Feb
06

baby boomer wellness strategies1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boomers are not new phenomena – they are the population born between 1946-1964 that are responsible for half of all discretionary spending in the United States. What is new is that they will dominate the world population by the year 2050 and on average these boomers can be expected to live to the age of 83 – longer than any previous generation [source: Harvard School of Public Health].

They will not only live longer, but they will lead more active, healthy lives, more independently and on their terms. They are single handedly defining the trends of a “new’ boomer generation and for generations to follow. And, there will be far-reaching implications on every industry, particularly health and wellness sectors who will have to adapt to their changing lifestyle needs, and quickly – as there is, and will continue to be a significant shift in delivery of health care.

So how can health and wellness sectors keep pace? By rethinking the way they interact and deliver solutions to Boomers. Most importantly, understanding that Boomers do not subscribe to a single type of lifestyle, and tend to pick and choose what makes sense for them based on their individual experiences and needs. They are information seekers who love to self-advocate for their health and are open to alternative options of care. They are a society-changing generation like no other and what is required to deliver on their needs matters more than we realize.

What influences Boomers health and lifestyle decisions, and what practices are being adopted to address them?

Demand will continue to grow for care of chronic health conditions, e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular, and joint disease to name a few, with about 60% of boomers experiencing more than one chronic condition by the year 2030 [source: American Hospital Association]. Healthcare providers and government agencies are acting, working on preventative measures to improve the future health of this generation and those to come –cultivating a more-informed, health-conscious society that could help turn back the tide.

  • Digital accessibility to health information has become a key component. With over 78% of Boomers online and their desire to adopt “what’s new and better,” great progress is being made in patient-managed technology including, Government-sponsored web sites; electronic health records, which ease tracking/sharing patient information for doctors; mobile health apps (mHealth) for improved efficiencies of health systems to consumer health management; online health forums; and progressive platforms such as Patients Like Me that are shifting the paradigm with a network that provides an effective way to share real-world health experiences between patients and health providers. One of the early adopters of this platform is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


This generation will continue to focus on longevity and delaying the physical effects of aging.
With three out of four boomers doing what’s needed to lower their health risks and prevent disease, this generation has propelled the fitness movement and mainstreaming of holistic approaches to care. Compared to older generations, fitness and exercise are more culturally ingrained in their minds, and daily routines – it’s a way of life for them and they have motivation. One study showed that active people enjoyed 16 more years of healthy living than did inactive people [source: AARP] – some motivating statistics.

  • The prescription for wellness now comes in many forms. Outside of the digital accessibility discussed earlier, there are more conventional ways in which boomers are finding health and wellness solutions. There’s doctors offices where they can now experience an annual “wellness visit” and have a personalized prevention plan developed to stay healthy – evaluation is from a lifestyle (not medicinal) perspective, e.g. dietary habits, exercise, sleep and other daily routines. And, local drugstores like Walgreens, that are making navigating solutions to health much easier with “store within a store” layouts –where condition based products, such as diabetes management and heart health, are grouped together and labeled with shelf tags. But let’s also not forget that wellness goes beyond physical well-being for this generation. It’s also about one’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health (mind-body-spirit), which has created a steady increase in the popularity of yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and other body-mind fitness disciplines proven to have physical and mental benefits.


The Future Is Diversity

Boomers are not a homogeneous group, and one-size-fits-all solutions will not prevail. Their movement toward self-care to enjoy a satisfying, fulfilling life, coupled with research based evidence on healthy living, is stimulating demand for practical, long-term solutions. The brands that truly take the time to understand the forces that are changing and moving these consumers will succeed. Follow them on their path, become part of their lifestyle, speak to them in their language, and you will join them on their journey.

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Dec
05

Over 81% of Ameimagesricans over the age of 50 have become more conscious of what they eat.                              

Overall consumer interest in selecting food and activities geared toward wellness is increasing.  Consumers are realizing the effects that their eating habits and on-the-go lifestyles are having on their ability to maintain a healthy, sustainable life. They are becoming more selective in their product and lifestyle choices and increasingly understand the connection between their diet and health. Health and wellness is not a fad — it is becoming a way of life.

