The Well-Being Journal

Bringing the Promise of Well-Being to New Markets

Madison Agee

Once upon a time, if you thought about a person pursuing “well-being,” that may have generated a certain image in your mind: someone who has lots of disposable income, shops at Whole Foods, lives in a suburban community conducive to outdoor exercise, attends exclusive yoga classes in expensive workout wear, is likely under the age of 50 … and so on. Insight from the recent Healthways 2014 Well-Being Summit indicates that this image is rapidly changing.

At the Summit, the founders of Feel Rich, Quincy Jones III and Shawn Ullman, discussed their company’s mission to bring the message of better well-being to minority and urban communities. These markets have historically been underserved with authentic, connected messaging that educates and excites them about taking steps to improve their well-being.

To achieve their mission, the two entrepreneurs utilize engaging multimedia content delivered by hip-hop artists who are considered trustworthy messengers of change. These artists – many of whom are committed to healthy lifestyles (did you know the rapper Common is a vegan fitness enthusiast?) – promote better well-being to the African-American and Latino markets through relatable imagery and authentic language.

Jones and Ullman’s approach also allows well-being brands that are looking to gain entrance into or further penetrate these markets to connect to their target consumers in a more genuine way. For example, they spearheaded the Johnson & Johnson “Text4Baby” campaign, which provided expecting and new mothers with health advice and information for both themselves and their babies. The mothers were inspired to receive the texts with a promise of a personal lullaby for their new baby sung by actor-model-musical artist Tyrese.

Older adults, too, are tuning in to well-being in growing numbers. Joseph Coughlin of the MIT AgeLab provided the Well-Being Summit audience with an interesting overview of some of the demographics and trends of this expanding population. Generally speaking, this market:

  • Considers itself ill, but not sick — e.g., “I may have high blood pressure, but I’m doing just fine”
  • Has at least some college education
  • Values having health and ability and freedom to still live active lives
  • Is skeptical of information, preferring testimonials and advice from others like them
  • Is committed to working or required to work as long as they can — 40 percent plan to “work until they drop”
  • Is overloaded by information, which is often contradictory
  • Is relatively isolated — 30 percent of people 60+ live alone, and 70 percent of 50+ live in rural areas

Coughlin pointed out that traditional methods of delivering a well-being message to seniors, which are predicated on facts, fear and a prescriptive “this is what’s good for you” approach, don’t work. Instead, organizations and brands trying to reach this demographic should use a more fun, social-oriented framework that:

  • Leverages social networks
  • Speaks in terms of solutions, not just data
  • Encourages life performance instead of illness management
  • Is personal and authentic
  • Is constructed to enable a longer life span versus getting a senior through this life stage

Connecting with these two “non-traditional” markets for well-being products and services – urban/minority and seniors – requires that brands take a new approach. In both instances, authenticity and social engagement are critically important.

Topics: Well-Being Aging Seniors Consumers urban Well-Being Summit Minorities

Well-Being as Brand: 10 Examples

Madison Agee

Well-being is everywhere these days – people are talking, reading and thinking about it. And companies are paying attention, looking to leverage this ever-growing movement to attract new customers, grow their businesses and position themselves for future opportunity. Jennifer Pfahler, an expert in the consumer health, wellness and lifestyle market, says that well-being is now well-entrenched within the DNA of many consumer brands.

Pfahler’s recent presentation at the Healthways 2014 Well-Being Summit provided attendees with an overview of this phenomenon, including a discussion of “why well-being?” and “what’s it worth?”. To demonstrate the scope of this ever-growing trend, she offered several examples of consumer-oriented brands that are adopting well-being as part of their marketing and product strategy.

