] your point of view around health and
[Gail Tifford] wellness.
[Alisha Marie] I think honestly trust is the biggest
[Alisha Marie] thing. I think getting, like you said, a
[Alisha Marie] more diverse audience, you know, people
[Alisha Marie] who are
[Alisha Marie] super into fitness, as well as people who
[Alisha Marie] have never worked out in their life to
[Alisha Marie] show them how
[Alisha Marie] it is for everyone. Again, there's just so
[Alisha Marie] much
[Alisha Marie] noise and so many articles and different
[Alisha Marie] things being thrown at everyone
[Alisha Marie] all the time, so people are just looking
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] for honesty. You talked about trust and
[Gail Tifford] that is
[Gail Tifford] at the core of what our brand is, and I
[Gail Tifford] think it's really important that
[Gail Tifford] in this day and age brands are
[Gail Tifford] transparent. I think the thing about
[Gail Tifford] YouTube and the video format of
[Gail Tifford] storytelling
[Gail Tifford] you can't photoshop videos. That is what
[Gail Tifford] is
[Gail Tifford] so compelling about the platform
[Gail Tifford] is that authenticity and just
[Gail Tifford] you know people really being able to see
[Gail Tifford] you, versus a perfectly photoshopped,
[Gail Tifford & Alisha Marie] you know, edited photo. Thinking back to
[Alisha Marie] the 90s for instance, that would have
[Alisha Marie] been a brand's worst nightmare is
[Alisha Marie] getting video footage of what it's
[Alisha Marie] really like.
[Alisha Marie] However, now it's the complete opposite
[Alisha Marie] and using that to your advantage to show
[Alisha Marie] ‘hey, this is real results.’ Watch this
[Alisha Marie] video, it's not photoshop.
[Gail Tifford] We're learning a lot from our members,
[Gail Tifford] but we're also learning a lot from your
[Gail Tifford] generation
[Gail Tifford] I mean with your subscribers growing, how
[Gail Tifford] do you
[Gail Tifford] use them as a feedback tool? Like are you
[Gail Tifford] constantly
[Gail Tifford] hearing what they have to say and then
[Gail Tifford] using them to generate
[Gail Tifford & Alisha Marie] ideas around content? I've learned so
[Alisha Marie] much from my viewers over the years,
[Alisha Marie] and I think one of the number one things
[Alisha Marie] is that they love being included.
[Alisha Marie] Whether it's using the same hashtag.
[Alisha Marie] Whether it's even you just being active
[Alisha Marie] and liking, or even just asking them ‘hey
[Alisha Marie] guys,
[Alisha Marie] I'm really torn. Which song do you like
[Alisha Marie] better?’ What do you like?
[Alisha Marie] They love that so
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] much. When we were
[Gail Tifford] moving from Weight Watchers to WW, we
[Gail Tifford] actually
[Gail Tifford & Alisha Marie] did the same thing. Oh my god!
[Gail Tifford] We started with our community.
[Alisha Marie] They're the ones who are telling their
[Alisha Marie] friends about me. They're the ones who
[Alisha Marie] are
[Alisha Marie] giving me video ideas and telling me ‘hey,
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] you should do this.’ Overwhelmingly, our
[Gail Tifford] members were like
[Gail Tifford] we think this is so much more than just
[Gail Tifford] weight. This is about,
[Gail Tifford] you know, our overall wellness and it's
[Gail Tifford] about what you put into your body, but
[Gail Tifford] how you move your body, and how your mind
[Gail Tifford] supports that.
[Gail Tifford] What we see happening is that health and
[Gail Tifford] wellness has become a necessity. It's not
[Gail Tifford] a luxury anymore,
[Gail Tifford] and people need to take care of
[Gail Tifford] themselves so that they can take care of
[Gail Tifford] the people around them.
[Alisha Marie] I actually would love to hear your
[Alisha Marie] perspective on
[Alisha Marie] having an app, and what you envision
[Alisha Marie] obviously that app and tool to do
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] with your brand? The brand started out
[Gail Tifford] like a real,
[Gail Tifford] in real life community. And then, when we
[Gail Tifford] launched the app,
[Gail Tifford] because of the fact that those communities are really
[Gail Tifford] in the DNA of the brand,
[Gail Tifford] it was really critical that we create
[Gail Tifford] some sort of community within
[Gail Tifford] the apps, a virtual community. I can imagine
[Gail Tifford] it's pretty similar to
[Gail Tifford] to the community you have with your
[Gail Tifford & Alisha Marie] followers. The number one thing I love so
[Alisha Marie] much
[Alisha Marie] is finding out that fans have become
[Alisha Marie] best friends because of me. Like they met
[Alisha Marie] online because of
[Alisha Marie] my videos, and now they're best friends.
[Alisha Marie] And I can only imagine it being the
[Alisha Marie] exact same way for WW, and I think
[Alisha Marie] that's
[Alisha Marie & Gail Tifford] such an awesome tool. You know it
[Gail Tifford] keeps them going and it
[Gail Tifford] is, you know, you feed off the energy
[Gail Tifford] and the support
[Gail Tifford] of people who are on the exact same
[Gail Tifford] journey with you.
[Alisha Marie] I learned so much today. I think Gail is
[Alisha Marie] such a boss
[Alisha Marie] lady, and I love how transparent she was.
[Alisha Marie] Seeing how she's been able to come
[Alisha Marie] and completely turn a brand around for
[Alisha Marie] the better, and
[Alisha Marie] is just so open and honest with
[Alisha Marie] everything, I'm really excited just
[Alisha Marie] to see where WW goes.
[Gail Tifford] I loved speaking to Alisha today. I love
[Gail Tifford] how she continues
[Gail Tifford] to reinvent herself with her audience
[Gail Tifford] and how they are
[Gail Tifford] so welcoming and appreciating. I can
[Gail Tifford] understand why millions of people
[Gail Tifford] follow her every day, and I think that I
[Gail Tifford] am probably going to be her number one
[Gail Tifford] biggest fan from now on.
[Gail Tifford] Well this is the reason why you heard
[Gail Tifford] all of the noise
[Gail Tifford] in the background so you can thank
[Gail Tifford] Baby Kanga for that.