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  • James De Bond

IS THE NEW HEALTHY, UNHEALTHY?

Updated: Jun 5, 2022

Over the last two years, some have pursued healthier habits, by eating healthier, exercising either at home or by joining a fitness class or a gym, while others have chosen to drink more, eat more takeaway food, or embrace a more sedentary life. Interestingly, technology has become both an enabler and a disabler of health depending on the individual. With that in mind here are 8 health-related themes that may be right for your brand to embrace:


The opportunity for idleness


More time at home has seen more time on devices, more time gaming or on social media and less time actually being social.


Today’s reality is that people can order pretty much everything they need online without ever having to leave the house. Sounds great in principle, however by losing real interaction we run a greater risk of losing our connection to the local community. How can your brand reconnect people in the real world?


(To better understand the larger impacts of digitally led isolation we recommend watching Noreena Hertz on The Lonely Century | WIRED Briefings - YouTube).


Mind your wellness


Unsurprisingly, health is now as much mental as it is physical. Meditation is on the rise, especially for those who spent so much time inside during lockdown, with both digital and real-world solutions readily available.


Can a digital only solution truly deliver mindfulness though?


Health Insurance providers seem to think so, having jumped into this area as a value add to offset those ever-rising premiums. Optus also embraced the wellness space, with subscribers to Optus Sport gaining access to Optus fitness too, with HITT, Yoga and many more classes available on demand.


Snackable workouts


The trend for content on demand has extended to how people choose to work out, with many Australians choosing to squeeze in a short workout when they might not have in the past.


This is a great trend, and one that has been powered by flexibility of working from home. It will be interesting to see whether this trend falls away as we eventually move back to the office, and staff move back from casualwear to work attire. Alternatively, are there clothing brands that can bridge the gap to facilitate a flexible working lifestyle?


You can’t touch this


A third of Australians are stressed, yet they’re no longer heading for a massage where close contact is required. Instead, they’re looking at alternative solutions such as hyperbaric chambers and float tanks as they seek a space free of noise.


These sensory depriving triggers could also be a signal to bring in new sensory triggers to aid the consumer’s journey. One example from the US is Lays, the PepsiCo-owned potato chips brand, which used the power of sound – its signature crunch – across social media channels to drive a 17% increase in sales on e-commerce channels.


A literal example of touch being replaced is through Haptic technology, where Telecommunications company Vodafone used haptic technology to demonstrate the low latency, capability to transfer masses of data, and lack of time lag on its new 5G network.

They did this by creating the world’s first ‘haptic tackle’. One rugby player stood on stage in London wearing a state-of-the-art Tesla Haptic suit. His teammate more than 100 miles away tackled a haptically-enabled training bag, the impact of which was felt by the rugby player in London, in real-time.


It’s a safe bet to say that Haptic technology will play its role in the rise of the metaverse.


Casual Mobile Gaming


Mobile gaming globally increased 12% in 2020, as it became part of the solution to destress through distraction over the last two years. According to App Annie, the amount Australians are spending on mobile gaming apps is up 65% in 2 years and is now the fourth highest figure in the world!


Should mobile gaming be a habit that brands should be deterring or encouraging? It will probably depend on where the lines of social responsibility lie, and that’s a discussion for another time.


Gymtimidation is holding back Aussies


Despite an overwhelming interest in health and wellness in 2022, knowing it’s important to work out and doing it are very different. How can brands close the gap between behaviour and aspiration for better alignment. For those familiar with the movie ‘Dodgeball’ it may be time to be more Average Joes versus Globo Gym. Instead of projecting this manufactured image of the body beautiful, can you help people make positive changes in the context of reality?


Walking your way to health


It’s great to see that the outdoor activity of walking (already a huge Australian pastime) has seen a big uptake, as over half of the population got moving. Roy Morgan research found that 11 million Australian adults regularly go for a vigorous stroll, an increase of about 850,000 since 2020.


Despite this increase, walking doesn’t get the same love from brands, acting primarily as a mechanic for charity fundraising. Put your hands up if you do Steptember.


How can you bring walking into your business, as way to improve employee health, or to connect with local communities? Nike cemented their place in the London community, through their 10km Run London program. It even went on to pitch North V South, adding a layer of gamification.


Fitness trackers on the rise


Currently 1 in 5 Aussies use a tracker to collect health information. However, there have been some unanticipated and potentially negative effects on psychological health, with our data obsession leading to an increase in anxiety in predisposed persons.


Let’s be honest, as marketers we are obsessed by data, so the goal as in fitness is to understand which data is the right indicator for your health, and your brand health. An elevated heart rate isn’t necessarily bad if you know the reason why.


And that’s my 8, so I’m off to my hyperbaric chamber to clear my head.

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