The term “wellness” has become ubiquitous, constantly popping up on our social media feeds, on the pages of our favorite websites and even in our local grocer’s aisles. While we’re all for a heightened awareness of our collective well being, the umbrella term has become a bit blurred, meaning marketers need to be even more strategic when working with brands in this industry. We spoke with a handful of pros in this space to get their insights on how to stand out in the increasingly-saturated wellness industry, while staying true to your brand’s values.
“Discussion around health and wellness has never been more lively, particularly in the digital environment,” shares Nina Westbrook, a marriage and family therapist who also founded Bene by Nina and Minibrook. “To ensure I’m sharing an informed perspective that is rooted in best practice, I continue to educate myself and stay up to date on what’s happening in the mental health space. Then, as we decide whether or not a particular topic makes sense for Bene by Nina, we reflect on our ‘why’ and whether it furthers our mission of inspiring wellness and connection in every area of life.”
She continues, “I believe success lies in the thoughtful mix of following our audience’s lead, trusting our intuition and regularly inviting experts from other industries to weigh in so that my narrative isn’t the only one being shared. Highlighting a mix of perspectives opens up the conversation to more people and ideas, and demonstrates that it’s possible to create a space where varied points of view can be discussed respectfully.”
Taking cues from your audience and customers is a smart strategy, and it’s one that the team at Open doubles down on as well. “Better than your brand voice? The voices and perspectives of your most dedicated customers and community members," notes Abby Gould, VP of Partnerships at Open. "It's nothing new, but communicating complex concepts, such as the benefits of mindfulness practice, through credible humans over commercial copywriting, is critical to instill trust in new consumers. Real word of mouth—for something as deeply personal as mental health—is better than any ad in sharing the power of your product.”
One excellent way to show, and not tell, the power of your product is through video content. Valerie Emanuel, co-founder of Role Models Management and Rif, shares, “The thing about health and wellness is that we need it to be as tangible as possible. When clients come to Role Models with breakdowns for influencer collaborations and they have only a photo mood board, I always counter with some options for Reels or TikToks. Each creator you work with will have their style that does best, but when collaborating with models and influencers I highly suggest covering your ass by getting both types of content.”
Speaking of TikTok, Emanuel reminds us that, “Unless your brand has products only older people can wear or use, you have to focus on Gen Z. Yes, they may not have all the money in the world to splurge on a Peloton bike (yet), but they are driving consumer culture in a way that is unexplainable and combined they do have more buying power than any other generation, and their influence is a huge factor in everyone's buying decisions now.”
Having worked with luxury spa and wellness products around the globe, Jennifer Hawkins, founder and president of Hawkins International, a FINN Partners Company, can attest to the importance of great storytelling in wellness marketing. “Wellness today is a lifestyle commitment, and consumers are looking for transformational experiences, from their beauty products or an ongoing enhancement from a spa,” she says. “Bringing to life your product, spa or service through imaginative storytelling is imperative so you can tap into your specific audience. Be well-defined so consumers can find you and relate to your product. You can do this with creative content creators like influencers or editors or even reward brand loyalists who become your organic ambassadors."
The right partnerships and authentic content create trust, which is something consumers aren’t giving to fitness and health brands so easily today. “The wellness and fitness industry has become known for hyperbolic promises about what products can offer consumers, with marketing and PR materials often purporting that a certain product is ‘life-changing’ or that it will single handedly cure an ailment,” says Alana Linsenbigler, Vice President at LJ Public Relations, who works closely with client Aviron. “Editors are constantly hearing these exaggerated claims from brands trying to catch their attention, and they have understandably become skeptical, as have customers.”
She continues, “With this in mind, being specific about what your product can offer and being able to back up any benefits with research is increasingly important. Instead of relying on grand statements, build trust with the editorial community by zeroing in on your brand’s true differentiators and communicating them clearly and transparently. A product doesn’t have to do everything for everyone to be worthy of coverage, but providing detailed information on who it is best suited for, what the true benefits are, and studies or consumer research to back up your statements will make all the difference.”
In sum, the wellness industry is a deeply personal one, and each individual is on a different journey, seeking different results. As Gould reminds us, brands need to “meet people where they are (and where they're going). No one product or practice fits all humans, at all times — be compassionate towards the diverse needs of your community, offering education and inspiration for the ever-changing inner landscape and physical evolution of our bodies.”
In a new journal section, we're highlighting the latest experiential events of note by top minds in the industry. Check out Rao's Homemade's first-ever pop-up marketplace by Dera Lee Productions.
Rao's Homemade® communications agency, MBooth, hired Dera Lee Productions to introduce Rao’s Homemade® products and new limited-edition items in the bustling area of SoHo, NYC. The Saucery was Rao’s Homemade® first ever pop-up marketplace inspired by their own Italian farm to jar story exclusive to 50 media and influencers and 600 consumers who were lucky to get a reservation. Fun fact: The Saucery by Rao's Homemade™ sold out in two hours!
Busy Philipps at The Saucery
Upon entering, guests immediately were transported to an Italian herb garden learning about how the Rao's Homemade® team prepares and plants seeds in the mineral rich soil of Mount Vesuvius and Southern Italy to jarring the sauce for their loyal customers. While taking Instagram worthy images in the herb garden, guests were offered plum seeds of their own to grow and given original Rao's Homemade® recipes to cook at home.
Then when entering the marketplace, visitors were handed a free branded "Let's Get Saucy" tote bag and guests enjoyed delicious Rao’s Homemade® sauces and Italian wine pairings along with samples of specialty cocktails made with Rao's Homemade® sauces, limited edition products and pastas, customizing their own Rao’s Homemade® sauce jar and the opportunity to purchase all products at a 15% discount where all proceeds go to the charity Jersey Cares. The success of this “saucy” pop-up experience brought new visitors converting them into Rao’s Homemade® experts but more importantly into new customers.