While the days of plastic surgery and fast food are still very far from being over, there is an age of authenticity on the horizon — and it’s been a long time coming. In a world of increasingly staged and contrived media, it’s no surprise consumers are seeking honesty. Health and wellness brands need to own honesty if they’re going to resonate with consumers.
Photo by: Paola Kudacki
Proudly imperfect. Two words that seem contradictory on the surface, yet hold a significant amount of truth to the beauty market today. Think: Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign, Burt’s Bees Chapstick and Bare Minerals. These products have skyrocketed as the hunt for authenticity prevails. Nearly every day on social media we see influencers and celebrities posting photos going 100% au naturale, #nofilter with #nomakeup anyone? But celebrities and influencers aren’t the only ones owning their bare-faced beauty — skin care products dominate the cosmetic market — twice the overall market share to be exact. This rejuvenating statistic proves that more women prefer a vibrant complexion to caking on makeup. Maybe it’s to avoid the inevitable aging that comes with heavy makeup use, maybe it’s to save money, or maybe it’s to save time. Either way, this natural trend only continues to grow (there are almost 180,000,000 uses of the #nofilter hashtag on Instagram, and the #nomakeup hashtag is coming in hot with over 13,000,000 uses.)
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Arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma — these diseases are some of the most common plagues to society, and inflammation is the root of most diseases. The first thing the doctor prescribes for these ailments? Lifestyle change. While the journey toward going organic has grown rapidly over the last couple years, *cough* gluten free craze *cough*, customers and brands alike are taking matters into their own hands. Inflammation-fighting ingredients started trending on Pinterest just last year, and commercial food brands caught onto the buzz as well — Starbucks released its first ever anti-inflammatory drink, the Chile Mocha, made with cayenne and ginger. And yes, it totally beat those fat-loaded-yet-wildly-delicious Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
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One size never really fits all. Especially not when it comes to eating habits. Some of us like afternoon tea, others prefer midnight snacks. You choose meat, I choose veggies. Individualized preferences have dominated the wellness industry for years. What started with DIY activity tracking (wearable technology AKA fitbits) has now turned into personalized nutrition products. Across the board brands are popping up, sharing their own take on which nutrition plan best suits their customer. Care/of is a vitamin startup that uses a questionnaire to curate customers’ nutrient selection. Habit uses DNA and genetic insights to suggest a meal that’s just right. DNAfit not only recommends tailored nutrition advice, but also provides bespoke fitness plans. Why should health marketers care? Because, science.
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Go Sober (Or Maybe Just, Healthier)
There’s bound to come a time in life when we discover alcohol—along with the inevitable hangovers that ensue—is losing its luster. Though it seems the only ones pursuing sober lifestyles are recovering alcoholics, turns out, going sober is all the rage. In cities like Los Angeles and New York, sober get togethers are on the rise. In the Big Apple, you’ll find pop-ups like The Softer Image, an event that combines natural tonics with dancing and yoga. In the City of Angels, dry dinner parties are replacing the bar scene. In San Francisco, breweries like Mikkeller are serving up craft beer for those who don’t prefer the buzz.
For those of us who may want/need a nice big cocktail after a long day or week, tons of restaurants are starting to infuse natural elixirs with low-calorie liquors in their drinks. The Hotel Bellini in New York serves up a detox-Bellini. Even in the party-centric Miami, craft cocktails with calorie cutting and natural ingredients are mixed and served to perfection at places like Miami Cocktail Co. So maybe you don’t go sober all the way, but you go natural instead. It may not help your liver, but it’ll sure help your calorie count.
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Wellness Beyond the Gym
Wellness travel has always been a thing—people go on vacations to exclusive resorts with top notch gyms and sun-kissed personal trainers. Doing yoga for 60 minutes a day just doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, people are meeting their yoga instructors in Botswana. They’re traveling to the jungles of Peru to venture in a shamanistic journey toward the self. Choosing reiki healing classes instead of luxurious spa treatments. Now, when you go to Target, you can get actual crystals with your Crystal Light. It’s less about conforming to typical fitness plans of lifting weights and doing crunches, and more-so about finding what’s right for you — meeting yourself instead of sprinting from yourself.
So, what do all of these trends mean for marketers and brands in the health and wellness industry? It’s time to get honest. Customize. Understand. Share your core values, don’t cover them up with the Clarendon filter or a witty hashtag. Get real. Be authentic. Loyalty and sales will inevitably follow.