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Two weeks, $1 million prize and only one winner – Spartan Race

Two weeks, $1 million prize and only one winner – Spartan Race

Last weekend, the number one obstacle course racer in the world Jonathan Albon had an opportunity to win a $1 million. At the start of the year, Spartan Founder Joe De Sena vowed to give $1 million to any athlete who won all three Spartan World Championship Races – dubbed the “Million Dollar Trifecta”.

Jonathan Albon Spartan Race

The Spartan race is a series of obstacle races of varying distances and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. Jonathan Albon is an all-round athlete who competes in both obstacle course racing and skyrunning; currently the undefeated OCR world champion, skyrunning world champion and winner of both the 2016 & 2017 skyrunning extreme series.

Jonathan was set the challenge to win the jackpot of $1 million if he were to win the third and final event of the series – a 24-hour Ultra World Championship in Iceland. It wasn’t as simple as just completing it, he would only win the prize if he were to complete the 100-mile race within the 24-hour time limit set for the course.

Spartan Race Iceland

Raising their profile

Spartan approached The PHA Group to help raise the profile of the Ultra World Championships in Iceland, by utilising Jonathan’s participation. Jonathan is probably the UK’s most unknown world number one and PHA were set the challenge of ensuring everyone knew who he was.

The deadline was set for just two weeks…

The team set to work and focused their efforts on putting together a communication strategy that would raise Jonathan’s profile, increase coverage about the Ultra World Championships and all in a very tight timeline. Their ability to turn something around quickly and their extensive media relations experience and a large network of key sport and fitness journalists ensured great results with coverage across a wide range of publications and networks.

Tom Inskip, Sport & Fitness Senior Account Director said “We have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to working with mass participation events such as Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, Total Warrior and Mo Running. We also have a fantastic track record of championing athletes who don’t have the profiles they deserve. With this combined experience and contacts book, we were able to turn around and deliver quality coverage in a matter of days”

The results

Our experienced PR team managed to place 18 news stories around the event on major outlets including BBC Sportsday, Telegraph Online, BBC online, Mail Online, Sports Bible, Runner’s WorldThe I, Square Mile and Talk Sport. As well as a five-page feature on the event due to be published on December 29th in Saturday Times Magazine.

Unfortunately, Jonathan didn’t manage the feat, but it made for a fantastic story and an incredible achievement nonetheless to participate and be in for a chance to take the top spot.

Interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your mass participation event? Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to find out how we can support your event.

Dominating the market: Fitbit

Whatever the industry, brands will continue to battle it out for top spot until the end of time. It’s rare that we see a brand blow away its competitors for a sustained period and completely monopolize the industry in the process but that is exactly what global tech giant Fitbit did.

In less than a decade Fitbit went from being a hopeful startup that almost died seven times in the initial stages according to CEO James Park, to a tech powerhouse worth over $4 billion.

So how exactly did Fitbit dominate the wearables industry? We take a look at the strategies that turned the once-faltering startup into one of the most recognisable global brands on the market.

Product development

Fitbit decided to incorporate a process that saw them strive for improvement rather than perfection on all their products. There’s been a constant stream of new gadgets released ever since the very first Fitbit model launched at the end of 2009. The Ultra followed soon after in 2011, which included an altimeter, digital clock and stopwatch feature. The following year, Fitbit launched the One & Zip which were the first fitness trackers to be completely wireless.

In total, Fitbit have produced 18 different fitness trackers in just nine years, what makes it even more impressive is in 2015 they didn’t launch anything and still sold 18 million fitness trackers.

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Today is no ordinary Monday. Make the most of this Fitbit sale with up to $70 OFF—major discount-snagging endorphins coming your way. Ends tonight! Link in bio.

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Explaining the data

Over the years Fitbit’s sleek desktop dashboard has helped to provide consumers with an extra level of reassurance and knowledge to their workouts. Before Fitbit was around, there was very limited information available to consumers regarding their heartbeat and fitness levels, calories burnt during exercise, optimum points of the day when they have burnt the most calories all whilst tracking your daily steps. Fitbit empowered people to take ownership of their exercise.

