But make sure we are bringing wellness to all
The New York based Global Wellness Institute ( GWI ) tells us that the wellness industry is now worth close to 5 trillion dollars a year. It has been growing at around 8 percent a year for a decade. In 2020 that figured slowed in some areas but no doubt grew in others.
Everything from getting a comforting massage to a full spa retreat may have been more difficult. But undertaking some “at home” wellness activities like learning new meditation techniques, how to use supplements better, cooking for better wellness, taking youtube exercise classes, buying wellness guides, and investing time on in-home wellness equipment and atmosphere aids like candles and incense, all are areas of wellness that in WFH ( work from home ), borders closed, social distancing 2020 we may be resorted to in order to help get physically healthier, mentally sturdier, pandemic resistant.
The GWI also recently launched a new global study into Mental Wellness that highlights that while physical wellness is always really important being mentally well, prepared, calm, happy with life has always been important but perhaps never more so than in times of massive community and personal disruption and anguish like that we have seen this last year.
Now we are sure that many of the readers of ICE will be aware of the boom in wellness-related marketing in recent years. Marketers of many types have been latching on to the interest. Personally, over the last three years, Dave has consulted with companies across Asia in categories like the obvious food supplements, to toothpaste, to travel, to news apps, to theme parks, and even a major auto brand all of who wanted to focus on or at least take advantage of the wellness trend. Yes, even an automotive brand who wants to convince you that the way they shape their car seats, the design of the interior of the vehicles, how they think about fuel-saving are all part of enhancing a “wellness” lifestyle.
With all this focus on wellness, it made great sense that we would hold one of Marketing Futures Lead Talks webinars with a couple of wellness gurus. We asked the head of the GWI and Global Wellness Summit Susie Ellis and Bangladesh superwoman and health and wellness start-up entrepreneur Sonia Bashir Kabir to join us in a discussion.
And the first thing we did was then to say “too much of the wellness discussion is focused on maybe the top twenty percent of the population, what about the bottom forty percent?”.
Especially relevant in Bangladesh of course where the differences between those of us working in the business sector are huge from many rural dwellers.
Our discussion focused on a few key themes that perhaps marketers should take on board as both opportunities and responsibilities. In a world where marketing discussion keeps on talking about purpose perhaps bringing wellness to “all citizens” is the highest calling to be fulfilled.
The presence and pressures of COVID-19 have impacted the mindset of many people and especially mid and older generations to be mentally more resilient and understanding that some habits have to change and to shift priorities to greater, more detailed taking care of self. Everything from rethinking diet, making sure of exercise, learning new digital skills to stay informed and be able to access what they need to stay well.
But we also noted an overwhelming increase in mental wellness issues in the young population in countries like Bangladesh and other countries in Asia and Africa as well. Because things that should be normal are just not. There has been a paradigm shift in the education system from offline to online that often means parents are even less able to help and for many in rural areas and the bottom of the pyramid access is very difficult. Socializing, the very center of young people’s lives has been disrupted. For graduates, the uncertainty of actually getting first jobs is tougher. Keeping them in an uncertain and unstable mind frame.
That uncertainty becomes magnified among the rural BOP youth. Futures disrupted, families, disrupted. Access to information limited.
In an earlier ICE article, we discussed the need for all marketers to focus on some combination of three factors in deciding how their brand should behave = Help (bringing real answers to people’s problems), Hope (giving people the potential to do more ) or Hi-Jinks (providing distraction and delight to take their mind off daily problems). All three remain valid pathways for brands to help the BOP population and especially its young people. The need for more opportunities, and more outreach by companies to help rural families and offer young entrepreneurs the chance to bring more hope and actual help to the young is a vital part of improving wellness.
Susie pointed out that globally the focus on wellness for all levels of society has been a greater focus of the industry even before COVID-19. We have seen more initiatives by brands and companies to bring services that will help people be more aware of how they can get better health and wellness care. Sonia talked about various projects she is helping to support that will create more access to e-health advice, medical care, wellness information to rural areas often without access to normal internet and smartphone capabilities we take for granted. Her group is constantly supporting new young entrepreneurs looking at broadening both basic health access and also improved lifestyle wellness.
And Bangladesh is a font of original thinking when it comes to supporting the bottom of the pyramid with new services and access. Dave was very happy to have been on the judging panels for a couple of important regional marketing awards and see the AGROBANKING campaigns devised by Grey Bangladesh for UCB AgroBanking Powered by Shwapno win top awards. The truly innovative use of new thinking to help poorer, often no internet-accessible villages and farmers get cash accounts and access to more income is a great example of brands thinking about wellness in an original way.
Wellness for all means wellness for communities, families, and individuals. It means access to better lives, healthier lives, and the tools, products, and services to live healthier, less stressed lives. For any business, it could and should be top of your thinking as to how you will grow in the future.
As we go into 2021 think about this: Take care of yourself then inspire your close ones to take care of themselves but then grow the chain and think about how your resources can help others to be well. Your business will only be better for it.
We look forward to helping you achieve better Marketing Futures in 2021.