|We hope you enjoyed step one of The Felicity 5-Step Rx for Marketing Well: Use meaningful language. As promised, this instalment is about how brands depict wellbeing visually.
As we outlined in our white paper, three-quarters of women, and 62% of all Canadians are turned off by unrealistic depictions of the female body. Yet, the skinny blonde yogi reigns in wellness imagery. This is ironic because the origins of many popular wellness practices (yoga, meditation, ayurveda, buddhist philosophies) are neither Western nor white. And although it’s an ongoing debate (often with popstar Lizzo at the centre), weight isn’t a good barometer of wellbeing or fitness.
From a consumer’s perspective, there’s nothing that erodes trust more than feeling like you’re being “sold to.” It just gets people’s backs up, rather than their money out. This is particularly true if what you’re being sold is the promise of improved wellbeing, perhaps at a premium price. As a brand, even if you are selling the silver bullet, people need to trust what you're saying and what you're selling before they open up their purse strings.
So how do you ensure the intrinsic value of your brand is reflected visually, and is inviting of your audience and their hard-earned trust?
- Practice body positivity
According to verywellmind.com, Body Positivity “refers to the assertion that all people deserve to have a positive body image, regardless of how society and popular culture view ideal shape, size, and appearance.” Remember that a picture says a thousand words, so while it’s important to consider your copy, it’s crucial not to overlook what your visuals are saying.
- Include diversity in your visuals
If the diversity of our society is not reflected in your marketing, you’re leaving out a large portion of the population, not to mention, potentially alienating those who so happen to fall outside the young, caucasian, heterosexual, cisgendered or able-bodied people that feature promiently in stock photos. The stats are staggering: In 2016, 22% of Canadians were people of colour. By 2036, it’s projected that up to 36% of the population will be people of colour. Almost 19% of Canadians are 65 and older. At least 3% of the population identifies as LGBTQ+, 22% have a disability and 4.9% of the population are indigenous peoples Taken together, these so-called “minorities” add up to 59% of Canadians.
- Avoid tokenism
Simply adding one person of colour or one person over the age of 65 isn’t showing diversity, it’s tokenism. Nova Reid, a Diversity and Anti Racism campaigner, TEDx Speaker and writer defines tokenism as “diversity on a superficial level without the inclusion part. It is in the absence of consistently making the effort to include people in underrepresented groups. It’s being aesthetically diverse, but not attitudinally diverse. It is without any effort or desire to help improve the lives of people in minority groups who experience inequality or discrimination everyday.” Reid outlines the steps needed to overcome tokenism in your marketing in this great piece.
Representing a wide range of people in your marketing without actually addressing diversity within your organization or even in the conversations about your brand is also tokenism. Doing the work of understanding inequities in the world is no easy feat, but ignoring them is simply bad for your bottom line. In 2017, 71% of millennials said that they prefer brands that drive social and environmental change and 75% of all consumers expected brands to make a contribution to their wellbeing and quality of life. Even amid the pandemic, this trend continues.
- Avoid clichés
When creating marketing visuals that represent wellbeing, don’t fall back on what’s expected—for instance, the fit white guy running a marathon. What does wellbeing mean to your audience? Not sure? As we suggested in the first step of our Rx for marketing well, test your messaging by asking your audience.
- Feature your consumers
Finally, as our white paper research showed, 87% of people trust friends and family—real people—for health and wellness information. Why not feature real people in your marketing visuals? Collaborate with consumers, influencers and experts whose ambassadorship of your brand will extend well beyond skin deep.
Which brings us to…
Step 3 of our 5-step Rx for marketing well: Leverage Real Influence
Stay tuned to your inbox in two weeks, when we will investigate how partnering with influencers who bring legitimate credentials to your brand’s table can translate to more meaningful engagement.