Brand value in the age of 'enjoyable wellness'

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Implementing and believing in health and wellbeing is and will be a vital value-add for many brands. / Image by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash.

From sales of Fitbits, the plethora of activity tracker apps downloaded to record our every step, to the rise of such terms as flexitarianism into everyday parlance, it’s clear health and wellbeing is becoming more important to consumers than ever. In fact, for the five years to the end of 2018, the UK’s health and wellness market grew over £3bn to £23.4bn according Statista reports. Globally it’s forecast to have CAGR of nearly 6% to 2026.

As social media and government campaigns shine ever more light on wellbeing, the impact of this phenomenon is being felt across a wide range of industry sectors. Not unsurprisingly therefore, it’s sparking a marketing trend.

Manufacturers, their brands and NPD teams are investing increasing amounts of time and money into how best to orientate their propositions towards becoming more mindful of what they offer and how they operate.

Thinking about mindfulness

The rise of sports nutrition brands and mindfulness apps over the last few years is an obvious example of what’s been going on. Other brands are also realising how much consumers value their health and are realising that wellbeing is not just skin-deep. It seems to be penetrating our culture, society and economics. You can see this in how for example diets align with values rather than fitness aspirations as evidenced through spikes in veganism, pescatarianism, paleo and sugar-free diets. According to the BBC last September, the UK has four times more vegans than four years ago, and according to a Harris Poll in the in the US in 2017, 6% of the population claim to be vegan.

It’s clear that wellbeing is moving from what was once thought of as niche to mass.

We can see this happening with mainstream brands already implementing their views on wellbeing. UK High Street retailer Boots’ recent ads for example, focus on how shoppers want to feel. One of their ads is entitled ‘it’s not just how it makes you look’, highlighting people rather than products, and the importance of products making you feel good as opposed to just looking good.

Greggs, a UK food outlet and rival to Subway, launched in January of this year its vegan sausage roll. It caused a social media sensation, attracting huge publicity across many channels, with the firm’s share price increasing nearly 20% on the back of the positive trading figures generated.

Conversely brands that are not adapting their views, messages and products are beginning to suffer volume and value declines – Coca-Cola for instance has now had six consecutive years of revenue declines. In fast food, according to the Obesity Society, there’s been a change in menu ordering patterns – French fries’ orders have decreased from 57% of transactions to 22%, with healthy main course orders rising from 3% to 46% in recent years.

Healthy performance

From the likes of meat substitute Quorn to organic tea purveyor Pukka we can see that brands that are managing to occupy the wellness space are increasing in value with consumers’ growing desire to live healthier lives. Brands that once had the tag of an exclusivity associated with the wellbeing sector, are now much more accessible and inclusive with an increasingly mass market approach to marketing.

Quorn, by adopting mass marketing techniques showing how the brand fits in with everyday life, saw 16% global growth in 2017. They tapped into two big trends - people trying to reduce the amount of meat they consume; and the desire to participate in sustainable eating, as people realise the impact of intensive meat production and consumption.

With growing awareness of the health benefits of low sugar foods, ‘niche’ tea brand Pukka has become a £30m ‘mainstream herbal wellbeing company’ business in the UK, acquired by global FMCG giant Unilever in September 2018. Enough said!

Indeed, Unilever has stated goal of improving the health and wellbeing of more than a billion people by 2020, both by direct action to improve peoples’ health, and how their brands operate. They also see it as key to growing their business, cost efficiency and resilience for the future.

For now and the foreseeable future, implementing and believing in health and wellbeing is and will be a vital value-add for many brands. Ignore this trend at your peril.

Lawrence Janes is managing director at CollidaScope, part of the Ceuta Group

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