This was a key strategy for the wearables brand and helped to cement Fitbit’s position as a giant in the fit-tech industry. By creating and building an environment where friends and family could compete against each other this let to an influx of fitness communities all around the globe. It became part of people’s fitness regime and the communities began to share and engage with each other over their results.

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A little sibling rivalry goes a long way to hitting those step goals. #NationalSiblingsDay

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Tactical partnerships

Fitbit took the decision to partner up with leading fitness and wellness businesses, realising that challenger brands in the industry could strengthen their position in the market. Fitbit could begin to target a larger demographic they wouldn’t have been able to reach.

They teamed up with Habit the world’s first complete personalised nutrition solution. Habit use Fitbit data to create tailored food recommendations and nutrition plans for consumers.

Another partnership was formed with Peloton, a company that makes peddling at home so realistic you’d think you were taking part in the Tour De France. The use of Fitbit data enabled Peloton customers to monitor their improvement and progress all in one app.

Fitbit’s data partnerships have resulted in a 37% growth of their active user community grew.

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Fitbit has partnered with three leading brands in the #health and #fitness market – VirZOOM, Peloton and Habit – to make it even easier for users to reach their personal fitness and #wellness goals!  #nutrition

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Branching out

Park realised they had to revamp the brand and find a new revenue away from the tough consumer market if they wanted to continue their growth, it was decided corporate wellness was the answer. Fitbit Care was designed to promote wellness, and improve disease management and prevention through health coaching, digital interventions and personalised care plans.

Health care costs pose a challenge to employers, so a platform that could help employees with conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease could turn out to be a great success for Fitbit.

The Fitbit Care launched in September, so it will be interesting to see if Fitbit’s latest move can help continue their success.

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The weekend is almost in sight, but it's important to look after yourself throughout the week too. Find the time to kick back and relax with some meditation using the Relax feature on your Fitbit. #SelfCare

A post shared by Fitbit UK & Ireland (@fitbituk_ireland) on

If you would like to find out more about our sport and fitness public relations services, or how we worked with some of the UK’s top sporting brands speak to a member of our team today.

Promoting your healthtech product

Over the past decade, the notion that health and technology doesn’t mix has been widely challenged. Healthtech is now a booming industry, set to continue its rapid expansion due to our ageing population. In fact, research by Deloitte has shown the UK market for digital health is expected to grow to almost £3bn this year alone.

With healthtech on the rise, a key aim for us at PHA has been helping our clients get in front of the right audience – be it care homes, hospitals, or everyday consumers.

One of our key clients in the healthtech space is Shift8*, the company bringing the Tovertafel™, or ‘The Magic Table™’ as it is commonly known, to the UK and Ireland. Tovertafel™ is a series of award-winning games from the Netherlands, aimed at those living with mid-to-late stage dementia. Working in tandem with Tovertafel™’s business goals, we devised a PR strategy which would ensure the product was at the forefront of healthtech debates, and ultimately, in front of the right audience.

Personal story

Working with the co-founder, John Ramsay, who had left his career at a corporate law firm to pursue this social enterprise, we were able to share his story across the mainstream press, using his personal story as a way to hook in key audiences and raise awareness of the amazing work they are doing.

healthtech - How to promote your tech gadget

Hijacking the news

Using key awareness dates, such as World Alzheimer’s Day in September, we hijacked the news agenda, raising awareness of the Tovertafel™ technology and putting its impact at the forefront of media conversations.

Hijacking the news Using key awareness dates, such as World Alzheimer’s Day in September, we hijacked the news agenda, raising awareness of the Tovertafel™ technology and putting its impact at the forefront of media conversations. Hijacking the news Using key awareness dates, such as World Alzheimer’s Day in September, we hijacked the news agenda, raising awareness of the Tovertafel™ technology and putting its impact at the forefront of media conversations.

The impact of visuals

As Tovertafel™ is an extremely visual product, we wanted to showcase this through the coverage we secured. We worked with the team to secure a bank of photography to ensure our coverage was bringing this to life.

