‘A fast game’s a good game’: Q&A with Tony Miller, Marketing Director at WW

Tony Miller, now at WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and previously VP, Digital Marketing & CRM EMEA at Disney, joined us recently at one of our regular BD Sessions where he shared insights and experiences.

Because Tony only joined WW as the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK began, he was uniquely placed to give a perspective on remote working with agencies and team motivation, alongside other advice.  Here we present the questions and Tony’s responses.

Q: How did the arrival of COVID-19 affect your plans at WW?

A: I have had to cut budget in a sizeable way. Before I arrived, 25%  of my budget was already given back to the business. There’s been a lot of issues around what are priorities because the targets have not really changed. We live and die by the sign up to WW programmes, but we are seeing a lot of health and wellness interest under lockdown, so it has been working to our advantage. So, working with a budget cut and targets already confirmed how do I rip apart the plan, change and continue to work at pace? I can say my agencies have been able to rise to occasion and be flexible.

Q: What have you asked of your agencies and how have they responded?

A:  Things have had to be cut out and siloed teams built around a strategy have had to change. We have been able to tap into teams and resources that were not part of the contract. Agencies were able to tap into our need and swap things in and out. They understand the pressures we are under as a brand to deliver.

Q: How has the working process changed?

A:  “A fast game’s a good game is one of my favourite sayings. We are looking at smart ways to cut process down and approve things quickly. There’s no time go away, have workshops and strategise – I am interested in true collaboration and the ability to cut down meetings, internal reviews and draft after draft. I am saying involve me and my team in those conversations you’re having as an agency so we can get to creative solution quicker together. The new normal is how to become one team and I expect us to come up with solution together.

Q: What are your tips for keeping the team motivated and cohesive while working remotely?

A: I had to meet my teams and agencies virtually when I joined, and everyone has had to try to get their personality and character across via Zoom. That’s no mean feat. It has been a challenge just to get to understand and know people and how read them, their personality and intent.

In terms of working practices, it has been an evolution over past nine weeks. We have Zoom etiquette – if it was an hour meeting it now needs to be 45 minutes,  so people have 15 mins to do whatever they need to do before their next meeting.  Everyone has to have their video on, so they are included in the conversation and we have ‘No Zoom Thursday mornings’ so 9am -1 pm is just desk time.

We all work flexible work hours and are a big supporter of flexibility. If you need to work in the evening you can do that or at random hours and random days, as long as your line manager knows how you are getting work done.

Q: Having come through the initial stages of lockdown, is business pretty much back to operating as ‘normal’, albeit virtually?

A: A big portion of our business is the physical workshop and those are set to roll back out from July 5th, we plan to open a third of our physical workshops in a condensed way. I am encouraged that this will be resuming but I do not think it will be back to business like we once knew – it will be a new version.