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Women Want Brands to Support Them in Health, Wellness Efforts

Posted: January 31, 2013

Anthem Worldwide announced the results of its latest study in its white paper “What Women Really Want From Health And Wellness.”

“Regardless of age, health and wellness is an important topic for all women,” said Kathy Oneto, vice president, brand strategy, of Anthem’s San Francisco office. “Women have a need to be healthy and well for themselves and for the people in their lives. Brands can help women realize the benefits, from functional to emotional.”

Added Oneto, “The attitude of today’s woman about health and wellness is that they would rather live according to their internal motivations and not to external expectations. The brands that speak to this desire authentically have an opportunity to build lasting connections with generations of women. Moreover, when it comes to purchase behavior, health and wellness is a factor at the point of decision and how brands speak to women up to that point influences the choices they make. A full two-thirds of women believe a brand that motivates them to be healthy is important when considering which brands of products to buy.”

The study examined what women really want from health and wellness and what makes them motivated to achieve it, getting beyond what she feels she should do to understanding what she wants to do around health and wellness. Beyond identifying motivations across three generations of women, Anthem’s study found that women are open to—and are in fact seeking—brands to motivate them to be healthy and well so they can reach their goals at any life stage.

Overwhelmingly, 74% of today’s women are motivated to be healthy and most (82%) believe that there will be negative consequences if they don’t take care of their health. But what motivates these attitudes across generations of women? Most (87%) want to feel good, be happy (86%), have quality of life (86%), be their best self (86%) and live their best life (83%). A far cry from merely surrendering to expectations, and instead, aspirationally seeking personal fulfillment.

The study also examined women’s attitudes toward their expectations around health and wellness and found that most (84%) feel like they are expected to take responsibility for their family, make others happy (72%), eat for health rather than enjoyment (67%), be responsible to the planet (66%) and be thin (61%). Clearly, the more conventional external expectations that women have of themselves remain high.

“Health and wellness is clearly of importance to women of all generations and more important to younger generations than we anticipated,” noted Oneto. While our research demonstrated that there were similarities across these generations with regard to health and wellness definitions, motivations, and expectations, we also identified differences across them—for overall health and wellness and at a category level, generally driven by life stage. One thing held true, despite degrees of interest and differences given the generation—many aspects of health and wellness are intertwined, especially physical and emotional health benefits.”

Oneto concluded, “Marketers have one of two choices when speaking with these women. One option is to speak to each age group and its distinct motivations. Another option is to identify a common motivation or need state that crosses generational lines and can appeal to all women. We found evidence of brands doing each well and succeeding.”

The big takeaway for marketers? Avoid marketing to these women based narrowly on external expectations. Marketers can create more powerful connections with women if they approach them from a world of motivation, rather than external “shoulds” and societal standards. Marketers are encouraged to dig deeper beyond base level definitions and understandings to really decipher nuances and to identify opportunities when messaging might switch from being motivational and aspirational to slipping back into an expectation.

Click here to find a more in-depth look at this research and data.