Promoting your healthtech product Promoting your healthtech product

Media engagement

Inviting key journalists along to see the technology in action was also a key strand of activity, particularly as it is such a visual product, and one which sparks an emotional reaction for both the users and those who witness it in action.

Promoting your healthtech product Promoting your healthtech product

In almost a year, we’ve secured 65 pieces of coverage in the national, regional and trade press. Top national coverage included filming opportunities with BBC News, Sky News and London Live, as well as articles featured in The Daily Mail, The Spectator, HuffPost and GQ. A few pieces of top trade coverage included Saga, Care and Nursing Essentials and Retirement Matters.


Interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your healthtech product or service? Speak to a member of our award-winning technology team today.

The race is on and FitTech is already strides ahead of the competition

In today’s society, sport has arguably become more important to national pride and goodwill than anything else.

The feeling of euphoria across England while the football team excelled during this summer’s World Cup in Russia was reminiscent of London in 2012 during the Olympic Games. An atmosphere not matched by any political vote, business success or new reality show heartthrob…

With as much influence as our sporting prowess processes, it is unsurprising that the pressures on the athletes are increasing, striving for that extra half a per cent, which often is the difference between wholescale success and failure.

This increased focus in the past decade has coincided with the dramatic surge in technology innovation and investment. Over 1,000 apps are launched every day across the world, with even more gadgets and the next “must have” items flying off the shelves.

We at The PHA Group see first-hand the sheer amount of incredible tech developments and their new applications being produced by businesses across the globe. From PropTech to MedTech, a new dawn is upon us, FitTech.

It’s natural that the worlds of sport & fitness and technology have crossed paths to create the landscape we see today where innovation dramatically influences the way we watch, play, train and enjoy sport, with developments such as goal-line technology creating both front and back-page news.

From wearable tracking devices (leading brands include Garmin and Fitbit), personal-trainer-in-your-pocket apps (LDN Muscle & Madbarz are two of our favourites) to revolutionary injury prevention and curing accessories (Normatec & HyperIce’s Vyper 2 are both well worth checking out for those aches and pains), these gadgets and many others can dramatically affect the way we live our sport and fitness lives.

Each creation has the ability to give someone that little extra they need to achieve a new goal – whether it’s starting to exercise once a week, completing your eighth Ironman Triathlon or winning that first Olympic Gold; the insight and expertise provided by combining the great minds of fitness pioneers with technology developers can, has and will continue to transform the fitness landscape for the better.

With so many new tools and devices across each discipline, it is important that your brand receives the right media awareness and visibility it deserves. We are experts in putting your product or service in front of the right audience through a consistent and quality media campaign to help achieve your aims of helping athletes achieve theirs.

How to maintain your membership drive past January

One of the most popular New Year resolutions is to exercise more, which means gyms and fitness classes often see a spike in membership sales throughout January. But often by March these numbers decrease, with members deciding to cancel their fitness dreams, leaving business owners pondering the same question they were last year ‘How can we keep our members long-term’.

For many fitness centres maintaining a membership drive consistently throughout the year can be a challenge. With some strategic planning, the right tools, and a continued approach to member engagement the revenue inconsistency can become less of an issue.

Reach out

Are you contacting and keeping your customers updated with the latest news about the gym especially when New Year resolution gym enthusiasm begins to drop off? LA Fitness needed a new way to keep their members’ attendance up and previous methods of calling weren’t cutting it. They decided to create an email marketing campaign which targeted people whose memberships were close to expiring. LA Fitness created a friendly offer-based email, with a clear and simple message linking to the renewals page of the site. The results, LA Fitness received a significant boost in open rates from 20% to 33% and upped their renewals.

Gather and monitor member reviews

According to an article published by The Drum, as much as 93% of consumers let online reviews impact purchasing decisions. This can have an effect on sales and will inform prospective members about your gym’s services, staff, facility and culture when they’re searching for a new gym to join. Reviews don’t only build trust, but they also play a major role in SEO performance, which is how Google calculates where you sit on the search engine. Brands have begun to use trusted independent review platforms such as Feefo, which allows consumers the opportunity to give a more authentic review, meaning that as a business you can judge far better what your members are happy and unhappy with.

