Where does the light shine in? Eight Considerations for fostering a healthy wellness business?
Condensed from the original article published 10-Nov-2020 by Anne McCall Wilson, McCall & Wilson. Reprinted with permission
This pandemic changed us and only a rear-view mirror will tell us how and how much. Habits and trends have been created, disturbed, accelerated, and obliterated. The global experience is one of economic shock, geopolitical complexities, social instability, and the loud voice of nature and all while navigating a global pandemic.
So, with a question inspired by Bob Dylan – where does the light shine in?
Many believe that a net winner in all of this is wellness with the increased focus on self-care, immunity building, mental health, and a healthy lifestyle.
Yet, some say the wellness industry itself may never return to its pre-Covid-19 levels.
We can accept and plan for a downturn, downsizing, and a downright disheartening future OR we can think of this time as a metamorphosis and we engage our curiosity, creativity, and resilience to find the light – the new opportunities.
Here are 8 observations for possible changes that could affect our wellness way forward. Consumer behavior, the importance of wellness experiences, lifestyle priorities, purchasing decisions and even our intrinsic values are all being reshaped.
1. INCREASE IN PREVENTION BUT IN WELLNESS BUSINESS?
The hyper awareness of cleanliness and hygiene practices is unprecedented and completely touchless environments are on the rise. Cleaning supplies have empty shelves, but new high-tech solutions are on the rise from UV cleaning light technology for hotel rooms and hospitals, Molly Maid robots and sanitizing closets and lockers. There are even personal air purifiers to wear.
Immunity has become more important than just as a prize on a game show! People are adopting self-care as one big way to cope with the pandemic and regain a sense of control.
- Are your current offerings meeting the needs of wellness aware consumer?
- What do you need to eliminate or build to increase the size of the wellness aware consumer?
- Have you addressed mental wellness and are you spending creative time being curious about your relevance?
- How can you connect with your customers at home?
2. A HIGHER VALUE ON NATURE – SUSTAINABLE NOT ENOUGH
The pandemic has introduced a whole new dimension to nature – a true safe space. We escape outside to fresh air, to breathe deeply and safely. We stargaze, forest bath, walk a path in meditation, and even reset our circadian rhythms naturally. We are mindful of the positive effect nature has on our mental health at a time of social isolation.
We are acutely aware of the fires in Australia and California taking our trees and filling the air with smoke for 1000’s of miles. We are conscious of the record named storms and the recovered greenery from space after the factory shutdowns in China. We notice the cessation of tourism has resulted in the clearing of Venice canals that now have fish!
This is what touches us. It is more tangible and emotional than hearing panel experts on “climate change” and an “environmental movement” that has often been fear-based and politicized.
- How can we incorporate nature in our businesses – even when you cannot directly access the outdoors?
- What can be done to connect customers to nature in a more intentional healing way?
- What products, services, facilities, causes, or partners need to be reimagined or added to embrace the love of nature?
3. RECOGNITION OF NATURE AS THE NEW SPACE ODYSSEY
The health threats posed from being too close have redefined our “personal space”! Will we forevermore be acutely aware of the 6-foot or 2-meter rule? Density on a micro and macro scale is shaping communities and social space layouts. Will social spas, wellness clubs be a thing of the past even recognizing the health benefits from sharing experiences with family and friends?
- Will wellness lead the way for inspired indoor health environments?
- Will a sense of space become the equal partner to a sense of place in travel?
- How can wellness approaches and reimagining space help revitalize vibrant and exciting cities now experiencing a mass exodus to the suburbs or working from home? How can the wellness industry lead?
4. EMERGING REGENERATIVE TRAVEL MAY HELP TRAVEL AS AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE
The travel industry is struggling and likely the most affected global industry due to the pandemic. Financial constraints both personal and business, employers managing health and travel costs and risks for its employees, geopolitical instability, travel insurance cost for Covid coverage and environmental activism may all negatively affect travel for many years. Those who want to travel are predicted to stay closer to home and others may be “staycationers” at least in the short term.
Emerging trends include illness prevention, valuing space and nature, and a longing for connection may be where the light shines is for reimagining wellness travel. Concepts for regenerative travel – leaving places better vs just doing no harm may be regenerative for wellbeing too.
- Is your destination or wellness business engaged in thinking about regenerative travel?
- Is purpose the new badge of honor for vacation stories?
- How can your business contribute to a well destination?
- Does your offering appeal to the conscious, discerning wellness traveler?
5. CONNECTION – INWARD, OUTWARD, AND INCREASINGLY UPWARD
Human connection is a physical and psychological need. That need has never been more apparent- to connect to our family and friends, to our community and even to something greater than ourselves
The pandemic is providing us with time to look not only outward but inward—and upward too in a spiritual sense. These shifts will likely last longer than pandemic restrictions.
Brands can contribute with tools that foster human-to-human interactions and nourish companionship.
- How do we touch someone emotionally in a time when we cannot touch?
- How do we make a touchless experience feel connected when “reach out and touch someone” is generally through Zoom?
- How do we nourish partnerships, adapt brands, and connect with communities that we cannot visit?
6. WELLNESS INDUSTRY POSITION OF TRUST REWARDED
The wellness industry has a long history of truly wanting to make the world a better place – one caring business at a time and for the most part has been perceived that way. This perception may be our future as consumers increasingly align their considered purchases with their values and beliefs. Company ethics, value statements, historical treatment of customers and employees, selected charities and causes and even their supply chains are under significant scrutiny. The well life is outpacing the desire for the high life.
Partnerships, co-creating products or services with customers, increased curiosity, and response to customer data in real time are critical. People want a business or brand to believe in and “conscious capitalism” is a growing sentiment.
Consumers who perceive profit over people or a deception in living up to stated values or claims will lose trust forever.
- How is your brand and business perceived?
- What are you doing to maximize your position of wellness trust?
- How can you increase your contribution to global wellbeing?
7. WELLNESS FOCUSED LIFE SOLUTIONS WILL EXPAND
We are saving more, spending on our homes, and looking at what we need and value. We are making more conscious choices based on needs, importance, and impact.
We have new issues to manage as our lives have shifted. We need new solutions including life balancing, healthy eating with foods you love that love you back, grocery shopping or home study assistants and even remote home technology departments!
- What solutions can you provide to evolving life issues?
- While we pay more attention to how we spend time and money, is your business paying attention and becoming one of the essentials?
8. TECHNOLOGY HIGHS AND LOWS WILL COEXIST
What would we have done without technology in 2020? In many ways, tech saved us. We have been zooming in – instead of zooming around. We were connecting with previous customers and building new ones online with a focus on imaginative and useful online content. In fact, there is now content competition and content overload may be looming. We have created expectations that our businesses stay with customers long after the pandemic is over, and we truly will (and must) stay with customers long after they leave our businesses.
At the same time, we are online – all the time. As we fight an epidemic, we are also fighting an info-demic. Developing trusted sources is critical for our comfort and our wellbeing.
So, with benefits also comes physical and mental health issues. We may have upped our need for a digital detox when the time comes.
- Is your business a trusted source?
- Are you developing engaging and useful content and creating an ongoing relationship with old and new customers?
- Are you gathering data and anticipating their future needs?
The success of our wellness businesses will come from a path of curiosity, being nimble, and of getting rid of our old stories. Nothing is off the table for re-imagining or re-inventing. There are no sacred cows – there is only letting the light shine in on imagination, love, and hope
The full original article can be viewed here