When you hear “wellness,” a lot can come to mind. Maybe it’s eating vegetables, meditation, or work-life balance. It can evoke imagery of spas, hiking, the gym, or even a therapist's office. In short, the word “wellness” captures a lot into eight letters.
There’s no single way to stay well, but there are core components that keep us well.
Our framework makes room for the variables of human life by clearly defining and expanding on the core components of physical, mental, social, and beyond the self. With the physical body, mind, and external world linked through this framework, we can examine wellness holistically.
Four categories of wellness
Consumers prioritize wellness based on a wide range of decisions. For example, life stages such as parenthood can trigger many people to seek out products and routines to boost physical, mental or spiritual health. The categories of wellness they choose to go after can also depend on a number of factors—demographics, lifestyle, and psychographics.
Our wellness framework encompasses the variables of human life by clearly defining and expanding on the core components of physical, mental, social, and beyond the self. With the physical body, mind, and external world linked through this framework, we can holistically define and analyze wellness.
Physical: Bodily health, nutrition, fitness, and sleep
Part of staying well is keeping your body functioning. As we age, we do our best to maintain our physical bodies; bodily health, nutrition, fitness, and sleep are all part of that. With no shortage of ailments to relieve or prevent, wellness products for physical health tap into our deep desire to live long, pain-free lives. Doing yoga to maintain joint function, wanting eight hours of sleep, and getting enough vitamin B are all physical health concerns.
Mental: Coping and flow
Oftentimes, wellness is confused with wellbeing which has more of a mental health connotation. Our framework views mental health as one component that influences the physical, social, and beyond the self, but is also dictated by these three other components.
Coping and flow are our two main mental health concerns. Coping is how people deal with the trials of life—such as the loss of a loved one, a new job, or receiving bad news. Flow entails a mental state beyond coping, where someone is thriving and feeling tuned in to the world. Also described as being “in the zone,” flow helps articulate the ease at which someone moves through their life.
Social: Home management and social connectivity
Humans are social beings. Our relationships not only bring us companionship and joy, but research suggests strong social ties help us live longer. Social connectivity is the feeling of closeness and connectedness between others or in a community. Home management deals with the tasks associated with maintaining a home—like grocery shopping and maintaining relationships with others in the home.
Social concerns can stem from societal expectations of how things should be done or social pressures to conform a certain way. They can include wanting to follow home décor trends, wondering if someone is your friend, or worrying about keeping a budget.
Beyond the Self: Nature, spirituality, and sustainability
The last category deals with concerns outside of someone’s body. Though anything we think about could be perceived as “inside,” this category goes beyond the facets of wellness that form our sense of self. Our connection with nature, spirituality, and health of the earth varies by person. We can choose to connect with these parts of life to further understand ourselves through the relationship with something “other.”
Examples of concerns beyond the self include being mindful about single-use plastic, wanting to get more fresh air, or making time to practice a religion.
Why brands should care about wellness
When analyzing wellness, we’re examining the many ways in which people can be healthy or not. Ultimately everyone wants to be happy, but we achieve wellness in different ways. Wellness products solve problems that not every consumer experiences in the same way. By breaking it out into this framework, we can grasp underlying motives and get at the core of what drives people.
When brands are deciding on their next product, a number of dynamics are at play. They could be going off a gut feeling from the boss or chasing a shiny object. This can make innovating quite a challenge.
At the end of the day, every brand should be putting the consumer at the center of their new product. If their consumer cares about improving their sleep or getting focused, it is the brand’s job to create the product that helps them achieve that need state. Consumers are attracted to what will help solve their problems.