While most people pursue some form of health and wellness, the extent of their interest and engagement varies considerably – meeting consumers on their terms will motivate change and influence partnership with brands. Let’s face it, it’s not surprising that consumers vary in their commitment to exercise, dieting habits, and product choices, and that underlying demographic characteristics influence these decisions – a Gen X’er is far more interested in a stress reliever than a Boomer who may be looking for a memory supplement.

So what are the triggers that continue to motivate consumers to partner with health and wellness brands, and drive this industry forward?

  • Increase in consumer acceptance to a broader set of health and wellness solutions, including non-traditional treatments (herbal remedies, supplements, etc.).
  • Accessibility to more health information than ever; 96% of American adults who use the Internet look-up health information and they are not just looking, they are buying.
  • Growth of high opportunity segments like Boomers, a population expected to grow 41% by 2020, who will seek out solutions to maintain their vigor. And, on the other end of the spectrum the new generation (infants and their families) who will seek products for healthier development.
  • Government, health association, and employer advocacy of healthy eating and wellness initiatives are on the rise – an effort to temper increasing healthcare costs.
  • Broadening of health & wellness offerings at retailers in multiple channels, across various markets – everything from nutrition assessments, to testing services and preventative screenings, to spas and in-store clinics.
    • Take a look the next time you visit a Target, or even ShopRite store, you’ll be surprised at what you see.
  • Emergence of new players and partnerships are creating innovative solutions and expanding definition of the health and wellness space. Brands as diverse as Nestle, DuPont, and even Google are entering the sector.
    • Nestle is investing in gastro-intestinal health; Google in organization of personal health information; and DuPont, through purchase of DSM, in dietary supplements.
  • Accessibility to healthier products is optimal. Manufacturers are continually developing new, healthier products… just look at the supermarket shelves where new products appear everyday.
    • Supermarkets are becoming one of the leading channels for distribution; other channels, such as mass merchants, warehouse clubs, natural food stores, convenience and drug stores, continue to play a formidable role.

And, technology is helping to lead the way with digital, social, and mobile applications providing a more efficient and effective experience between consumers, healthcare providers, insurers, and health and wellness brands  – propelling consumers to connect, learn, and engage in more interactive experiences. 

The Proof Is in The Numbers

The trends all point in a single direction – more and more consumer spending on health and wellness. In fact, if the pace continues wellness could be the next trillion-dollar industry (Euromonitor International). Let me leave you with these stats:

  • Today the average household spends $148.48 per month on categories that have a wellness halo.
  • Over half of all consumers (54%) say they have recently changed their views on health & wellness.
  • 85% of consumers believe that certain foods have health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition and may reduce the risk of disease or other health concerns.


Health and wellness is the new way of life… for consumers and brands, those who adapt will ultimately succeed.

 

 

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Feb
29

All healthcare organizations offer basically the same services. But the REAL difference (the only sustainable one) is how well you define, stake out and deliver on your purpose – which drives the employees who drive your company and deliver (or not) the care and feeding of your customers through their experiences.

Your purpose (the highest aspiration of your brand) powers and guides your organization. Regardless of the size of your healthcare system or hospital, there is nothing as motivating to those who deliver your brand than this purpose. It should be the guidepost against which every consumer-facing move your healthcare organization makes is evaluated.

For IBM, purpose is about building a smarter planet. For Zappos, it’s delivering happiness through “wow” experiences. For Disney, it’s magical family fun entertainment. And for FedEx, it’s peace of mind. And for your organization? If you’re answering along the lines of “making our communities healthier”, you’re missing an opportunity for your organization, your people, your communities, patients and their families to all be more fulfilled than they are today.

Everyone wants to be connected to greatness. To feel deep inside that connection of why their organization brand is great, and that they’re part of making that greatness manifest. If you really do believe that people are your greatest asset, you can’t put too great a price tag on inspiration.

