In this post, Katy Eng, Content Strategy Director at OMD, analyses the impact of the trend towards mindfulness, and how this step away from consumerism will affect brands and marketing in the future.
I have anxiety.
Don’t be alarmed – it’s (mostly) under control (now). But it’s deep-rooted and persistent and 5 years in the NYC media minefield did nothing to help matters.
Maybe you have anxiety too. I wouldn’t be surprised if a high number of people in our industry did. We all tend to be “driven” in our nature. We deal with challenging situations day in and day out and hardly a day goes by when we don’t have a deadline – or several deadlines – to make. And meetings, meetings, meetings.
We’re lucky though. Because instead of “blowing off steam” through partying, alcohol and illegal substances (as I’m told were all the rage in the ‘80s and ‘90s), we live in an age where the 2,000 year old Buddhist practice of meditation and mindfulness has been truly re-embraced.
I’m not being sarcastic, I promise! I think it’s a wonderful trend and even signed up for an eight week mindfulness course here at OMD, to add to the four years I’ve already been practising.
But as with any trend, I couldn’t help but wonder how it will affect me and my job in media. Specifically, how the long term effects of mindfulness will affect marketing in the future.
Here are some hypotheses. Some of these we’re starting to see already. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
All brands will need to move further to the health and wellbeing sector
There’s no hiding or denying what’s bad for us. The research is out there. People are smoking less, drinking less and working out more because we’re living longer and we want to feel better and look better along the way. Kale is cool.
Brands that don’t contribute to this heightened need for wellbeing or who actively defy it will either evolve or die. Think how Coca Cola has diversified into products that make you feel good or help you recover post-work out like Mount Franklin, Powerade and Vitamin Water, or let’s talk about the fact that my iPhone has a mindfulness tracker in the Health app now.
We need to think about what aspect of our products can make people smarter, faster, slimmer, fitter? Or even just more relaxed. It will be a shift in our communications angle but may be the key to that product’s existence in a few years’ time.
Brands will be called out on their sustainability and longevity
The resources on this planet are finite. And the mindful are self-aware about how we’re treating the environment (and the non-mindful just don’t want to feel guilty). We’ve seen the impact of cause marketing in the U.S. and the rise of sustainable products.
But if no one knows about your client’s sustainable practises, it could be a missed opportunity. Content will become more important to storytell that responsibility and provide a tick of approval to consumers and consistency and innovation will be key.
Retail therapy will be a thing of the past
Mindful people are in control. They’re steady and measured. They consider and reflect before they act (and buy). So in the future there will be less and less wasteful shopping – less shopping just for the feeling of euphoria. Marketers will have to work harder to demonstrate the value of their products.
Things like consumer ratings and reviews will become more important and demo videos will prove usefulness.
This new culture of mindfulness is, without a doubt, a great thing. It’s creating a healthier, kinder, more conscious consumer. But, as with any trend, marketing must adapt to this new mindset and find new ways to align with different sets of motivations. Transparency, communication and utility will be the keys to success.
Now let’s all take a deep, conscious breath… and forge ahead.