Can a Wellness Program Turn Your Brand into a “Wellness Brand”?

Can a Wellness Program Turn Your Brand into a “Wellness Brand”?

It’s early 2021, and everyone is thinking about wellness.

The results of a recent global survey by marketing icon Ogilvy prove it. When Ogilvy polled 7,000 consumers across four continents and 14 countries, 77% of respondents said wellness is “very or extremely important to them.”

73% of people say wellness should be an essential element of a brand’s strategy.

This percentage may not be shocking, especially considering the world has been in the depths of a health crisis for over a year. But the Ogilvy study contained a more surprising and revealing statistic: According to the poll, 73% of people say wellness should be an essential element of a brand’s strategy.

It doesn’t matter what your organization does, says Ogilvy’s Global Health and Wellness Practice Lead in a statement to the press, “Every brand can be a wellness brand now.”

Why Every Brand Should Be a Wellness Brand

Consumers, of course, expect companies in health and health-related fields—such as gyms, skincare brands, and food and beverage makers—to prioritize wellness.

But according to the Ogilvy survey, 52% of people “expect cars, banks or airlines to offer wellness options—almost equal to the snack food category.”

Here are a few more reasons (taken from the Ogilvy report) to consider yourself in the wellness business, regardless of your industry:

  • 59% of people agree it’s worth paying more for wellness options.
  • 67% say there should be more wellness options, no matter what they’re shopping for.
  • 75% of respondents say brands could do more to help them with their wellness.

After a full year (and counting) of being acutely aware of health, consumers are asking brands: “What are you doing to keep customers and your community well?” And they want answers.

What Do Consumers Expect from Wellness Brands?

In 2021, “wellness” has expanded beyond physical health. Wellness isn’t even always about the well-being of individuals.

Ogilvy points out that its study found that the concept of wellness is less self-centered than it once was:

"More and more, people tell us they can’t feel well if they don’t feel connected or if they don’t contribute to making the world a better place."

According to the survey, 71% of respondents said a wellness brand should make a positive difference. 60% said they should get a sense of purpose from a wellness brand. And over half—53%—said a brand should help them feel connected.

The Ogilvy study identified four facets of wellness: physical, psychological, social, and purposeful. (These are similar to the six dimensions of well-being we’ve discussed previously: emotional, financial, occupational, social, physical, and purpose.)

The takeaway is that you don’t have to sell exercise equipment or multivitamins: If your customers feel that your brand contributes to the well-being of people, that makes you a wellness brand.

You don’t have to sell exercise equipment or multivitamins: If your customers feel that your brand contributes to the well-being of people, that makes you a wellness brand.

Tips for Becoming a Trusted Wellness Brand

How can you demonstrate to your customers, and your employees, that you will put their wellness first, as well as

1. Show You Respect Your Customers’ Safety Concerns

Different people have varying levels of risk and risk tolerance when it comes to COVID-19. Some people are comfortable entering stores to shop, while others prefer the controlled confines of their homes and vehicles.

As the pandemic persists, you can show your customers you understand their concerns by continuing to offer a variety of ways to patronize your business, such as curbside pickup, online ordering, and contactless delivery.

It should go without saying that you should always follow the guidelines and regulations set by your local authorities relating to wearing masks, social distancing, occupancy limits, and other prevention measures. Your customers should feel safe and confident as possible doing business with you.

2. Integrate Wellness into Your Messaging—But Keep it Real

Becoming a wellness brand is a genuine marketing opportunity for companies in all fields. Don’t be afraid to talk about health and well-being issues that resonate with your customers in your advertising, online content, and other outreach efforts.

Only 41% of Ogilvy’s respondents said wellness promises from brands are typically believable.

However, be careful to avoid “wellness washing.” Consumers do not take kindly to brands that portray themselves as wellness-oriented but are actually nothing of the sort. Only 41% of Ogilvy’s respondents said wellness promises from brands are typically believable. Another 53% said they have trouble telling the difference between real and fake wellness claims.

It’s important to earn your customers’ trust by being authentic when you talk about wellness. Don’t make promises unless you intend to follow up on them, and don’t make empty gestures for the sake of good PR.

For example, a Fast Company article looks at an airline that teamed up with a sanitizing wipe maker to promote healthy travel during the pandemic. However, another airline took concrete steps such as keeping every other seat open and banning passengers without masks.

Despite the lack of a brand-name cleaning product endorsement, the second airline “seems to be winning,” Fast Company writes, “because the airline put people, not profits, first.”

3. Promote a Wellness Culture Internally

You can’t project an authentic wellness-oriented image outward if your company isn’t focused on wellness internally. When your employees value their own health and well-being—and the health and well-being of their colleagues—that attitude filters through to your customers. Customers can sense when an employer takes care of its people.

Customers can sense when an employer takes care of its people.

A corporate wellness program will help you build a culture of wellness among your team members. A good wellness program can:

  • Unite your employees to work toward shared fitness goals. This can lead to more positivity and better teamwork, which can improve the customer experience.
  • Provide resources to help your employees manage their stress and achieve their health goals. Less-stressed employees are more pleasant for your customers to deal with.
  • Offer wellness coaching and guidance to help your employees identify purposeful, difference-making objectives such as contributing to local causes or protecting the environment.

A high-quality wellness program will also help attract driven employees who share the values of your company and your customers. These people will become your brand’s frontline wellness ambassadors to the world.

If you would like to discuss the brand-boosting benefits of an employee wellness program with the experts at WellRight, contact us today.

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