Article originally published in MediaPost's Engage:Moms on 2/13/14.
The rise in consumer awareness, attention, and desire for a healthy lifestyle is unmistakable, and U.S. consumer spending for health- and wellness-related products now exceeds billions of dollars each year. Brands in all kinds of vertical categories are seeking ways to tap into this megatrend. We recently partnered with Ipsos OTX to study the attitudes and behaviors of U.S. women between the ages of 18 and 40 who are pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Based on our findings, we’ve created a guide to help marketers to navigate around this trend and effectively connect with women who are on the road to healthy living.
1. Keep It Fresh: No magic elixir exists to help women achieve instant health, so leading a healthy lifestyle can over time begin to feel like an elusive goal. That’s why 86% of women say they struggle to stay on top of the latest healthy living trends and have a hard time distinguishing fads from truths. Brands can help women separate fact from fiction by offering relevant, timely, and, most importantly, accurate advice that comes from a trusted resource. Topic-area experts and other influencers with a demonstrated expertise can be helpful gatekeepers who “keep it fresh” and help women make smart, informed choices.
2. Inspire Her: Living a healthy life is a marathon, not a sprint, and women can find themselves stuck in fitness and nutrition ruts that lead to poor choices. Over 60% of women seek help to improve their current workout routine, and brands that connect with women on a deeper level by providing relevant content, inspiration, and emotional support to help “inspire her” can become beloved resources and trusted allies on the road to a healthy life.
3. Support Her Causes: While their journey is ultimately an individual one, women are deeply connected with causes and reward brands that actively support their causes. Over 80% of women are more likely to purchase a product if that purchase benefits a cause they care about, and brands that “support her causes” allow women to take pride in the purchases they make, which can deepen the consumer brand relationship, increase a woman’s willingness to share their messages socially, and ideally positively impact future sales.
4. Think Mobile First: According to Pew Research Center, 88% of women in the U.S. own a cell phone and 53% of women own a smartphone. Our findings showed that nearly 50% of women prefer to consume healthy living content via their mobile device yet often find existing content lacking. Brands need to “think mobile first” and create compelling content, drive product trial, and build long-lasting, meaningful relationships with women who always have their mobile device handy.
5. Make Content Snackable and Sharable: An important part of thinking mobile first is understanding how the nature of content consumption has changed. Social discovery is the new SEO; 44% of women follow brands that actively share healthy living content, and 45% have shared content that was originally posted by a brand. Brands should lean into this trend to create “snackable and sharable content” that inspires, fosters a sense of community, and ignites motivation, such as short-form instructional videos, meal planning guides, pinnable motivational content, and individual success stories.
Of course, none of the above recommendations will resonate with women unless a brand first establishes a foundation of trust and authenticity. Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship and brands that help women make smart, informed choices will see those efforts repaid in increased brand affinity, loyalty and sales.