Each year, J. Walter Thompson Company releases a major study on the key upcoming trends impacting the business of marketing and advertising. This year's
list is comprised of some you'd expect, but others that are new and very relevant to today's lifestyles—for example, "intelligent objects," "predictive
personalization," the "sensory explosion," and "the mobile fingerprint."
Also on this year's list is a trend which has great implications for the health care industry: the correlation between health and happiness and the
scientific findings which support this relationship. Among them:
Researchers at University College London have found that happiness improves the functioning of key biological processes.
Research has shown that more optimistic people are up to 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke.
A study on "flourishing" published in the American Journal of Public Health links positive mental health with longevity.
Wayne State University (2010) researchers published a study showing a correlation between longevity and propensity toward a so-called Duchenne smile
(an expression of genuinely positive emotion).
Happiness and mental health improve in direct correlation with consumption of healthy foods—specifically, fruits and vegetables according to a recent
study from National Bureau of Economic Research.
These findings are also validated by consumer studies among American and British adults who cite the following:
62 percent say "feeling healthy" is an important part of being a happy person.
90 percent agree that happiness can have a positive impact on your health.
84 percent say being happy is an important part of being healthy.
Brands jumping on the health-happiness bandwagon
The connection between health and happiness has not gone unnoticed by several global brands in the wellness, nutrition, and health care space. Building off
its tagline, "It's amazing what soup can do," Campbell's Soup launched a campaign in 2011 that showcases consumers on the "road to happiness" due to the
nutrition, ingredients, energy, and dietary benefits their products can provide.
Special K, long positioned as a health and diet cereal, moved away from the aspirational goal of reaching an ideal weight and instead focused on the
positive emotions that weight loss can bring, using words like "confidence, "moxie," "sass," and "joy" in its communications strategy.
And my personal favorite, Walgreen's, is putting itself right on the "corner of Happy & Healthy" in a campaign launched last fall. With the music of
CCR's "Down on the Corner" playing in the background, the TV commercials inform us that the founder Charles Walgreen "had a mission to help people be happy
and healthy." The drugstore chain is aiming to expand from a drugstore to a lifestyle store.
How can hospital brands elevate the connection between health and happiness?
The connection between health and happiness is a natural one for hospital brands and their strategic messaging. After all, isn't the end-benefit of the
services they provide the opportunity to return to an active, healthy, and happier life? Too many hospital brands still stir consumer anxiety and focus on
negatives (what consumers should avoid or fear); versus focusing on positive solutions with messaging that advances health and or happiness.
West Georgia Health in LaGrange, Georgia, working with Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy, recently
launched a new branding campaign that perfectly captures the correlation between happy and healthy.
Jan Nichols, West Georgia Health marketing director says the hospital advocates wellness for patients.
“Our new branding campaign, ‘So Healthy Together,’ connects health and happiness through the musical bed (an adaptation of "So Happy Together" by the
Turtles) incorporated into our broadcast messaging and the ‘sunshine’ graphics of our identity featured in print and digital media,” Nichols says. “We have
had numerous members of our community tell us that our campaign makes them smile, hum the tune, and inspires them to take a walk, ride a bike, or play with
their dog— all things that support their quest for a healthier and happier life."
As you evaluate your brand strategy, consider ways you can motivate consumers to accomplish their health and happiness goals. Look for new products and
services that help facilitate a healthier and happier lifestyle rather than just providing a "solution" to their medical problems. This upcoming trend is a
great one for hospital brands to get behind. The more consumers see your hospital brand at the "corner of healthy and happy," the more loyalty to it
they'll have and the more they'll sing your tune (or hum your jingle).
Rob Rosenberg is the president of
Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy. You can read more from the blog