Strategic branding – how to unlock you wellness brand opportunity
The Power of Strategic Branding
Your wellness brand is not just the face of your business. It’s the DNA of your business. Just like the molecule that encodes the genetic instructions in living organisms, brand DNA transforms a business into one that makes you unique and distinguishable from your competitors. And this exclusivity, starting with strategic branding, can create a magnetic-like attraction to your wellness brand that’s hard for others to replicate.
As competition within the wellness category continues to become fiercer, and as technology has lowered the barriers to entry – success boils down to building a brand that is baked into the business. The power of your wellness brand, starting with strategic branding, helps you stand out, create customer connection and leave competitors behind.
Baking Brand Into Your Business
Baking a brand into your business means that every single interaction, based on what we at Trajectory refer to as a Big Energizing Idea, is felt by customers to be unique to your organization, product or service. The brand experience is seamless, consistent, empowering and mutually rewarding – creating a two-way value exchange for both customers and the brand.
Wellness Branding Strategies
Building a wellness brand that people love begins with two types of wellness branding strategies. Strategic branding elements like brand story, brand architecture, brand positioning and brand personality, are below the surface and form the brand foundation.
Brand design and experience elements are those brand assets that make-up the voice and symbolism of the brand, e.g. brand colors, shapes, logos, images, fonts, tone of voice, advertising styles, packaging, product design and sensory cues such as sound, smell, and taste. And as these brand assets are consistently used across multiple touch points, they create a ‘mental shortcut” to identify and relate to that brand.
Tips For Building Wellness Brand Value
Since 1999, Trajectory has practiced a disciplined and comprehensive approach to developing wellness branding strategies that have consistently produced strong and lasting results for our clients. Here are some broad guidelines that will help pave the path to your wellness branding success.
Align Strategic Branding With Business Strategy
Your brand is not only the face of your business, but the engine that drives business growth. So your wellness branding needs to align with your business strategy. Which means that your brand is informed by your business model, and your business model is informed by your brand – and then engineered to uniquely create and deliver value through daily brand management across your entire experience.
Brand Asset Alignment
Aligning look, message and emotion across every different touchpoint is a tremendous challenge today for brand owners. Managing brands that are always on — across geographies, agency partners, channels and consumers weighing in to how your brand is expressed — is no small feat.
But achieving and maintaining alignment delivers returns not only in enhanced relationship-building, but in maximized return on marketing budgets. This alignment is also key to being able to evolve your brand to create new opportunities to drive brand growth, while ensuring you do so in a consistent manner by leveraging your distinctive and relevant brand assets and the associations and emotions that built your brand in the first place.
A Big Energizing Idea
Every business needs a brand, and every brand needs an idea. At Trajectory, we refer to this idea as the Big Energizing Idea. Regardless of what you call it — whether your north star, essence, purpose, central organizing principle, etc. — this brand idea is an important internal and external beacon for your organization.
For today’s more conscious consumers, your big idea is a crucial driver of success, and it must be big enough to sustain your organization for at least a handful of years. In the words of management consultant Simon Sinek — people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Today, no brand becomes great unless it is totally clear and consistent about who it is, why it is and how it approaches (solves problems for and makes lives better for) its chosen market.
Emotional Bonds Through Every Interaction
Branding is a verb. Which means every interaction is an opportunity for your strategic branding to guide, add value and strengthen your emotional connection with audiences. Put another way, your unique fingerprint should be stamped on every single interaction.
Consider the distinctive and consistent voices (across all communications) of Innocent Drinks (informal and easy-going), Old Spice (unexpected humor), Dove (human, inspirational and friendly) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering (hope and advancement); as well as the distinctive experiences of Apple’s Genius Bar tech support station, Cabela’s in-store experience and Oscar’s online healthcare insurance experience.
Brand Love From The Inside Out
A strong brand brings employees together to work towards common goals and align around a larger idea that they all believe in. Together, these internal audiences should create a potent team of brand ambassadors who “live” the organization’s brand and build brand momentum from the inside out. For service businesses whose employees are the front-line of their brand, the right training and tools are critical to shaping a consistent and stellar brand experience.
More Elements of Value
Functional benefits can prompt a search or a conversation, but they tend not to be the elements of value that represent people’s deeper motivations, dreams and desires. And these surface level benefits are not the ones that enable brands to make their way into people’s lives and become indispensable.