But you need to unearth your purpose, your “greatness” first. And when you do, you’ll reap the reward of more motivation and alignment, more momentum and energy and more emotional connection both inside and outside.

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Jul
29

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

This is Simon Sinek’s simple, smart idea presented through his TED talk: How great leaders inspire action. He calls his idea the ‘golden circle.” And it explains why some leaders and companies are able to inspire while others are not. It’s a concept that can’t really be boiled down to it’s essentials any further. But its value is big.

All companies know what they do. Most can identify how they do it. But far fewer (like Virgin, Harley Davidson, Six Senses, Innocent, Lululemon – my examples) can really identify why they do it – articulating why they really do what they do.

And “why” reflects how people make decisions (within their limbic brain, which controls our feelings) supported with the information (the “hows and whats”) people need to know to make them.

Simon’s ideas can just as effectively be applied to brand-building. And in some cases, might effectively replace the vision and mission statements which tend to sit and collect dust on corporate shelves.

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Jul
12


According to two researchers from John Hopkins University, the answer is yes – with some effort.

They analyzed more than two billion tweets for health-related terms and say their research shows Twitter can be a valuable source of public-health information about a wide range of ailments.

The study, A Model for Mining Public Health Topics from Twitter, (download the pdf here), started with tweets posted to Twitter between 5/09 – 10/10. The two men – Mark Dredze, a researcher at the university’s Human Language Technology Center and Michael J. Paul, a doctoral student – then used a software algorithm to filter out approximately 1.5 million messages that referred to health-related issues, by focusing on a variety of terms related to medical issues and illnesses.

Said Dredze “we determined that indeed Twitter posts could be a useful source of public health information. In some cases, we probably learned some things that even the tweeters’ doctors were not aware of, like which OTC medicines the posters were using to treat their symptoms at home.” One example being “Had to pop a Benadryl … allergies are the worst.”

You can read the full article here.

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Jul
03

Here’s a good example of two health brands collaborating to create new, and important, value for communities and patients.

Allina Hospitals & Clinics and Life Time Fitness are launching a new partnership to advance preventative health and wellness initiatives and awareness. It includes the introduction of Life Time’s myHealthCheck at Allina.

The collaboration will focus on several elements:

– Life Time plans to provide its comprehensive health and wellness assessment, and health promotion program, myHealthCheck, to Allina physicians, nurses and staff as a first step towards integrating health and wellness with health care

– Allina physicians are expected to be connected to Life Time destinations in Minnesota in order to provide medical education and counseling to Life Time members and staff, and medical services for Life Time endurance events

– The organizations plan to explore innovative opportunities to inject health and fitness expertise into traditional health care delivery

– Allina and Life Time will partner to provide integrated community health and wellness programs to the community with the goals of reducing overall health care costs and improving access to preventative health and wellness education and services

You can read more about the partnership here.

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Jun
19

Empowering the patient. Enabling the physician. Enhancing wellness. Curing the well, before they get sick.

Daniel Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist with over 20 years experience in clinical practice, biomedical research and innovation. These are key themes from his talk at TEDxMaastricht, where he offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine – powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient’s bedside.

Inspiring, exciting and fascinating what’s on the horizon!

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Jun
14

From a simple project by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 to help get a small group of kids in Argentina new pairs of shoes, TOMS has since redefined what it means to bring about social change (and health) through business.

With their One For One™ business model, a pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased. The success of their bandage-style shoes (more than 1 million pairs distributed in over 20 countries) proved it’s possible to truly be led by purpose and be profitable. TOMS has also proven that social media is the catalyst for digital activism be it on Facebook (942,116 likes), Twitter (732,763 followers), guerilla marketing or blogging.

Now, TOMS is expanding beyond shoes (leaving this “descriptor” behind in its brand name) and transforming into a truly one-for-one brand. Similar to its “one for one” BOGO (buy one, give one) model, TOMS is expanding its brand into a second product line (eyewear) to give the gift of sight to those in need.

