Making wellness feel better

How your brand can break free from the boundaries of ‘wellness’

Winkreative’s Perspectives series shares our view on brand and business – the changing audiences, emerging trends and timeless tactics you need to understand to stand out from the crowd. In this article, we identify the limits of the wellness industry and the ways that businesses can break free.

Our world has fallen in love with wellness. You can see it everywhere, from the green juices advertised all over social media to the colleagues enthusiastically sharing details of their yoga classes. Just look to LA, where wellness is gospel, or to Korea, where a more nuanced understanding of healthy living is emerging. It’s no surprise – modern, urban life is increasingly stressful, and people are looking for answers.

The result is a wellness industry now worth $1.5 trillion and counting, and a huge opportunity for brands to capitalise on its growth. But with such a wide audience available, and such rich experiences to draw from, why do so many brands approach wellness in the same way?

The culprit is a tired and basic recipe. In marketing, it translates to cliched imagery and language, with narrow representation. And in physical spaces, wellness is focused largely on the body – think ‘transcendent’ workouts and luxury spa days.

Across the board, brands are co-opting the concept of wellness and using it as a label to signify premium or luxury lifestyle goods, but without evident depth.

They promise quick fixes, while ignoring that any personal transformation is a journey. They take an individualistic approach, while ignoring the impact of other people.

It means that to stand out, brands need to break the mould – to take an approach that is more honest, more well-rounded and more considered. So how do you do it?

Embrace wellbeing

Wellness has become a saturated term, and a restrictive idea. Wellbeing, however, takes a wider view of a well-lived life – the mental, physical and emotional, with contributing elements spanning physical activity and diet, to social life and financial status.

To capture the most sophisticated consumers, brands need to embrace wellbeing and define what it means for them.

Get creative

Well-travelled and worldly consumers have had enough of the standard wellness tropes. To win their hearts and minds, brands must offer a perspective that goes beyond what’s expected. One approach could be to embed a richer, more positive take on wellbeing across your marketing and communications – one that’s less about expensive material objects and more about enriching experiences.

Moments of connection

The links between technology and depression, anxiety and isolation are well known. While undeniably an important part of modern life, a desire to unplug and for the human touch is on the rise.

Brands must do more to promote social connection as intrinsic to wellbeing, and create opportunities for interaction.

By carving out moments where people can be together, any brand, across any category, has the opportunity to become an anchor of the local community. Banks can keep their smaller branches open to show that human needs and conveniences come before profit. Supermarkets that shy away from self-checkouts can offer a more personal shopping experience.

Better by design

The places we build and share should make people feel good – and whether you’re a retailer, hospitality operator or developer, brands should develop their overall environment with wellbeing front of mind. There are countless ways to do it, from including urban greening to maximising natural light, or introducing circadian lighting to encourage people to connect with their biorhythms.

A shoulder to lean on

Wellbeing is a journey, not an end destination – and for many, that journey is full of questions and unknowns.

Brands have an opportunity to take on a role as a guide and companion.

By going beyond the latest product and creating content and experiences that nurture a desire to learn, brands can create real customer value, and create lasting, long-term relationships.

Take responsibility

Much of the current wellness landscape is unregulated and not backed by science, where novelty treatments and diets undermine the legitimacy of genuine medicine. And it’s easy for wellness to have negative effects, with marketing that plays on anxieties and imagery that pushes people to fit an unattainable standard. Brands must take responsibility for the content and the products they share – by committing to honest, well-sourced information, by ensuring their products offer real benefits, and by representing people in all their diversity.

Whatever the size of your brand, and whichever category you’re in, Winkreative’s intelligent solutions and bold creativity can help you break the mould and lead the pack. To find out what we can do for you, get in contact: [email protected].