Groups do not start movements. People start movements. One would be hard pressed to disagree that Al Gore helped start a better debate about climate change, or that Steve Jobs revolutionized how technology should work for people. Jon Stewart helped a younger generation care more about the events happening around them.
Now Oprah, already a worldwide icon, is making moves in the diet industry. It was announced earlier in 2015 that Oprah bought 10% of Weight Watchers and was given a spot on its board of directors. First, the move alone provides a massive boost of credibility for Weight Watchers, which, according to USA Today, was struggling the past couple of years. Having tangible testimony by someone like Oprah is no mere action.
But Oprah took it another step.
Oprah created a video that highlighted her well-known trouble with weight and asked women who are also struggling to "join her on her journey."
Why I joined Weight Watchers. Come Join Me. Let's do this together. https://t.co/jUgpk9ToXY https://t.co/4DQvzMh23R
After that video was launched and shared across platforms and media, Weight Watchers saw its share price rise over 27%, getting the price to one of its highest of the year. USA Today reports that since Oprah has invested, WW's stock has been up an impressive 239.5 percent.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) December 29, 2015
How did Weight Watchers strike gold by landing Oprah? Did they woo her with gifts and rhetoric? Did they woo first her influencers? No. Weight Watchers provided a product that has worked for her, and since they knew she believed in the product, they got a very powerful influencer to throw her support behind them.
If that's not the goal for engagement, we're not sure what is.
The world has only so many Oprahs, so using this example as a benchmark would be unrealistic for many brands. However, brands and agencies can apply the concept of getting key influencers more than involved in the branding and messaging of the brand. We've seen some examples, like Dr. Dre and Beats, or when Michael Jordan and Nike put together Jumpman 23. Again, these examples are brands that were able to attract figures larger than life.
Using this formula can definitely win over skeptics and groups who are looking to be led.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.