Member challenges

Think about offering individuals or group challenges to your members. Not only will you be motivating them to exercise, but you’ll be encouraging them to engage with other members at the same time. Pure Gym challenged its members in May l, to find out who could do the most repetitions of three bodyweight exercises in just 30 seconds. The winners from each gym received a free month gym membership.

5 Tips for your TV appearance

  • Availability

News breaks out of nowhere and you are the guest booker for a show that goes on air in four hours. Your boss and executive producer have given you only a couple of hours to find the perfect expert and analyst to fill five minutes of airtime. You look at the list of “Go-To” guests you usually have on but all of them are travelling for work, skiing in Zermatt or at their daughter’s 18th birthday party. All you want is a solution and the perfect person who is happy to come in at 9 pm on a Friday. If you are the analyst or expert who can be called on at short notice to hop in a car to the studio, the producers will love you and the more appearances you can make the more positive PR for you and your company. 

  • Presentation

Are you TV ready? Being available and making it to the studio is half the battle but looking good when you go on air is the other half. Everyone wants to look and sound their best when they go on television so try and take pride in your appearance and have a tie, suit jacket or a dress in the office ready. Under the harsh studio lights and on the glossy set, it is always best to try and over-dress to mirror the anchor asking the questions who will be dressed to the nines. Oh, and don’t forget a blow-dry and make-up are always a good idea on arrival! 

  • Messaging

If you can get your foot in the door for that TV appearance and manage to lock in a prime-time studio interview, you have a brilliant platform to get your key messages across for your business. What brand messages do you want to communicate to the audience? Who is your audience? What can you say to get prospective clients and customers to pick up the phone or send that initial enquiry email? Going into a TV studio knowing what you want to say and who it is directed at is key.

  •  Avoid interview traps

We all know a car-crash TV appearance when we see one. Whether the guest doesn’t look relaxed, is not appropriately read in on the subject or simply comes across as rude, there are ways of making sure this doesn’t happen. Each interviewer will want the guest to put their best foot forward and deliver an engaging and interesting on-camera interview. The worst scenario for the anchor is to have a guest who doesn’t want to be there and must fill the airtime on their own.

  • Trust

It may not seem it from the output, but TV is a team game. From the anchor, to the producer running the show from the control room, to the guest booker setting up the interviews, the cameramen, the directors and the make-up artists, each person must do their job to make sure a show goes to air without fault. As a guest, you have to trust in those around you to do their jobs and of course your communications pros to brief you beforehand. If each cog turns as it is meant to, you will have an appearance that could move the bottom line!

Interested in hearing how you can improve getting your key messages across and dealing with those tricky questions? Speak to a member of our award-winning media training team today to find out how we can support you.

How to promote your sporting event

At The PHA Group, we specialise in providing PR support for multiple mass participation events.

Most recently we have worked with a number of brands including UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) – the world’s largest and highest mixed martial arts promotion, as well as successfully launching the endurance event ToughMudder to the UK, and for the last four years, we have worked closely with the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

The 11th edition of the Royal Parks Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 14 October where we will see 16,000 runners go through four of London’s eight Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

It is still the only race of its kind that takes place in the major parks of central London, and whilst there have been some small changes to the route over the years, the race continues to celebrate London’s most iconic green landscapes.

In order to create as much noise as possible ahead of the event, and to ensure The Royal Parks Half Marathon is continually positioned as one of the most iconic events in London, we have worked tirelessly to deliver a successful communications campaign over the last four years. We’ve regularly delivered over 200 pieces of coverage around the race and employed excellent tactics to achieve our client’s objectives.

