Scrolling through Instagram, I sift through ad after ad for boutique clothing brands, celebrity-endorsed makeup ... and vitamins? Personalized vitamins in candy colors delivered right to my doorstep.
A number of healthcare brands started advertising on Instagram. These products put traditional in-clinic care directly in consumers’ hands.
Vitamin company Care/Of encourages consumers to take a survey regarding health goals and lifestyle to determine the best vitamin supplements. Hubble promises affordable contact lens subscriptions. While consumers don’t conduct their own eye exams, they are responsible for inputting their prescriptions. And the company I find most interesting, Candid Co., sends consumers custom-made aligners after they take their own teeth impressions using Candid’s modeling kit. These brands aren’t claiming they are replacements for licensed physicians. They champion using these products with medical expertise. Hubble’s website features a find-an-optometrist tool and Candid consistently mentions that it is orthodontist-directed.
Their ads feature the young and chic, and the messaging caters to the needs of an on-the-go, “we want it now” generation. We don’t know if these brands are as effective as traditional treatments, but they are certainly disrupting the healthcare space and competing for the attention (and wallets) of Millennials and Gen Z.
As a Millennial, I was curious to see how these brands would work for me, so I shopped them. I get why these brands are gaining popularity with people my age. They share the following features, which make them appealing.
Make it Quick (and Make it Easy)
From homepage to check out, I spent less than five minutes on each site. In a coffee break’s block of time, I was able to order a month’s supply of vitamins and contacts and request a modeling kit for my aligners. It was more appealing than sitting in three separate waiting rooms.
The convenience of monthly subscriptions arriving at my doorstep at the click of a button works well for my busy lifestyle. One of my friends who is a Care/Of customer said, “I love that it’s pre-packed. I can just toss it in my work bag!”
I Am Unique
We want products that reflect who we are. Each company allows personalization that goes beyond choosing a blue or red contact case. The intake surveys go deeper to ask the “why” questions — Why do you want to straighten your teeth? Are you open to incorporating Ayurvedic medicine?
These companies do not see Millennials and Gen Zers as homogenous groups. They probe for motivations, values, and fears. According to the We Are Gen Z Report, 57% of respondents said, “Brands and products help me show off my personality.” Healthcare is deeply personal, and allowing consumers to make it their own is empowering.
Being Healthy Is Cool
In the age of the selfie and the ketogenic diet, looking good and being healthy is trendy. Young people are willing to invest time and money to look and feel better. Three-fourths of Gen Zers admit to editing photos before posting online and 78% said they exercise once a week or more. If a company is championing a healthier lifestyle, we — the FitBit-wearing, yoga-going young people — are receptive. These companies allow consumers to directly participate in the process of care. Taking impressions of our own teeth makes us feel like we’re playing an active role in taking care of ourselves.
Being Informed Is Cooler
The stereotype of young people being uninformed is inaccurate. Information is so easily available in today’s world that young people are able to develop a social conscience. Millennials and Gen Zers want to know that a brand is “legit.” We want to see the facts. Care/Of supports each vitamin recommendation with detailed research studies. In the age of “fake news,” the specificity and source of information is valuable.
These new health and wellness brands are putting Millennials and Gen Zers at the center of the experience, harnessing the power of social media, and speaking to their needs. They are giving young consumers a choice and the authority to engage in the health space on their own terms.