There’s always going to be another brand that comes along that will save time, simplify, help organize, deliver “quality,” etc. So you can’t plant your brand flag based on these product attributes and functional benefits.
Identifying the deeper problem you’re solving for people sets your brand up to be more relevant to the people you want to reach. It lets you add value to your products and services and gain an edge with consumers – the true arbiters of value – by tapping into something they need and telling a more compelling, meaningful and emotive story.
A few examples:
- Parsley Health: blending cutting-edge testing, nutrition and wellness with conventional medicine, its modern aesthetic, experience and voice provides an aspirational feel to the traditional doctor’s visit.
- Revolut: transforming not only the way money works but how consumers engage with it in a healthy and empowered way, the platform delivers truly differentiated financial services to consumers.
- Daily Harvest: redefining the frozen category with farm-fresh ingredients, the company is addressing the conflict between the way people aspire to eat and the way they have time to eat.
From Brand Value To Brand Values
To achieve sustainable growth, wellness brands need to find new and positive ways to tap into modern consumers’ sense of self. And this goes beyond helping people live healthier and happier lives, to helping them make a positive difference in some way.
As the movement to “collective consciousness” continues to gain traction, consumers have formed new expectations around brand purpose, and brands need to put their values front and center. Consumers are demanding that brands show up as truthful, transparent and responsible, while keeping their promises.
Purpose also now extends beyond individual contributions, to improving community and planet. According to a study by Ogilvy – 71% of consumers say that wellness brands should help them make a positive difference in some way, 62% say wellness brands can give them a sense of purpose, and 60% say that wellness brands should be good for the environment.
A few examples:
- Allbirds: the company’s development of sustainable materials and innovative products, as well as its collaborations placing purpose over profit, is helping accelerate industry-wide sustainability.
- Kinship: the beauty brand targeting a younger audience by tapping into their cultural values, including sustainability, wellness and inclusivity.
- Just Salad: the first fast-casual restaurant in the US to display the carbon footprint of every item on its online menu.
Strong, culturally-relevant brands should be worthy of conversation and facilitating conversation. They should compel community creation, not just between brand and consumer, but among everyone who loves the brand. Connecting to others who share those values. So the brand functions as sort of connective tissue and signals a shared set of values across different groups of people. The pandemic has fueled even more this desire for connection.
A couple examples:
- Aaptiv: the provider of premium digital health and wellness content has garnered over 200,000 paying members since its 2015 launch.
- mindbodygreen: the lifestyle media brand has more than 10 million monthly visitors, and has leveraged the power of its brand to expand into online courses, events and most recently, the ingestible beauty category.
Driven to seek out truth and transparency – consumers, influencers, trade, advocacy groups and the media are all voicing the need for more brands to bring greater efficacy, academia and credibility to the wellness industry. They’re questioning and researching, and demanding that buzzwords and unsubstantiated claims are replaced by trustworthy, transparent and conclusive communications and that products actually do what they claim.
A couple examples:
- Seed Health: the microbial sciences company, is championing “consumer life science” and positioning consumer knowledge as something to be worn as a badge of honor.
- Kensho Health: Eastern medicine meets Western medicine in this health resource, which is home to holistic health along with the promise of access to credible information. They research the research, partnering with the world’s largest academic publisher to help people make more informed choices about their health.
Digital Brand Experience
COVID-19 accelerated what was already a rapidly growing trend – the emergence of what has been coined the new digital wellness consumer. The new digital consumer exhibits new behaviors and preferences and is embracing more digital products and services, adopting different modes of communication and forming online communities.
What’s more, these consumers who represent a much broader demographic don’t plan on giving these behaviors up. As stated by Welltodo: If 2020 set a new benchmark for digital expectations, then 2021 will be the year that brands must go above and beyond these expectations to win the hearts and minds of consumers in the long term.
A few examples of this impact:
Peloton: Reported a 66% increase in sales, with its membership hitting 3.1 million at the end of June, more than double a year earlier.
Mindbody: Revealed 85% of Mindbody app users now do live-streamed workouts weekly in 2020, compared to 7% in 2019.
Mindful Chef: Experienced 450% growth in new customers since COVID-19.
Since 1999, our hybrid brand consultancy / marketing agency has worked with clients across the health and wellness continuum to unlock the potential for their brands to leave their mark on the world. Reach out for a no-obligation consultation.