This year we have achieved over 80 pieces of coverage alone in outlets such as the Evening Standard, Women’s Health, Daily Express, Metro and

Working with charity partners
The Royal Parks Half has remained focused on its charitable aims which is a credit too much of its success with their many charity partnerships. The race has now raised in excess of £36 million since 2008 for its participating charities. Working closely with the races charity partners, we have been very successful at placing runner case studies of individuals who are taking part in the event to raise money for their respective charities. Last year, we placed 40+ case studies for charities including GOSH, Cancer Research UK, Mind, and MacMillan. Helping to increase their fundraising efforts.

royal parks charityroyal parks charity 2royal parks charity 3

Maximising sponsorship opportunities
The Royal Parks Half Marathon work has different sponsors each year and we work closely with them to maximise coverage around the race. Whether that’s inviting journalists to do a gait analysis at Runners Need, to placing expert comment from coaches at TruBe, to announcing corporate sponsorship deals with Royal Bank of Canada, our campaigns always maximise opportunities.

Engaging with celebrities
Over the course of the last four years, we’ve had a number of celebrities take part in the race including TV personality Ben Fogle, Olympian Rebecca Adlington, actor Adam Woodyatt, radio presenter and DJ Chris Evans and TV presenters Jenni Falconer, Emily Maitlis and Jo Whiley.

Royal Parks - Mail online celeb

Media engagement
Every year we have secured attendance from at least 30+ journalists including London Evening Standard, Mail Online, Daily Express, Mirror Online, Metro, ITV London, The Telegraph, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Health and Women’s Fitness have all taken part in the event in the last few years.

Mail Online - Royal ParksEvening Standard - Royal ParksRoyal Parks - ITV News

We pride ourselves on delivering impactful, measurable campaigns for our clients and don’t stop working until the job is done. As a team, we are hugely passionate about sport and fitness and love what we do. You can expect that enthusiasm to shine through in every aspect of our work.

Interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your mass participation event? Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to find out how we can support your event.

Weight loss: Surfing on the digital wave

As the obesity problem grows, so too does the weight loss market. From protein shakes and snacks to fitness regimes, weight loss retreats and calorie counting, the choices are endless. The industry has seen huge changes in recent years and there is now a multitude of choice for people wanting to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Changes don’t just include the diet itself, it’s also about the way companies can advertise their products and the channels they’re using. Brands now have to take into consideration an important target market, Millennials. An audience who is far more demanding and harder to capture and it’s not just about the before/after imagery anymore.

We look at some of the digital tools that will help your brand stand out.


You might have noticed that food videos on Youtube are very popular. Take Tasty for example, Buzzfeed’s popular cooking brand, who deliver both comforting and healthy weeknight dinners for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans alike. The videos are short and very easy to reproduce at home, with 10 million subscribers, and an average of 1M views per video. As a brand, it’s important to use channels and influencers to make sure you are recognised by a wider audience. Why not try and create some short and easy food recipe videos as well to showcase your products and give people some meal-spiration?

If you don’t know how to produce videos yourself, you can always partner with a YouTube influencer to show how to use your products. Take for example Joe Wicks, the famous Body Coach, who works with famous chefs to create some healthy foods or showcase his healthy snacks using different brands. Partnering with influencers like Joe, will help promote your products and show that healthy Gurus trust your brand.

Thought Leadership

There are some amazing opportunities to get an opinion out there across print and online media – from long-form bylines that give you the freedom to discuss your thoughts in detail, to short and snappy letters to editors that we can turn around within hours. The key thing to remember is to offer something interesting and authentic – grounded in your experience – and it must be relevant.

Before you begin producing content ask yourself these questions: who’s your target audience? What’s your place within the market? And where does your company’s skills sit? Once you answer all of these  questions, you will be able to start your campaign. Your thought leadership content could then be hosted on your website if you have a blog section, as well as LinkedIn using their blog platform, LinkedIn Pulse.


Think about where your audience is and don’t be scared to try things that you’ve never done before. Podcasts can be a great way to approach those interested in wellness and weight loss as well as food. From creating your own podcast about wellness or diets to becoming a guest on a specialised show – the choice is all yours.