TOMS new collection of sunglasses, priced from $135-$145 a pair, come in three styles and will be sold in the same way as TOMS shoes – for every pair of shades sold, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need through medical treatment, or sight-saving surgery (such as cataract operations) through a partnership with the Seva Foundation, and prescription glasses. The TOMS website also offers the option to upload a photo for a virtual fitting.

Why glasses? Helping save vision is a solvable problem, and Mycoskie feels it’s an issue where TOMS can make an immediate impact. And it certainly flows from their mission and model of solving great human needs worldwide. TOMS Eyewear will begin with initiatives in Nepal, Tibet, and Cambodia. Seva has been in the business of sight restoration for over 30 years – and has given help to nearly three million people globally.

I’m a huge fan of TOMS (could you really not be?). It’s a company…
• built around a massively important (and attracting) central energizing idea
• propelled by a cult-like culture
• driven by a purpose to solve a real problem
• providing a uniquely branded experience
• empowering customers through their actions
• ultimately creating (and fulfilling) a global one-for-one community of like-minded participants.

Please share your point-of-view.

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Jun
10

First, build your company around a central energizing idea. If possible, add a “heroic” purpose. Like “supporting women globally by focusing on their sexual empowerment.”

Then, support these two traits with actions that reflect your unshakable beliefs. Case in point is LA-based L, founded by Talia Frenkel, a longtime photographer for the Red Cross. The company creates the highest quality condoms for the modern consumer, and “represents a movement for consumers’ choice to support better sex, a better cause, and a better world.”

Central to their mission, for every condom purchased, one is distributed in a developing country. Supporting the mission, L partners (creating participants rather than just followers) with developing organizations to support women and HIV prevention through peer-to-peer outreach and partnerships with grassroots women leaders.

The for-profit company has teamed up with Direct Relief International, and is also working to cultivate partnerships with smaller like-minded nonprofits in AIDS-affected areas. Not to forget the importance of relevancy to high-energy brands, consider the staggering numbers surrounding the AIDS epidemic – as more human life has been lost to AIDS than all the wars, famines, floods and deadly diseases on the African continent combined.”

You can watch Talia’s inspiring story here:

Our Story from LovebeginswithL on Vimeo.

L seeks additional nonprofits to partner with to help support its mission. It also runs a Campus Club to encourage the involvement of (and thereby empowering) students at colleges and universities.

Should your organization align with L? Would your customers rally behind it? For information, you can contact L here.

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Jun
06

One trait of high-energy brands is purpose beyond profit.

On the purpose front, says Jack Neff, in his Adage.com article Creativity Marks This Spot: K-C Thrives in Tiny Neenah, “K-C’s marketers really do touch and improve lives, and they do it all in a highly creative manner that gets noticed.”

He points to the following examples of K-C’s balance of purpose and creativity. At the same time, however, K-C also delivers on another high-energy brand lever of creating highly spreadable communication. Some examples:

• Whoopi Goldberg creating a series of webisodes-turned-ads featuring women in history with light-incontinence issues (who admits suffering the condition herself)

• fashion designer Patricia Field designing sanitary pads

• Tyra Banks devoting a show to U by Kotex feminine pads

• Oval and fruit-slice-inspired wedge-shaped Kleenex packages that helped reverse a decline in household penetration. And then using traditional and social media to induce a million people to send samples of a softer Kleenex to friends last fall and winter.

• Depend, which is now is replacing what looked like adult Goodnites (which has helped millions of kids outgrow bedwetting with minimal embarrassment) with what look more like men’s and women’s underwear. It adds some dignity to what the marketers describe as a “heroic” brand, and it has its own anonymous social network where experienced users help new ones cope.

• Kotex and Poise, which marketers long assumed no one wanted to talk about publicly, have found quite the opposite. Marketing became the therapy in some cases, as talking openly about “light bladder leakage” allowed more women to recognize they had the problem, that it wasn’t so unusual, and that they could buy the right products for it, said Melissa Sexton, director of integrated marketing planning on K-C’s adult- and feminine-care businesses.

What other health brands balance purpose with profits? And at the same time, create infectious, spreadable communication?

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