Kate Hudson has always been a health and fitness enthusiast, and now the actress can add another role to her already-crowded resume: ambassador for WW, the wellness program formerly known as Weight Watchers. One reason she decided to partner with the wellness company is its focus on community: “I grew up understanding about being active, about being healthy, that was just how I was raised. A lot of people aren’t, and they don’t have that kind of support, and we need to create communities where people can feel that kind of support, and that’s what WW does.”
Unknowingly, Hudson has zeroed in on one of the key takeaways from the Theory of Jobs to Be Done: everything people consciously choose to do (including doing nothing), they do to make progress according to their own priorities, in a particular set of circumstances. This desired progress a “job,” and it motivates individuals to “hire” solutions that address that job.
The theory further reveals that when hiring a potential solution we don’t just consider its performance; we also consider its ability to meet social and emotional needs. So successful wellness programs won’t just focus on functional goals like weight loss or fitness gains; they might also incorporate a charitable component into their business model so customers feel good about their purchase, or create and facilitate a sense of community, as Hudson points to.
Is this insight from Jobs Theory the key to WW’s success? As my colleague Rebecca Fogg wrote in an earlier blog, the wellness company actively looks for ways to enhance its program by addressing all three elements of members’ Jobs to Be Done—functional, emotional, and social.
The popular weight loss company understands that today’s consumers don’t just want to shed excess pounds. They want to shed poor self-esteem and body image, and gain the skills, habits, and attitudes they need to live a happier life. In the company’s terms, they seek progress “beyond the scale,” and WW innovators are constantly on the hunt for new ways to help them achieve it through healthier eating, exercise, positive behavior change, and group support.
To “meet consumers where they are,” as Gary Foster, WW’s chief scientific officer, puts it, program enhancements often begin with wellness trends that are already capturing consumers’ imagination and engagement, such as mindfulness, or fitness trackers. One of their program enhancements—an Apple Watch combined with subscription to WW OnlinePlus, the company’s online-only program—suggests attention in the innovation process to all components of members’ Jobs to Be Done.
From a functional standpoint, the watch gives members a convenient and engaging new channel through which to manage the program, reducing the friction costs of adherence. It can send motivational text messages rooted in behavior change science, giving members timely, tailored emotional support in their quest. And the subscription aims to nail the social aspects of members’ jobs by enabling access to the robust online member community and chat coaching on the WW app.
WW provides a powerful example for other innovators in healthcare that innovation must begin by helping consumers make progress as they define it. By addressing barriers to adoption, coming up with creative ways to meet consumers’ functional, social, and emotional needs, and recognizing people as the unique individuals they are, innovators can design health and wellness programs that consumers will readily embrace.