By John Gerzema | Forbes
We’re increasingly confronted with evidence of how harsh the world is today. Americans say our society feels more divisive now, and daily anxiety is rising, especially among young Americans. Faced with these external pressures, more of us are looking inward toward our spiritual, physical and mental health and well-being.
Our recent survey with Lululemon found that more than eight in 10 people believe wellness is not a fad, but a lifestyle. And of those surveyed, 71% want to achieve mind and body balance this year. Wellness and health in culture today is a “new wealth,” where being well means status, luxury and experience.
And like all new trends, it seems to have an origin in Brooklyn. Wellvyl is a Brooklyn startup that caters to single-mingles who also have a penchant for working out and eating well. (We were curiously attracted to a post on their site entitled “Death, Abs and Smoothies.”)
But as we age, there are now is a range of private-equity-funded startups that aim to improve teletherapy through apps like Healthloop and Onkol for digi-elder-care, as well as smart sheets that monitor insulin levels and provide screeners for cystic fibrosis. And somewhere in between, there are partnerships like The Mandarin Oriental and The Mayo Clinic, where a luxury spa includes a top-notch physical. Did you ever expect to click on a story about Mayo in The Robb Report?
My point is health is inside and out: The rise of genetic testing has led to personalized diets through startups like Habit and made-to-your-DNA workouts through STYR. Yet, wellness also extends to affinity groups like new parents, where digital bassinets like Hatch Baby capture baby metrics, and Sleep IQ smart beds track baby’s REM. There’s even Fitzania, an arcade that tracks kids’ biometrics while they play laser tag.
Wellness is not the property of some zany Sonoma retreat, but a pursuit by an ever-growing number of people and industries. Here’s how to think about your customers and their quest for better health and mindfulness:
Resist The Clinical
While it’s tempting to want to get “all pharma” on people, wellness is actually an all-encompassing mindset today, so products and services should be, too. According to our study, 64% of respondents want to improve physical health, but they also want to improve their financial health (57%), mental health (41%), relationship health (40%) and spiritual health (39%).
Consumers also want easier ways to manage their wellness goals. Aetna’s Health Ambitions study found that, if given an extra hour in the day, 60% of people would spend it on mental and physical well-being activities. How does your product or service help attain one or more of these desires? Frame wellness in the aspirational and the emotional. That’s how exercise equipment and media company Peloton gets us out of bed in the morning.
It’s All About Me
According to a recent report from Apple, the hottest trending apps in 2018 were in the “self-care” category, but new research signals that this is just the beginning of self-care trends. Our survey also found that 73% of respondents said that “2019 is the year I will achieve my ideal mind/body balance,” while 81% said, “In 2019, I will be more compassionate with myself.”
Self-care will be a driving force in achieving a wellness lifestyle for the coming years, so make it personal. There are startups like Mirror that are providing virtual trainers and Somnox’s cuddly sleep robots that lull you to sleep with any calming audio you like. (There’s some artificial intelligence that doesn’t sound dystopian.)
Eat Like Tom Brady
While most of society is confused by labels and what’s bad for us, many people are simply editing their way to better health. According to the Celiac Disease Center, 1% of Americans have celiac disease, yet in our 2014 Harris Poll survey, 26% of Americans pursued some form of gluten-free diet that year. People feel increasingly empowered to make their own selections. This week it’s keto; what is the next trend in deprivation?
All of these signs point to a new reality for marketers: Consumer-centric brands have a leg up in keeping pace with consumers in the wellness lifestyle revolution. From holistic services and products, convenience, personalization, transparency and ethics, consumers have raised the bar with new expectations from the brands they love. This signals a new opportunity for marketers to authentically relate to their audiences by thinking past earning impressions and more toward holistically connecting and creating value exchanges with consumers.
Read more at Forbes.