Headspace, National Parks Pair For Mindfulness Boost

Headspace is teaming up with the National Park Foundation for a new nature-inspired content push, aiming to recreate the meditative magic of places like Zion and Yosemite. In addition to a $150,000 donation to the nonprofit, Headspace hopes its park-based audio and video meditations, including sleepcasts, will raise awareness for America's 400-plus national parks.

Morgan Selzer, the brand's chief content officer, tells D2C Insider what it hopes to accomplish with the partnership.

D2C Insider: What sparked this deal?

Morgan Selzer: I love national parks. And they are awe-inspiring. And our research about the benefits of being in nature keeps piling up. It makes you less stressed and more compassionate and a better, happier, healthier person. So the idea was, "How can we bring the magic of the national parks to our members?"



The foundation has been an incredible partner in bringing this to life. It’s given us valuable insights, including finding hidden gems within parks. And it's helped get us shooting access: the first drop is from Joshua Tree, and it's amazing. There will be four content drops in all, spaced over the year.

D2C Insider: The pandemic created so much interest in the power of nature -- including stampedes to national parks. Did users request this type of content?

Selzer: Yes. Many of our members are urban dwellers who don't get much chance to be in nature. It resonated with members when we've done stuff in the nature space before, including a partnership with the BBC. We thought this would be a fun way to bring people to iconic destinations.

D2C Insider: What about park imagery, specifically, that's so powerful? As opposed to sitting under a beautiful tree in your backyard or a local park?

Selzer: It comes back to our credibility of what we know works scientifically. It's especially true in the sleep space, using incredible nature sounds from these landmark places. Sometimes, people have been to these parks, so they have fond memories. Sometimes they're just hoping to go there. And certainly, people could probably look up nature sounds from other sources. But what you're getting with us is these tried, true and tested wind-down exercises. We know they help people relax. And our sleepcasts are pretty effective.

D2C Insider: How does this fit in with other content -- and how much of it do you make each year?

Selzer: We have all different kinds. We try to do one or two new sleepcasts a month and then special collections, like this one with the parks and a recent one focusing on women. It's all varied lengths. We do meditations that are new every day. It's thousands of hours. What makes it unique to Headspace is, we're always trying to keep it fresh, but it's all science-backed, as well. We're not just putting stuff out there for variety's sake, but in a thoughtful way.

D2C Insider: How often does a typical user open the app?

Selzer: It varies. Some people use it for the Wake Up, a five-minute morning meditation. Others are listening to 55-minute sleepcasts. But our hope is that they use our product daily. We've designed it to have multiple touchpoints.

D2C Insider: How will you market this effort?

Selzer: We're featuring it in our "Today" tab. We'll also be linking the content through email and push notifications and social channels. We have something called Radio Headspace, a five-minute podcast that will feature related content. Florence Williams, who wrote "The Nature Fix," is hosting five episodes. So there will be plenty of touchpoints.

D2C Insider: What metrics are you tracking to gauge the success of this?

Selzer: We'll watch how much and how long people spend with the content, especially when they listen from start to finish. That's important to us, as is people returning to specific content. Some of our super users listen to the same sleep casts everynight. We also have a partnership with Sesame Street called "Goodnight World," and those sleepcasts are very popular. Our completion rate there is huge.

D2C Insider: Headspace has 30 million members in 190 countries. Do you think people outside the U.S. will access these?

Selzer: I'm excited to bring this to our international members. The national parks are iconic, and this way, they can see them without traveling thousands and thousands of miles.

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