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Feeling good?

Feeling good?

How lockdown has changed views on health and wellbeing

Elvira Arzubialde


WPP Health Practice Spain


We have all become experts in infections and pandemics, and we all now understand the link between hygiene and disease prevention. Our kitchens have for months been the center of the house, and the living rooms have become an improvised gym. Will we ever look at health and wellbeing in the same way again?

Let us start from the basis that we are talking about concepts that are very difficult to measure. There is no consensus on the meaning of either “health” or “wellbeing”, mainly because we all understand these ideas in different ways.

Yet there is no doubt that for consumers, these concepts are more relevant than ever. As Kantar Worldpanel client manager Stephanie Filleti wrote in the recently launched BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report, consumers want better health, and want to take fewer steps to achieve it. Potential solutions must be simple, understandable, and fit into the rhythm of their busy lives.

But being easy to adopt does not mean a regimen or product can be anything less than rock-solid. Now that we are experts, we have become more demanding regarding our health, and we demand brands and companies respond to our needs, help us take care of ourselves, and do so based on solid knowledge that helps us feel supported and provides a source of inspiration. This “solidity” is important because it does not only affect sales and a brand’s communication strategy, it can affect the reputation of the brand.

Wellness at work

A healthy, well employee costs employers less and is more productive. This has led companies like IBM to offer financial incentives to their employees for exercising or taking care of their diet. A Harvard School of Public Health study found that companies save more than $3 for every $1 they invest in wellness programs for employees.

Wunderman Thompson Data’s Anxiety Index states that 89 percent of Americans believe that the government needs the help of companies to combat COVID-19, and that companies have a responsibility to help.

At the same time, consumers have increasingly established direct contact with food producers, looking perhaps for healthier options, a more sustainable supply chain or simply a reliable source of food when normal systems are interrupted. In the UK, YouGov estimates that since the pandemic began, more than 3 million people have ordered vegetables directly from the producer for the first time. Similar phenomena have been observed in Germany, France, the US and here in Spain. For whatever reason, it seems this is a trend that has come to stay.

Brands have been responding to these new consumer demands. Taco Bell now offers a veggie menu; Burger King has burgers made without artificial ingredients. Food is being made with ingredients that can contribute to better health and help consumers contribute to a more sustainable planet. Health is a benefit that is incorporated into what brands are offering because, quite simply, today’s consumer demands it.

Yet this is a confusing environment, without consensus on the meaning of the terms health and wellbeing, in which we have all become “experts” and are seeking solutions to better health that fit in with our lifestyle.

So how can brands differentiate themselves in this challenging and demanding market for health and wellness? Expert input and opinion, scientific rigor in communications messages for different stakeholders, and innovation can make the difference for brands and companies. Creativity and innovation working together to transform people’s health and wellbeing.