Consumers Prefer Brands That Prioritize Wellness

March 01, 2023

Table of Contents:

What is wellness?

How to Create a Wellness Strategy

Buying decisions. We all make and rationalize them in our own way. With the wellness industry expected to grow to almost $7 trillion by 2025, people are repeatedly asking themselves this question every time they open their wallet: Will this product or service make me feel better? Enter the rapidly evolving wellness industry.

What is wellness?

More than a buzzword, but a plan of action, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) defines wellness as, “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” This holistic viewpoint of wellness encompasses physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental dimensions. The Ogilvy Wellness Gap Study finds that 77% of people globally say wellness is very important to them and when it comes to buying decisions, they’re concerned with whether a brand contributes to or deters from their wellbeing. This thinking goes beyond yoga memberships, spa visits and that which we instinctively associate with wellness.

Woman performing meditation and practicing wellness while sitting on a bed next to a candle

Defining a wellness brand

The industries traditionally associated with wellness include healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss; fitness; mental wellness; traditional, complementary and preventative medicine; and spas/mineral springs. As consumers focus on the ways brands contribute to their emotional wellbeing, the definition of a “wellness brand” expands to include brands that have a relevant value proposition related to wellness in some way, opening the doors for wellness tourism; financial wellness; wellness real estate; workplace wellness and more. As individuals expand on what wellness means to them, it creates space for brands to relook at their offerings and further define the benefits they provide. From there, brands can determine a value proposition that’s relevant to wellness and the payoff it gives people.

Laptop computer showing the Petco website with a picture of a drooling dog and the words "Health & Wellness" on the screen

Take Petco, for example. The company repositioned itself from a specialty pet retailer to a “health and wellness company focused on improving the lives of pets, pet parents and our own Petco partners.” By revisiting their own brand values as well as their customers, Petco shifted gears to focus on partnering with other brands that put wellness at the forefront and prioritize a better quality of life for pets. Backing this claim with action, Petco’s efforts included stopping the sale of pet food and treats with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, and standing for positive (rather than aversive) reinforcement by discontinuing shock collar sales. With the majority of pet owners spending up to $500 dollars on their pets per year and affluent households spending an average of $1,523 dollars per year, per Statista data, Petco is separating itself from competitors through a brand purpose that sets a standard and appeals to fellow pet people.

Why tapping into wellness is important

The past few years have reemphasized just how important it is for companies to be able to pivot, adapt and connect to their audience. As wellness becomes a selling point for a variety of products and services, it needs to be done in an authentic way – one that connects to your brand values and takes your customers’ values into account. Understanding that wellness is more than a word, but a way of life allows brands to see where they fit in along the consumer journey and how they can provide value.

Image of a hand on a laptop next to a stack of papers showing website marketing performance data

How to Create a Wellness Strategy

With 80% of consumers saying they plan to maintain their health and wellness spending, allocating a portion of your marketing budget to incorporate wellness is no longer a question. The question is, how can you create a wellness strategy that resonates with your target audience? Talking to your target audience is a great place to start. Here are seven steps to ensure a wellness strategy is present through your brand’s offering.

      1. Understand why wellness is important to your audience

First-party data is key in determining why wellness matters to your target audience. While email surveys, social media polls and questionnaires each have their own benefits, the most personable responses often come from being able to hear from your target audiences directly via phone calls or face-to-face chats. Our four-step Orange Label Approach™ includes the “View From the Field™,” in which we orchestrate a series of one-on-one conversations with a sample of our client’s target demographic, prospects and external stakeholders to get their perspective of the brand. Former brand advocates are also valuable in the interview process, because you can find out why they are no longer connected with your brand and make necessary adjustments. If they see these adjustments in action, you may just win them back.

The benefits of gathering this first-party research allows brands to have a clear picture of the user experience for their specific brand, motivations in searching out and buying your product or service, insight into what their habits and routines are (and where your brand fits in) and more. This process uncovers insights that are sometimes missed with internal teams. Comparing and contrasting this first-party data with qualitative and quantitative data analytics will help you create an all-encompassing view of where wellness fits into your brand strategy, what drives audiences to buy and where drop-off occurs most frequently.

      2. Incorporate customer feedback into messaging on all platforms

With 63% of consumers expecting personalization as a standard of service, according to a Harris Poll Survey for RedPoint Global, and some consumers fearful in giving up too much of their data or privacy, having a one-on-one conversation allows you to cater your brand offerings and marketing toward audiences to determine best forms of communication, what promotions they’re interested in, how they heard about your brand, words/phrases they associate with your brand, what’s working and what could be better. Not only can you use this to optimize your product offerings, you can incorporate it into your brand messaging in casual settings on social media to determine the tone of voice and key phrases that resonate with your audience and in branding copy, such as brand message, brand values and mission statement. Insights will help generate ideas for copy points, such as what is most valuable to a consumer, and tone of voice so your brand is more relatable to the right audiences.