Remember this form of content is attracting a great audience. Be true to yourself. A podcast will help drive loyalty as it communicates how passionate you and the brand is. Podcasts are all about learning, it might take you a while to get it right. Don’t be scared to try new things, it isn’t a polished medium, but it is a truthful one and people really engage with that spontaneous feeling.

There are plenty of weight loss podcasts around, but a great example is “Smile there’s food” interviewed a Slimming World member called Emma. In this podcast you can hear about her reasons for joining Slimming World and how it’s helped her self-confidence. She also gives tips, recipes and how you too can become motivated to eat healthily. A great example of how brands can use podcasts to get a little bit of fame. Having some real feedback from someone could help people take the plunge and decide to join a program or start living a healthier life.


With 200 million monthly users, Pinterest may not be a social media behemoth like Facebook, but it’s an important social platform with deep penetration in valuable demographics. Half of U.S. millennials use Pinterest, for instance. Behind those snazzy pics are everything including killer healthy recipes, fitness tips, motivational quotes, and workout ideas. All you need to do is create eye-catching assets such as infographics, food photos or short videos to get people to save your pin and visit your website to learn more. Pinterest has proven very efficient in converting people. Below are some examples that we think work well:

Deli snack box

Using attractive visuals as well as ingredients lists is a great way to show how to easily get your snack box ready in just one image.

Diet tips

Mixing simple tips and catchy designs.

Healthy tips

Food tips, using good looking food as well as interesting content will make you ready to click on the link to know more

An important thing to remember is to always make sure the mediums you’re using are aligned with your strategy. Make sure you create some interesting content to help promote your brand and its values

Do you need help building your PR strategy? Make sure you get in touch with our team of experts who will be happy to discuss your strategy further

Maximising your media moment

As chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward had one of the highest-profile jobs in British business, but he took a low-key approach to media relations. One of his first live TV interviews came in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in which 11 of his employees lost their lives. “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do, I’d like my life back,” he said. Hayward’s reputation never recovered from that disastrous slip of the tongue. He lost his credibility and, ultimately, his job.

Media training is essential for all business leaders – no matter the size of their business. It can take a lifetime to build a reputation, but it can be destroyed in a heartbeat.

A common mistake too many companies make is thinking that the right time for media training is when they are already in crisis mode; in fact, that is the worst possible environment in which to prepare. The real value of media training comes from the lessons it instils when it’s business as usual; don’t think of it as a short-term fix.

When I was Business Editor of the Daily Telegraph and chaired the National Business Awards judging panel, there was a lively debate about the qualities required to win the Leader of The Year award. “No matter how experienced or intelligent a leader is, if they cannot communicate they cannot successfully lead,” said one panelist. “Business leaders are expected to use words to defend and advance with all of the vigour and skill of a General,” said another.

Media training teaches you not only how to deliver your message effectively, but also what you are trying to communicate. The latter is as important as the former. You can’t expect to influence the court of public opinion, if you can’t articulate your company’s guiding principles. That may sound obvious, but it’s striking how many business leaders cannot explain the essence of their business in a three-minute interview.

As a former journalist, who spent 25 years on national newspapers, it never fails to surprise me how many businesses are suspicious of the media or simply don’t understand how journalists operate.

So, the first objective of media training should be to bridge this knowledge gap – to explain what journalists want from you; what makes a good story; what are the rules of engagement. For example, what does off-the-record really mean? What are the pitfalls to avoid – and how can you use it your advantage?

There is also important technical information to convey:

  • How to handle the different broadcast interview formats: live studio interviews; live ‘down the line’ interviews; live Skype interviews; pre-recorded interviews
  • How to use body language to communicate effectively
  • How to master the pitch of your voice and pace of delivery
  • How to dress for an interview

Whether you are running a business and likely to be its public face, or are trying to become a go-to media pundit to raise your company’s profile, you need to know the right tactics to use:

  • How to deliver messages succinctly in an interview that is likely to last less than 300 seconds
  • How to reach the audiences that matter to you most
  • How to provide the evidence for your messages to make them credible, authentic and memorable
  • How to avoid being derailed by difficult, or unexpected, questions so you can still communicate your key messages on your own terms

But the final part of the jigsaw is the one that is most often overlooked: what are you trying to say? Good media training is not just about the techniques you need to master – important though they are. A good media trainer puts just as much emphasis on the substance of your messages.

