A role for brands in supporting consumers’ wellbeing? Yes, but beware the pitfalls

A role for brands in supporting consumers’ wellbeing? Yes, but beware the pitfalls

In the UK, the number of adults reporting some form of depression has doubled following the pandemic. Coupled with what’s known as the ‘January Blues’, many Brits will have started the new year feeling somewhat deflated.

As a result, maintaining positive wellbeing and self-care may prove difficult during this period. As people look to boost their mood, many are turning to brands for help.

In fact, we conducted a survey in 2020 that found almost all (97%) consumers expect brands to play a role in this area, which really highlights just how important it is for businesses to understand their customers’ fears and worries so they can engage and help in a genuine manner.

A helping hand

The big question is how brands should go about helping consumers in their approach to wellness and self-care. The most important word to remember is ‘authenticity’ – 86% of consumers say it’s a key factor when deciding which brands to engage with.

When brands are defining their role within a consumer’s wellbeing journey, they need to stay true to themselves, their purpose, values and spirit. In doing so, they can create deep purposeful connections with consumers, which in turn makes them feel empowered.

But brands must ensure they’re consistent or risk facing backlash and damage to their image. Burger King’s ‘Real Meals’ campaign aimed to raise awareness of mental illnesses but was criticised for being ill-judged and seen as an attempt to profit from mental health issues.

Similarly, countless brands promoting healthy eating have faced backlash for ignoring the affordability of such advice.

Keeping it real

Brands often make bold moves when looking to engage with consumers around wellbeing and self-care. Since launching in 2004, Dove has become known and praised for its body positive campaigns, working with celebrities like Lizzo and committing to only using real women in its campaigns, never models.

Even the smallest steps that reveal the human side of a brand will be admired and valued by consumers.

During the peak of the pandemic, Well Pharmacy launched a campaign to combat loneliness among its customers. Backed by former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, it involved letters of hope from primary school children placed into prescription bags and distributed through its pharmacy network.

Being transparent is another way brands can help. For instance, brands can celebrate and tout the provenance of their ingredients to not only reinforce health properties for consumers, but also build distinction for the brand. Many supermarkets have championed the development of new and innovative products to help customers obtain a more balanced diet.

Specifically, last year Tesco announced it was launching a new programme of reformulation to improve the health profile of products, while making changes to promotions and pricing to remove barriers to buying healthy food.

Lasting connection

Championing self-care and wellness is on the rise, as brands across the globe look to promote their products and services to a growing market of consumers who place importance on feeling healthy in body and mind.

It’s not about launching big campaigns to promote how your brand champions physical and mental health. Actions need to be meaningful, with the consumer front of mind, while staying loyal to the brand’s ethos.

The brands that are true to themselves and communicate to consumers with empathy, while taking steps to build and maintain connections with their audience, will be the ones who succeed.