Woman at a desk in a marketing agency looking at a computer screen that shows an image of 3 beverages with the caption "PB&J Trio"

     3. Revisit your creative strategy

Combining competitor insights, first-party insights and data analytics research, you can determine what still works with your creative strategy and what needs revisiting. A mood board can be a great tool to determine the visual direction of your brand for all creative pieces, including packaging, point-of-purchase designs, website, brand colors, fonts, logos, etc. You can also include word clouds from customers and employees on how your product or service makes customers feel, the impact you want to make and the values that your brand stands for. For example, the recent rebrand of cycle care company Cora takes feminine hygiene products that are usually tucked away in a cabinet and highlights them as a form of wellness and self care through verbiage that emphasizes comfort, product clarity and a demonstrated understanding. To ensure cohesive branding, consider launching new materials all at once and spreading awareness on your new efforts through public relations and marketing.

     4. Plan out your media selection

One of our favorite questions to ask in our View From the Field™ is where individuals spend their time online. As we know, not all brands need to be on the same platforms or same forms of media. Meeting your customers at the right time in the right place requires an understanding of the media buying landscape to create an omni-channel marketing strategy that draws attention, incites curiosity and spreads awareness about your brand’s wellness offerings. Coordinating articles across relevant industry newsletters, updating out-of-home media strategies and digital strategies will allow you to showcase your wellness offerings in a manner that’s cohesive and extends reach. Conducting post-buy analysis will allow you to optimize media strategies and get your message across.

Three young adults looking at a cell phone screen in a cafe while drinking espresso

     5. Make social outreach a priority

The search for connection is cited as one of four macro forces behind consumers’ growing interest in the wellness space by the Global Wellness Institute. With this information, you can look at social media and outreach efforts in a way that prioritizes connection. Whether that’s showing the social side of your product/service, encouraging conversations or supporting relevant causes, it’s clear that consumers want to align themselves with brands that demonstrate an interest in consumer wellness. There are numerous opportunities to keep your community engaged and even connected to one another – whether that’s on social media platforms itself, by hosting or sponsoring virtual/in-person events or by giving away experiences, you can find what works best for your brand and get audience feedback through surveys or interviews.

     6. Create content based on your brand values

Another way to connect to your audience is by releasing thought-leading content. Distributing blog posts that relate to your core values, such as pet wellness, self care, active lifestyles or financial education will help you rank higher in SEO and show your audience that you care. You can also host your own podcast series or be a guest on podcasts related to your industry or wellness at large. We’ve seen brands get creative in the content that they offer, thinking outside of the box to deliver value in a non-disruptive way.

Take music, for instance. Making a playlist is still a great way to show someone you care, except now it’s online instead of on a CD. CPG brand Barilla knows this to be true –  that’s why their team partnered with Spotify to create eight public playlists that garnered nearly 60,000 followers. But what does pasta have to do with music you might ask? If you guessed mood music for cooking, you’d be right… sort of. Each playlist is the exact cooking time of a specific type of pasta. So there’s the Mixtape Spaghetti which is nine minutes long to cook everyone’s favorite type of noodle, the 10-minute Moody Day Linguine and 11-minute Timeless Emotion Fusilli playlists, to name a few. This idea exemplifies two of their five brand values: passion and curiosity, and their mission to “care for people and the planet.”

Image of a marketing team in a conference room brainstorming a strategy for a wellness brand

     7. Focus on your company culture

Let’s revisit Petco’s mission statement, which is to “improve the lives of pets, pet parents and our own Petco partners.” At first glance, one may think that Petco partners are the brands or organizations they work with. This is true, but it’s more than that. Petco partners are the people who work for the company. This type of verbiage gives insight into the way the company treats their employees – as partners united by a vision and a love of animals. If this “partner” mindset includes fair to competitive compensation and benefits, a social environment and a growth path, it’s likely that employees would report high satisfaction levels in their job. Beyond employee retention, this is widely important to companies and their wellness strategy because if an employee is happy, they’re more likely to deliver excellent customer service. A trickle-down effect of this service leads to customer loyalty, higher sales and better brand reputations.

A recent @Gallup survey finds that only 25% of U.S. employees feel that their organization cares about their wellbeing. This is the lowest percentage in nearly a decade! @OrangeLabel_ gives tips on how to create a wellness-focused culture. Share on X

Unfortunately, a recent Gallup poll finds that only 25% of U.S. employees feel that their organization cares about their wellbeing. This is the lowest percentage in nearly a decade and provides a stark contrast into the wellness movement seen from consumers. Having a clear wellness strategy and company mission that employees relate to may help more employees feel cared for in the workplace and, as a result, provide a better customer experience. With 60% of employees feeling disconnected from their company’s mission or purpose, the opportunity to develop relatable brand positioning and create an engaging company culture is there and ready to boost sales. Learn how to develop a happier, healthier company culture  in our upcoming podcast with Kristi Herold, author of “It Pays to Play: How Play Improves Business Culture.”

Wellness is here to stay and with Orange Label, help is on the way to ensure you have a wellness strategy running through your company offerings and brand marketing. You can contact us with your questions or set up a call with Orange Label President Rochelle to get started on identifying your marketing goals.

Written By: Ashley Ruiz

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