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Apps Win in the Battle of the Bulge
By: Janet Kalandranis
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This is 2013. It’s full of social media, online integration, and digital applications. And many of these options are free. Access to information and insight for customers without having to pay a price. It feeds into the DIY mentality that has been on the rise in recent years. With an abundance of information available, customers can take charge of a project, a lifestyle, a change without paying a long-standing brand to help. Great for customers; not so great for brands that provide more than content and ask people to pay for their expertise. Sure, it’s a small price and it’s always better to go with the expert, but the DIY-craze is making “free” sound not only good, but making it doable. Experts are now replaced with digital content and viral ideas making some brands less relevant than years past. Remember the weight-loss craze that proved success for brands such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig? Well, today these weight-loss superstars are fighting to see that same success — and apps have a whole lot to do with that.

Starting with some facts, Americans are still overweight. It’s not like all of a sudden everyone figured out how to lose weight so certain brands became unnecessary. Instead these brands are offering, at a cost, a service that many customers are finding they no longer need. With access to a multitude of free content and a variety of free apps there’s no need to go with a brand that charges a fee. So what seemed so useful and helpful a few short years ago now seems irrelevant. And customers understand that these brands offer different options, more customized content, and access to tools and resources, but it seems they don’t care. Customers would rather take the DIY approach and manage their own weight loss than have to shell out dollars to a brand to help them do so.

What’s the answer? Should weight-loss brands start offering free resources to get customers in through that exploration phase? Or maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the way weight-loss brands have been structured in the past. With customers wanting control and lower costs, what are the options to make this type of model successful for weight-loss brands? One thing is certain; there is still a need for weight-loss brands but just in a new light. Customers want more control, more accessibility, and don’t want to feel like they are trapped in a program or option. The question now is which brand will be flexible enough to make this change and prove to be beneficial to customers while also adding dollars to the brand's waistline.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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