Living and breathing every aspect of your business seven days a week means you know it inside out, but sometimes you can be too close to be dispassionate. What seems important to you might not resonate with a wider audience. Or the things you take for granted might need to be explained afresh. What colour, anecdotes and examples do you have to bring your messages to life?

Media training is a collaborative process which not only gives you the confidence to engage with the media on your own terms, but also gives you a new perspective on your business as viewed from the outside.

From weight loss to wellness: The Weight Watchers rebrand

How to present your company, and your communications is crucial. Nowadays, being healthy is more than just how much you weigh. It’s a way of life, and we’re beginning to see more and more companies embracing this idea.

People are far more concerned about what they feel like, what they’re eating, where they’re exercising and what kind of exercise they’re doing than ever before. Arguably, this comes hand in hand with the rise of social media, people’s lives being more publicly accessible where we feel obliged to show everyone what we’re up to. Influencers also play a huge role in people’s desires to lead a healthy active lifestyle.

According to a survey by Havas in 2017, 75% of consumers expect brands to make more of a contribution to our wellbeing and quality of life, yet only 40% believe brands are doing so.

Subsequently, perhaps it comes as no surprise that brands are beginning to adopt this focus. Look at Weight Watchers for example, who last week, announced a massive rebrand to swap their weight loss image for a wellness image.

The brand is now called ‘WW’ with the strapline “Wellness that Works”. WW said it will now focus on a new programme called Wellness Wins which rewards members for “small, everyday behaviours” that lead to healthier habits. They’re partnering with Headspace, a mindfulness app, to provide personalised programmes for WW members. They will also start offering members more food products containing no artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours or preservatives.

Another key aspect of WW’s rebrand is the incorporation of technology which is vital to broaden the audience they attract. As well as partnering with Headspace, they’re also looking to refresh their own app in the next month, which will use voice integration giving members the ability to check the nutritional value of their food and track their progress. This element of the rebrand is an excellent way to attract a new demographic to the brand, as it makes it both more manageable and accessible.

On the flip side yes, this is a good way to encourage women away from the brutal bikini diets, however, what is wrong with people just wanting to lose weight? Helen Sorrell, BBC Radio 4 journalist and former Weight Watchers member, rightly pointed out that “people don’t go to Weight Watchers because they want to feel well, they go because they want to lose weight.”

We’re becoming a society who won’t openly speak about dieting because we’re worried about the effect it’s going to have on people. Where magazine covers used to be about how to ‘lose a stone in 6 weeks’, cover lines about dwindling dress sizes are now starting to seem outdated. However, to put it bluntly, diet may have become a very negative word, but it’s one that, because of our increasing obesity levels, we can’t really afford to ignore.

The new name ‘WW’ has been mocked, with one post noticing that the title is made up of the words “double you”. Mindy Grossman (CEO) has also been criticised for not being able to explain what the letters stood for, instead they were simply a “marque” that represents their heritage, history and their future.

The bottom line is, what wellness influencers are talking about on their social media pages, means the same thing as what Weight Watchers and other slimming groups talk about; watching what you eat and exercising.

Whilst many people may take some time to adjust to WW’s rebrand, at the end of the day, they still stand for the same principles, they’re simply extending their services to enable a wider audience to get involved. Grossman wants to make it clear that “No matter what your goal is – to lose weight, eat healthier, move more, develop a positive mindset, or all of the above – we will deliver science-based solutions that fit into people’s lives”. The rebrand is ultimately an attempt to broaden the appeal of the company beyond its traditional 35-plus female representative and present itself as a “technology experience” for millennials. A campaign focusing on their social media activity and social pages with a community feel.

If your company is looking to rebrand and would like PR or creative insight advice, please get in touch today.