Riding the wellness wave


Who are the key players and how can they attract new audiences?

Yesterday marked World Health Day, and in recognition of that, CSM's James Cardona has taken an in-depth look at the wellness revolution currently redefining the marketing industry. Read on to find out how innovative technologies and new partnerships are helping wellness brands reach new audiences. 

A phenomenal rise
A few years ago, you would be forgiven for not knowing what Cannabidiol (CBD) was. The naturally occurring legal extract of the Cannabis plant has the alleged ability to cure everything from muscle aches to anxiety to arthritis. Today, it is available on the high-street and usage is soaring. CBD can be found as an active ingredient of creams, oils, tablets bath bombs and even dog treats! This phenomenal rise has led to a host of new entrants into the market - even England Rugby star George Kruis has launched his own brand, fourfive CBD.
CBD is part of the wider wellness world – a world that has seen a phenomenal rise. ‘Wellness tourism’, ‘the Spa economy’, nutritional supplements, mindfulness and multiple kinds of yoga – the list goes on. Fashion or fads? Call them what you like, but the world of wellness cannot be ignored.

What is Wellness?
Literally speaking, “wellness” is the opposite to “illness” – feeling good, being fit and healthy. However, there is much more to it - wellness is multidimensional. The National Wellness Institute promotes six dimensions of wellness: emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual. Essentially, all round goodness – mind, body and soul.
As a whole, the wellness industry is valued at $4.2 trillion and has grown enormously over the past few years.

New technologies
According to the Global Wellness Insitute, “once a luxury or ‘add-on’, wellness is now being infused into every aspect of daily life – from how people work to how they travel.” 
This change in consumer attitudes towards holistic wellness has opened the door for many new trends and brands.  As with many industries, the use of technology has changed everything. Some of the key technological advancements in the industry are as follows:
Immersive Fitness Tech: A category built upon two key insights; people are too embarrassed to attend public fitness classes and people can’t find the time for classes in their busy schedules.

Immersive fitness technology brings the motivational aspects of going to a gym class into the privacy of your own home. The key market leader is a brand called Peloton. Peloton sells luxury exercise bikes that allow users to stream spinning classes from the company's fitness studio through a monthly subscription service. Each bike is fitted with a 22-inch HD sweat proof touchscreen. Other brands such as Mirror and Fiit are also key players.
Wearable Tech: Pedometers and other basic step-trackers are things of the past. The doors have been opened to a wave of new wearable technology. Research firm Forrester found that millennials and Gen Z combined account for 69% of all fitness wearable owners. So, for brands, incorporating wearables into campaigns can be a great way to target younger audiences. One brand that has done it well is Motiv. Worn as a ring on your finger, the Motiv is said to fit seamlessly into your life. With the ability to accurately track heart-rate, steps and monitor sleep patterns, Motiv is the stylish answer to wearable tech.

Sports partnerships
As we have seen, the rise in wellness has led to a wave of start-up brands. These new brands can find it hard to break out of the wellness bubble and attract new audiences to increase mass market appeal. One way in which brands have successfully done this is with sports partnerships.
Seedlip: the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit born out of the sober-conscious movement.
There is now more awareness than ever about the dangers of alcohol addiction and the health risks heavy drinking can cause; millennials are now drinking less alcohol than ever before. Seedlip was created to answer that key question of “what to drink when you’re not drinking”.
In order to reach new shores and attract new audiences, Seedlip signed a global partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and the marriage of narratives certainly fits well – both are premium brands with a shared commitment to innovation & technical excellence. Activation of the partnership has been limited to-date with the F1 season only just kicking off but there is a role for the product in Mercedes’ premium hospitality, as Seedlip cocktails will be served in all Mercedes’ Grand Prix hospitality suites.
Johnnie Walker have long been associated with Formula 1 and their “Join The Pact” Drink-Driving awareness campaign has been a huge success. It will be interesting to see if the Seedlip deal manages to further transform the Motorsport world’s attitudes to alcohol brands.

Simba: The importance of sleep and its key health benefits have been repeated loud and clear in recent times – not only the physical benefits but for mental wellbeing too. This has led to a host of “Craft” mattress companies taking on the traditional players. Casper, Eve and Leesa have all made a splash in the market.

Key player, Simba Sleep, claim to have created the world’s best mattress. The Simba Hybrid incorporates five layers of comfort all technically engineered and rigorously tested.

Previous campaigns have featured the likes of Real Madrid mega-star, Gareth Bale, but Simba have now signed a three-year commercial partnership with Gallagher Premiership club, Saracens. As “Official Sleep Partner”, the Simba logo will feature on the player’s shorts and across other club assets, both online and offline.

With recovery a huge part of the game, Simba will provide their knowledge and expertise to benefit the team and the potential for engaging content and product testing is huge. Simba can cleverly use Saracens and their IP as a case study for Simba products and a way to best demonstrate their capabilities.

As quoted in a recent Forbes article“brands that will have the biggest impact are ones that will make it accessible to more people to live a balanced life” and sports partnerships can certainly help this. The popularity of sport provides unrivalled reach to new audiences but it’s how these partnerships are activated that will be key.
Partnerships are no longer just about awareness and reach but, instead, need to take consumers through-the-funnel. For the likes of Simba and Seedlip, having their logo visible is just the first step. They need to create engaging content and display tangible product benefits. This will help drive sales and create customer loyalty.
We will, undoubtedly, see many more partnerships between wellness brands and sports properties but activating in a meaningful way that mirrors the wellness industry’s good intentions is the key to success.