  1. Activia. Activia is marketed not only as a delicious yogurt, but one with probiotics that promote and support digestive health.
  2. bedMATCH. Spending on sleep-related products continues to grow, and bedMATCH is taking advantage of the opportunity by offering a scientifically based system for helping consumers find the right mattress for their specific needs.
  3. EVEN Hotels. IHG is launching this new brand designed to attract travelers interested in health and wellness, with features such as in-room workout options and healthy food and beverage choices.
  4. fitmob. This company uses social networking to connect individuals within a community to one another and group exercise opportunities led by a professional fitness trainer – all enhanced by a pricing structure that rewards additional workouts.
  5. iCouch. Leveraging the power of online video, iCouch allows mental health professionals to provide counseling and therapy services to individuals from the comfort of their homes.
  6. Dove. Dove’s recent marketing campaigns have centered on “Real Beauty,” encouraging self-acceptance and self-love among women of all ages, shapes, sizes and races.
  7. Oral-B. This established oral care brand has started to utilize the language of well-being to demonstrate the importance of oral health and its link to a broad range of other aspects of total well-being.
  8. CVS. This leading drugstore recently made the newsworthy decision to no longer stock or sell tobacco products in its retail outlets, despite a projected revenue loss of $2 billion per year.
  9. Kind. The brand not only uses health-conscious ingredients in its snacks, but encourages people to perform random acts of kindness and generosity – “Do the Kind Thing.”
  10. Suja. The line of cold-pressed juices is marketed as helping people “live a long, beautiful life.”

You’ve probably seen many of other examples of companies leveraging the concept and language of well-being to evolve their brands and attract consumers who are interested in a happier, more health-conscious lifestyle. According to Pfahler, doing so helps them achieve the “three Ps”:

  1. Improve their positioning, with well-being as a market differentiator
  2. Increase profits and drive commercial success
  3. Have a purpose

Pfahler believes that more B2C companies will join the well-being movement, and this will likely drive brands in the B2B space to consider a similar approach.

Topics: Well-Being Consumers Branding Well-Being Summit

Connecting Consumer Voice

Jennifer Rudloff

Man on BenchIf you were hoping to develop a program that would appeal to the interests of mac users, it’s unlikely that you’d turn to PC users for advice. The same principles apply with well-being improvement solutions: In order to develop engaging healthcare solutions we must turn to our end users and understand their attitudes and motivations. Enter Healthways Well-Being Voice™, a newly created, on-line community of over 500 working and retired healthcare consumers who express their opinions, ideas, and attitudes, describing behaviors and motivations for improving their overall health and wellness among other topics:

  • Employer benefit program structure, incentives, and rewards
  • The role of and importance of communications
  • Perceptions of existing and potential products, solutions or services as well as reactions to marketing and web content ideas

The research community fosters collaborative input from individuals at varying health risk levels who deal with any of a number of chronic conditions in areas such as emotional/behavioral health, diabetic/metabolic and cardiovascular conditions, as well as those dealing with overweight and/or obesity issues. This is one of the first on-line social communities in which all aspects of Well-Being are potentially discussed, providing rich qualitative understanding to consumers needs.

Recently, we’ve gathered and applied insights in the following areas:

  • Listening to consumer definitions of Well-Being in their own words, members discuss the important balance between physical and emotional health. People describe details to us about their views of happiness, prosperity and the important role of family, friends and enjoying the activities of their choice.
  • Members share personal stories, sometimes coupled with photos submitted from times in their lives when they took significant measures to improve their health and they detail of the factors that influenced them. This is providing Healthways added consumer perspectives about behavioral change, incentive insights and engagement that we apply into our mission to enhance Well-Being Improvement Solutions for our clients and guide the development of new markets.
  • Nearly all of our members are mentioning challenges in diet, adhering to medication, exercise regularity and for some, smoking cessation. We’re getting wonderful stories from community members. One member noted that in the years following his military service, he realized he had a tendency to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Once he returned to a more vigorous regiment of exercise, he found many health risks diminishing and his overall health improved. Another described how just a single flight of stairs resulted in shortness of breath which drove his own story of change. And another women described how the early loss of a parent resulted in personal motivation to slowly yet steadily move towards a healthier diet for her and her family.

Healthways certainly benefits from this community as we apply direct consumer voice and opinion into our suite of engaging solutions for total population health. But we’re not the only beneficiaries. The community members themselves are finding the interactions and introspections rewarding. As one commented, “It's great to find others on here where we share so much in common!” There’s no better way to learn than to learn from one another.

Topics: Market Research Workplace Well-Being Well-Being Voice Business Performance Community Needs Assessment Healthways Well-Being Voice Well-Being Improvement Solutions Healthways Wellness Program Online Community Consumers