Aaron Haynes, Strategist

In the first blog of our series, we explored the business risks and the leadership behaviours needed immediately to address employee wellbeing and prevent burnout.

In this edition we pass the mic to Aaron Haynes, strategist at dentsu, to explore how wellbeing as a trend is being pushed to critical mass and the opportunities for brands to be part of the solution through a strategic marketing perspective. We also get a client’s perspective from Tony Miller, Marketing Director at WW International, about their 2020 learnings. 

The Opportunity for brands

More people are proactively leaning into the topic of health with a growing definition of wellness: more than just the body, but also the mind and they work together.

Wellbeing is becoming more of an everyday theme, with smaller nudges replacing big one-off lifestyle overhauls. We’re seeing a lot of barriers to access being broken down in the democratisation of a luxury that has once been the preserve of the wealthy elite.

A lot of this is being accelerated by the context we’re in, with Covid reminding us that changing our behaviour when we need to is too late. The best defence against serious illness is our health and we need to invest in it.

There’s a growing appreciation that Wellness is a balance between diet, exercise, and mental health and how the three are connected. For instance, we’ve seen a lot of people swap things like diets with meditation – that we need to look after own mental health as a priority before we embark on anything else.

People are finding the idea of overhauling their health daunting. With tons of restrictions and rules, people are finding that the smallest changes are having the biggest differences – like a daily lunchtime walk, or Joe Wicks’ 15min HIIT workouts.

Lastly, a lot of restrictions have accelerated a change in accessibility to Wellness. With suppression on things like gym classes and wellness retreats, technology had had a chance to catch up. Over 50% of UK adults have now downloaded some sort of health app – often asking little in both time, money & contract.

Wellbeing now represents an industry worth $4.5 trillion and is growing at double the pace of the global economy. Wellbeing is becoming ‘the new purpose’ for brands – with big shifts happening in society, 73% of adults are now expecting brands to keep pace with this emerging area of importance to them.

Tony Miller, Marketing Director at WW International (formerly Weight Watchers) shared how WW has been working from a behavioural science approach for 57 years, transitioning two years ago from a focus on weight loss to exploring holistic wellbeing and democratising wellness so it is available to everyone.

Some 2020 learnings and insights from WW include their success in pivoting quickly to a digital delivery, as 70% of their membership was used to having in-person support. In six days, they were able to provide all of their members with online support via Zoom, training up their teams at pace for business continuity.

Demonstrating to their existing and potential members that health and wellbeing is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. And “diet” is no longer just about the food you put in your mouth – it’s how you treat your body, how much sleep you get, and more.

Research conducted by WW during Lockdown 1 showed 50% of Brits gained weight, 50% became more anxious, and 50% were less active – but coming out of lockdown, 50% wanted to lose weight and be more active. We’ve built challenges and competitions such as Walk to Wellness to grow their community and made activity fun. Anyone can join – not just members. https://www.weightwatchers.com/uk/walk-wellness

We supported our membership base to raise awareness and tackle the global issue of food waste by creating a recipe wizard that suggests healthy recipes based on the ingredients in your fridge.

Let’s co-create the solutions that will shape the world we share. Get an invite to the next Forum by signing up here.

Visit our Social Impact Hub where you can view examples of dentsu’s work with clients to accelerate the delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You can also find out more about our Social Impact Strategy here.