Meredith Klein joined GNC as director of public relations early in 2022, and she tells Doug Simon that "the idea of being tasked with building the brand through media relations, executive comms, partnerships and sponsorships and LinkedIn and Wikipedia and crisis comms, reputation management was a challenge that I was really excited to undertake."

GNC was founded in 1935 as a health food store, and Klein says that "our mission has stayed the same, but how we deliver on it has certainly transformed in nearly 100 years. Whether it was looking at adapting our curated product assortment or introducing new products and brands, or even looking at how we transformed the shopping experience and really doubling down on the omni channel touch point methodology, we really wanted to focus on helping people meet their goals."

A key strategy for executing that brand transformation is "deploying an always-on PR news bureau. So we are looking at opportunities to tell our story through original company updates or collaborating with reporters and editors."

Klein also says that a big question communicators need to ask is: "What matters most to our consumers and how do we deliver that message in a way that is most connected to their needs and is going to be most closely aligned with where they need that support?"

Another pivotal concept for communicators in the coming year is authenticity. "Whether you're building a corporate brand, a personal brand, you're engaging with people one on one, I think for us, authenticity has to transcend all facets of our organization."

For a legacy brand like GNC, Klein says honoring that legacy should always be prioritized. "We really work to respect and honor that legacy and that heritage of leadership and innovation and forward progress and then coupling that with the modernity of what trends, what products, what brands, what services consumers need to thrive and to live well."

But perhaps the most important thing about a brand's messaging, she tells Simon, is that it "has to be consistent, cohesive and connected. Those allow you to be able to build that continuity in the consumer's mindset and cut through a competitive landscape."

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.