2012: The Year Of 'Meaningful Communications'

As we near the end of 2011 and inevitably begin to look forward to key trends in 2012, one thing we see emerging is t the opportunity, as well as a growing requirement, for all brands and businesses to contribute to a healthier and greater quality of life.

This is not limited to brands within the healthcare category; indeed, we find that consumers are increasingly demanding that all brands and businesses provide tangible health & wellness value to consumers.

We are all familiar with some of the current key consumer healthcare trends:

  • Growing awareness, understanding, and self-care
  • Growing appetite for preventative actions, changing lifestyles (exercise, diet, balance and spirituality sensibility) and alternative medicine
  • Greater demands for personalized and "full-service" care

Within the healthcare ecosystem there are a number of organizations evolving to meet these needs. The digitization of information is providing greater access and patient support, information and visibility. Greater transparency is partly fueling the rise of own-label generic health products, giving more cost-effective options beyond the premium brand labels. Retail outlets (including pharmacies, clinics and stores) are enhancing their service offerings both in-store and extending relationships digitally. Changing lifestyle and preventative activities, from new super foods, to yoga, to herbal and alternative treatments, are big and growing businesses.

Add to this that health and wellness efforts are everywhere: in CPG, consumer electronics, home design and appliances, apparel, financial and insurance, and more, the majority of brands today are touting some positive health benefit, whether it be foods that make you healthier, clothes that make you feel better, devices that allow for better organization and convenience, or home furnishings that help to simplify and bring a sense of mental clarity.

This year, we released the Havas Media Meaningful Brands study, and within the results, we find those brands that provide greater value for the body, heart, mind or spirit, tend to matter more to consumers and subsequently see greater revenues returns. As the new way to measure brand health, ‘meaningfulness’ allows us to evaluate brand performance from both a collective and individual consumer perspective in these territories. And we have seen that today, increasingly consumers are expecting brands and businesses to deliver more value in return for their loyalty.

As we head into the new year, it’s important to recognize two points that can help guide our healthcare marketing strategies for the future.

One, that almost every brand, regardless of category, has the ability to differentiate itself via health, lifestyle and wellness factors. And, secondly, that these criteria will only be increasingly important to consumers.

For example, Nike matters to consumers they “make consumers feel better.” Fidelity differentiates by giving greater “life satisfaction,” and financial brands that enhance “personal organization” perform better. Honda “makes life easier” and Volvo allows “consumers to express their lifestyle.”

We should learn from those brands that are performing well. And of course remember our key rules of being authentic, relevant, tangible and sustainable.

Here’s to a healthy 2012.

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