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Leveraging Trends in Health and Wellness Amid a Pandemic


By Katie Forbidussi

Health and wellness have always been popular trends that fluctuate based on societal or cultural factors. However, because of the ongoing pandemic, personal health and wellness have arguably never been as important as they are now. Whether it be nutrition, fitness, mental health or more, health and wellness are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 

One of the recent shifts in health and wellness is how people are returning to the outdoors more than ever before, and in more casual ways than usual. From a recent study conducted by FWV and affiliate agency CGPR, over 80% of consumers surveyed participated in outdoor activities during the pandemic. With uncertainties surrounding travel and indoor activities, getting outside is a great way to stay active and enjoy a change of scenery. Whether it be a day on the lake, car camping, or even hiking and walking, people are retreating back to the outdoors. 

The fitness industry has also seen an explosion in recent months as people have shifted to at-home workouts and changed how they exercise in general. Lately, there hasn’t been a dumbbell set or yoga mat in sight either in stores or online, and people are turning to alternative (largely digital) ways of getting in their workouts – such as fitness influencers on Instagram, workout apps, or the myriad of free workout videos on YouTube. YouTube noted that its viewership of home workout videos was up 200% in March compared to the rest of 2020. While gym closures have forced working out at home, the ongoing pandemic has been the primary factor in a renewed interest in health and wellbeing. 

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With this heightened awareness in wellness, brands are having to pivot their strategies to better align themselves with health-focused consumers. There is also a huge opportunity for brands and marketers to leverage these health trends to generate media coverage and buzz in the current environment.

In an era where journalism is more difficult than it’s ever been, and editors’ inboxes are flooded with endless pitches, you have to work harder to make your brand stand out. Show, rather than tell, why you should get coverage – make your pitch compelling and unique while still relevant and timely. It is important to be well-versed in the types of stories that are getting coverage and what’s trending in the media, as this can help determine which outlets to target as well as the angles or stories for which editors are looking.

One successful example was Nike’s decision to make its popular workout app, Nike Training Club, free to all users during the pandemic – it previously featured a premium subscription model. While this was a relatively simple move, it has proven effective both for Nike’s public image and its bottom line. After removing the paywall, the app saw a 100% increase in weekly users in the U.S., and in China alone online apparel and shoe sales rose by 30%. The app has also been covered by outlets including Forbes, Insider, PopSugar, Techradar and more since the announcement. In doing this, Nike not only helped further its business interests but also created powerful brand affinity in showing how the company truly values the health and wellbeing of its customers.

With health and wellness being such prominent topics in our society, people are more focused than ever on their own health, nutrition, fitness and general wellbeing. As brands continue to navigate their way through the pandemic, they must find ways to stand out not only to existing customers but also to potential customers through relevant marketing and public relations initiatives.

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