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358: Revitalizing a Heritage Brand and Climbing the Career Jungle Gym with Amanda Tolleson, CMO at WeightWatchers

Amanda Tolleson, CMO at WeightWatchers

In this episode, Alan and Amanda discuss Amanda’s path to WeightWatchers, how she’s working to revitalize a well-known heritage brand by tapping into the roots of the founder, Jean Nidetch, and what she is doing to bring new marketing ideas to life. Amanda tells us her three big focuses at WeightWatchers are rethinking the organizational structure and culture, making data-driven decisions to increase performance, and honing in on their new brand strategy. Amanda also talks about the depth of understanding WeightWatchers has of their target demographic, and Alan learns that he is a Life Craver.

Amanda Tolleson is the Chief Marketing Officer of WeightWatchers, where she is responsible for leading the company’s global marketing strategy across performance marketing, branding, and creative. Amanda has over 20 years of experience building customer-centric, purpose-driven brands focused on creating unique value for the consumer. Amanda used to say she never wanted to be a CMO because she loved being able to focus exclusively on brand and market strategy. Still, as she tells us, Amanda thrives most when she is ten steps outside of her comfort zone, so Amanda threw her name in the ring for CMO at Birtchbox, landed the job, found out she loved the position, and then went on to be CMO of Maisonette before ending up at WeightWatchers. Now, she is using her experience and love of risks and big changes to shepherd a 60-year-old brand through a startup-paced transformation.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why your target audience has to be realistic
  • How Amanda is taking risks to refresh a 60-year-old brand
  • What WeightWatchers is planning for the future

Key Highlights 

  • [01:40] Remembering a runaway racehorse ride
  • [04:45] Climbing the career ladder jungle gym
  • [11:30] Amanda’s three main focuses at WeightWatchers
  • [15:20] Who are the Weight Watchers?
  • [16:30] Jean Nidetch created a movement that became a company 
  • [17:30] Who is the Life Craver?
  • [21:00] Your target demo needs to be a real type of person we all know
  • [22:45] Connecting through counterintuitive messaging, partnerships, and content creators
  • [29:10] The costs and benefits of being a well-known brand
  • [31:00] The benefits of staying in your lane and focusing on a narrow target audience 
  • [33:20] What’s next for WeightWatchers?
  • [37:00] The Duck ComposureTM Amanda gained from an early cancer diagnosis
  • [39:00] Stick with the journaling
  • [40:00] the challenge of fostering creativity within the flat hierarchy of ideas in the digital world
  • [41:15] Brands to watch 
  • [42:30] Marketing leaders should work to establish the value of independent board members 

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