In a stressful world, it's no wonder that people are drawn to the idea of "wellness." According to The Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry grew by 10% to $3.7 trillion between 2013 and 2015-while the global economy shrank by 3.6%. It's one of the world's fastest-growing industries, and as we move through 2018, it's showing no signs of slowing down.
For those in the wellness industry (and aspiring startups), this is both good and bad. Consumers are more aware than ever of the benefits of good sleep, a good diet and activities like yoga, and they're seeking new ways to improve their health and productivity. Along with this increased awareness, however, comes the fact that wellness brands must fight for attention in an extremely competitive market.
Even a small glance at Instagram is enough to illuminate the ubiquity of food and fitness gurus. So how can you, in a market that's perhaps best described as "visually noisy," give your brand the best chance of standing out?
Determine your brand's visual strategy and be consistent
We all understand the desire to get your brand out there, and it's natural to want to jump straight into social media to put your brand in front of as many people as you can. However, there's huge value in taking a deep breath and considering your content strategy.
The reality of modern marketing-much of which takes place in the digital realm-is that you have to create far more content than businesses had to in the past. For example, you might decide on:
- 3+ daily tweets
- 2 Facebook posts
- An Instagram photo
- An Instagram or Snapchat story
- A weekly blog
- Occasional guest blogs
That wouldn't be an unusual workload, and it sits on top of all the ongoing work you're already doing. Not only that, it needs to be compelling and engaging for your audience. Add to this your print marketing, website design, and everything else you have to consider, and you are looking at a huge amount of content.
It's easy to see how you can lose consistency and quality control without careful planning and brand guidelines, which is where a platform like Lucidpress can help keep everyone aligned. Just ask brands like Bar Method and Club Pilates:
How do you manage your brand across multiple locations?
So where do you start?
Of course, defining your brand strategy is easier said than done. It helps to look at what else is out there. You'll likely fall into a certain sector of wellness-like fitness, diet, alternative therapies or life coaching-each of which has its own norms that can be surprisingly hard to move away from.
Many fitness brands are overtly masculine with a palette of striking primary colors, photos of sweating brows and ripped abs, and a "no pain, no gain" mentality. Others take a gentler approach. Aspirational images of yoga performed in stunning landscapes is everywhere; you'll often find it accompanied by encouraging language which values self-esteem and "finding yourself."
Meditation tends to be pastel-shaded and broadly spiritual. Food brands are fresh-faced, brightly lit and often obsessed with avocados. None of this is bad, of course, and some elements may suit your brand perfectly. The trick is to incorporate inspiration from other brands while avoiding imitation and finding your own particular voice-and avoiding clichés as much as possible.
Don't be afraid to show personality
One common theme in the wellness market is a tone of earnest sincerity. While it's vital that you do sincerely believe in your product and its potential to improve the lives of others, one way to stand out from the crowd is not to let this fact prevent you from showing a little personality.
For example, try not to be too high-handed and "guru-y." As an expert and leader in your field, your authority on these subjects should be clear. Being friendly, personable and letting some humor shine through won't detract from this. Social media has changed the game for brands; being strictly professional is unlikely to catch anyone's attention.
The visual language you use for your brand can be as fun, interactive and enjoyable as you want to set it apart from the dominant and blandly perfect images of "clean" living. Be public with your personality and enthusiasm for your brand and product.
Use science, don't abuse it
One accusation often leveled at the wellness industry is the flippant and misguided use of scientific language in order to substantiate dubious claims. This can seem rather unfair, but unfortunately, a few high-profile cases have helped cement this view.
What's especially unfortunate is that there's so much legitimate science to back up the benefits of wellness practices. With a little effort, it's easy to avoid the traps of bad science.
- When you hear scientific information from news articles, make sure to read the original studies. Journalists aren't usually trained in scientific language and can sometimes misrepresent the findings. There have even been cases of journalists writing an article based on the work of another journalist.
- Recognize that different studies hold different weight. Look for the sample size, whether the methodology is well-supported and makes sense, and whether they were funded by organizations with vested interests.
- If some of your evidence is anecdotal, don't be afraid to say so. Take the vegan diet as an example; it is demonstrably healthy in many ways and has both environmental and ethical merit. However, anyone trying to prove that it's irrefutably the best diet for everyone is going to have a hard time, and they'll likely spend their days arguing with others over opposing studies that suggest this isn't true. If you have a great story to share, distinguishing between scientific study and what you believe through your own experiences is ultimately far more convincing.
Don't maintain a social presence just because
It's a near-fact of modern branding that you have to be on social media. However, a brand can get so busy that their social media presence becomes a half-hearted nod to the power of these platforms. This doesn't mean you should shut down your branded accounts, though. It just means you have to think about them a little more.
The best place to start is to consider your own social media use. What motivates you to follow certain accounts? Why do you take the time to engage? If you look at your content and can't find a reason why you would bother to like, comment or share it outside of your professional life, then it probably isn't going to interest anyone in your target market, either.
Social media isn't just a platform on which to post a series of promotions. A hard truth that every marketer has to swallow is that most people hate ads. What they do appreciate is being entertained, learning something new, or finding information relevant to them. With this in mind, before posting something to social media, consider whether:
- It will prove interesting to your audience. Is it funny, informative or entertaining? Is the imagery visually striking, beautiful or unexpected? Does it communicate your brand values?
- You actually find it interesting yourself. It's important to notice when you're posting "dead content" simply to fill up space or because you feel like you have to.
- You're alternating promotional content with expert guides, behind-the-scenes insights, influencers' content, and competitions. Your promotional content should be engaging in its own right.
The world of wellness is by no means oversaturated, and there's much to be said for brands who want to provide people with tools and knowledge that will profoundly improve their lives. By finding your unique voice, your brand will naturally stand apart from the crowd.