The Surgery: A new column tracking the betterment trend
by Mimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) The trouble with being human is that we think too much, and the trouble with being a consumer is that we have too much to think about.
César Pelli once boldy stated that “the desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche”. Never has it been more true that we humans spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about our route to get there. The betterment trend that is sweeping the world is based in consumer’s belief that self-improvement and health, not ownership or accumulation, will lead to a more fulfilling and desirable life. Indeed, the attainment of such “betterment” now ranks amongst the factors most chased by society — it is no longer only personal, this is about status.
What makes this really interesting, however, is that, with our urban realities changing at an overwhelming rate, the race for ‘betterment’ has never been so conflicting. As if we didn’t have enough to think about, there are now more consumer messages confusing our everyday health and lifestyle choices. Is sleeping eight hours truly the answer? Should we cut out alcohol in the week? Does work/life balance really exist? Should we gym daily, bi-weekly, or is once a month enough? We have a burning desire to improve, built into our minds by evolution, but we have constant conflicting ideas as to how to do that. The world of marketing is making this ever more complex.
This fundamental clash of humanity vs brand choice is giving way to a growth in health and wellness industry with a speed never seen before. If self-improvement is one of the deepest rooted desires in human nature, and the consumer agenda for brands and products in this space has never been higher, then surely this is the industry to work in? When you see banks and insurance companies, once the most-dry of categories, dialling themselves into rewards that build upon our desire for healthier bodies and longer lives, you know this trend has gone mainstream.
Industry is opening up
As the world moves faster up the pyramid of needs and more consumers focus upon the life they really want to lead, an entire industry is opening up. Self-enhancement is a driving force for consumption and it is giving way to purchase-behaviour in categories well beyond the traditional pharmacy or fresh fruit aisles. Quite simply, health has never been more hip.
This column will track this trending industry, interrogate all its vices, and question the vast array of marketing campaigns and brands that are leveraging this mega movement for commercial gain. We’ll uncover the best, the brilliant and the downright barmy and, just perhaps, torture-test a few of the fads, claims and miracle cures along the way.
Welcome to The Surgery.
Mimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) leads global and regional brands at the GSK Fast Moving Consumer Health unit of Grey Singapore as global vice president. These views are her own and may not be attributed to the Grey Group.
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