When it comes to making changes to health and wellness behaviors sometimes people need a little push. Changing your consumers’ habits is not an easy thing to do; oftentimes it requires some coaching. The tricky part is giving just the right amount of support in the right way to truly engage your consumer and make them advocates of your brand for a lifetime.
Consumer marketing in the health and wellness space is rising and consumers’ expectations in general are changing. For example, online ratings (Yelp, HealthGrades, etc.) often mention service, in particular whether there was a connection to a provider, not health outcomes. Health and wellness consumers are looking for good health and support that aligns with their values. They no longer automatically trust a brand and want positive engagement when they interact with a brand. A recent Mintel study showed 56% of U.S. consumers stop buying from brands they perceive as unethical.
Health and wellness marketers need to understand the Conscious Consumer who is paying close attention to a brand’s values to ensure they align with their own. Conscious Consumers:
- Put thought into their purchasing decisions.
- Consider how their consumption impacts themselves, their family, their community and the world at large.
- Factor in issues of health, environment and social responsibility when deciding what to buy.
- Take into account value-added attributes brands have to offer. Basically, bonus points. For example, if a person is debating between two different products or services, a Conscious Consumer will choose the option that provides an added bonus of being socially responsible and aligning with their beliefs.
For health and wellness brands, Conscious Consumers are looking to brands to help them make better choices that can lead to behavior change. Consumers need and are very open to a brand acting as a coach to help guide them into healthier living. Coaching provides relief and makes it easier for consumers who have a desire to do the right thing.
In a Clarity Coverdale Fury Mintel conducted study, nearly half of all survey respondents stated that lack of willpower was the number one reason that they abandoned healthy lifestyle changes. In other words, people need a good coach to keep them motivated and to help them achieve their goals as efficiently as possible.
Brands have the opportunity to coach by establishing communities, providing education and sponsoring events geared toward helping people improve themselves. By providing these tools that help consumers stay on track, both the brand and consumer are positioned to win.
Brands have the opportunity to coach by establishing communities, providing education and sponsoring events.
Ideally, the goal is to turn Conscious Consumers into lifelong brand loyalists through coaching. Consumers simply being aware of your brand or purchasing your product or service won’t be enough to create a long-term relationship.
A few recognizable health and wellness brands that are successfully connecting with Conscious Consumers and building loyalists are:
Mayo Clinic’s app is a straightforward example of how an organization can appeal to Conscious Consumers and help coach them in practicing healthier lifestyle habits. The app includes easy-to-use features helping patients make appointments, view lab results, and keep medications in check. In addition, patients are able to send care teams messages, track their own nutrition and access Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program that includes a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach. And to keep it user friendly, individuals can now access their information using popular fingerprint-scanning technology.
Lululemon is known around the world as a leader in quality exercise clothing. Beyond providing clothing to inspire healthy active lifestyles, Lululemon provides complimentary ways for customers to “sweat together.” Listed online and in-store, Lululemon offers customers the opportunity to join group workout classes free of charge. In addition, they offer “Inspiration,” motivational stories and connections to coaches, to help inspire their consumers to be active. Lululemon’s added value to their products, creating community and inspiration, is a reason for consumers to remain loyal to the brand.
Nike offers the Nike+ Run Club app. The app creates a sense of community among members, allowing people to track and share runs, encourage each other, record stats, set challenges and receive coaching. The app does not require a Nike purchase, but it’s a perfect example of a brand that builds loyalty through a value-added offering and free coaching. A positive experience with the Run Club app may lead to apparel and shoe purchases, or greater participation in health tracking through the NikeFuel fitness tracker wearable device.
These days, consumers have a wide variety of coaching options, giving them the ability to pick and choose the coaching style, formats and philosophies that work for them on their schedules. The foundation to building Conscious Consumer loyalty through coaching is understanding your consumers’ values and offering a value-add that satisfies your consumers’ needs. Marketers to Conscious Consumers are successful when they not only sell a consumer a product or service, but support a lifestyle.
Rob Rankin is the President and CEO of Clarity Coverdale Fury.
This article first appeared in MediaPost and in MediaPost’s Marketing Daily newsletter.