Weighing in on Wellness

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January is the time of resolutions, many of which are fitness based – unfortunately for routine gym goers. This past week I circled several times to find a parking spot at a normally low-volume hour, only to find that my regular spin class (that I had only once seen at half capacity) was full.

According to market research agency Hall and Partners, we are living in the most health-engaged era there has ever been. Consumers are more engaged, better educated, and more empowered to make smarter decisions to make their health a priority. Research by Deep Focus reports that Millennials spend nearly a quarter of their disposable income on Health and Wellness categories. Companies have certainly been able to capitalize on this – the Wellness industry broke $4.2 trillion last October.

Data from Flurry Analytics shows that health and fitness apps have grown in popularity, with usage increasing 330% over the past three years. Software is endless, with apps to track your sleep, diet, runs, bike rides, weight, weightlifting, moods, water consumption, and more. Wearables like the Fitbit and Apple Watch make tracking that data even easier. Flurry reports that 75% of health and fitness app users open their app at least two times a week, while 25% of active users access their apps more than 10 times a week. Consumer engagement levels are at an all-time high, but with that comes elevated expectations.

This evidence of growing consumer prioritization of health comes a demand for brands to get on board the health-train. Deep Focus also found in their study that 62% of consumers age 18-34 believe that all brands will need a wellness component to survive in the future.

If that’s the case, and the Wellness industry is going to be saturated by, well, everyone, what’s a marketer to do? MarketingWeek offers these suggestions:

Emotional Advertising:

Goals like weight loss, running a marathon, or performance-based achievements are passionate, personal journeys for the individual, and brands have the opportunity to be a partner on those journeys. If brands show they understand consumers and their personal ambitions, they can create experiences that consumers will be inspired by.

Sport England launched a nationwide This Girl Can campaign to get women moving regardless of fitness level, size, or age. This was in response to the growing number of 40% of women aged 16 and over that don’t get enough activity – in large part due to the embarrassment, intimidation, or judgement they might receive while exercising. This Girl Can seeks to get millions of women and girls active, healthier, and more happy with their bodies.

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Transparency:

A few too many snake-oil salesmen have made people wary of any type of claims that may be made in the Wellness category. That paired with the false “health science” magazines, blogs, and influencers that tout the latest, trendiest, but ineffective diets and workouts lead to the vital need for transparency to build trust. Brands can provide detailed product labels and ingredients lists, be clear about their values, and how their products are sourced and made.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to think about:

  • How has the definition of health and wellness changes in your lifetime? How can brands stay relevant and meet trends while staying true to their core?
  • If you were a marketing manager of a brand that was not directly related to the Wellness industry, what would you do to contribute to the growing Wellness era?
  • How can Wellness brands identify a strategy to take? (e.g. Big-name celebrity vs average joe representative?)