Five Things We Learnt About Growing A Wellness Brand At The Healthspan Show


Last week, the Healthspan Show — a new virtual event exploring the opportunities that exist for the wellness industry in a post-covid world — welcomed hundreds of entrepreneurs from startups and challenger brands, as well as investors and FMCG market leaders.

Covering a range of topics, including how COVID-19 has changed consumer priorities, opportunities within the fast-growing women’s health category, the evolution of mental wellness solutions and investment bright spots, the event saw companies including Unilever, Mars, Les Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Lululemon, Cult Beauty, PepsiCo Ventures, Nestlé Health Science, L’Oreal, Hydrow and Welltodo share their insights across the five days.

Through engaging and interactive roundtables and thought-provoking panel debates, the virtual event provided an opportunity for the wellness industry to come together to share new ideas and make useful connections that will help to shape the future landscape.

As part of the packed schedule, industry expert and Founder of Welltodo, Lauren Armes, joined Founder of Cult Beauty, Alexia Inge to discuss the “need to know steps” to growing a wellness brand.

From baking credibility into your brand’s DNA to translating your passion into innovation, here we share five key takeaways from the informative roundtable……

Passion is a great start but innovation is what will set you apart

“It’s no longer viable to come to the wellness industry with only a passion,” argued Armes.

“Let’s be honest, it’s a really good foundation but it needs to be innovative,” she added.

Both Armes and Inge went on to cite the importance of doing market research to understand what already exists in the market and then work on filling the gaps.

Look for a need, suggested Inge — “What problem are you solving? That’s a question, I ask any new brand pitching to come on Cult Beauty.” 

She added: “Concentrate on that need and solve it in a forward-thinking and innovative way. That will set you apart from the thousands of other brands out there.”

Credibility should be baked into your brand’s DNA

“Once upon a time anyone could launch a supplement brand and probably experience reasonable success, but now, if you don’t have a certified board of nutritionists, dieticians and scientists behind your product it simply won’t fly. Today consumers demand that level of validation of a product,” explained Armes.

She argued that despite the extra pressure to substantiate products and services, this new form of consumer-led regulation and accountability is ultimately good for the industry — and is a movement that is leading to higher-quality offerings.

For brands that are unable to validate products themselves, Armes suggested bringing in other experts or a board of advisors that can support their business through some of the more challenging consumer queries — a strategy we explore in more detail in our 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report.

Sustainability should be a journey not just a story

A sustainability story is really important. But also, a sustainability pipeline is something brands need to be addressing, mentioned Inge.

“Making that commitment to following all of the innovations that are happening, and making sure that you’re communicating that really well with your customers is just as important as the product innovation journey,” she argued.

In fact, having those pipelines side-by-side and having answers for customer queries around sustainability, is what will set a brand apart, explained Inge. 

She also argued that wellness businesses should be focused on becoming more socially responsible in the way they are run. “If you’ve got all of that front and centre within your story, you’ll find yourself streaks ahead,” she said.

The Healthspan show

Image: Brooke Cagle

Building your own community should be a priority

When it comes to marketing, Inge argued that brands need to build their own community to engage the new digital consumer.

“Today there’s an increasing need for brands to become their own media platform,” she commented, before suggesting brand partnerships, value-led content and advice as ways to build a relevant and engaged audience.

“It’s all about what can I give, what do these people want and will see as valuable. If you can nail that then people will come to you.”

Inclusivity is key but you don’t need to be for everybody

There’s a growing pressure from consumers that wellness needs to become more inclusive, said Armes.

“Is there democratisation of wellness yet — no, not even close — but the pressure is on for brands to create a more inclusive version of wellness.”

Inge echoed this sentiment, adding that part of making wellness more accessible and inclusive revolves around brands making it more fun and digestible. However, both agreed that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be for everybody. 

“The invitation is still for brands to deliver products to specific groups of society,” argued Armes. “But what it says is there’s an opening up of the market where brands have the opportunity to speak to particular demographics in a way that hasn’t been done before. That can create a more inclusive aspect to wellbeing.”

We highlight this opportunity and share examples from mental wellness brands that are pioneering this approach, in our 2021 Consumer Wellness Trends Report.


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