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Williams Helde Staff

The Evolution of Fitness and What that Means for Marketing

With the holiday season in the rearview, people shift their attention to getting healthy and exercising more. Grocery store end-caps ditch the potato chips for nutritious fare. Banner ads promise healthy living through the latest smartwatches and fitness trackers.

New Year’s resolutions set us on a path to a reenergized version of ourselves through yoga and meditation. Increasingly though, our understanding of the “better you” comes through a wholistic lens. It’s not a matter of finding the right tech toy, diet or spiritual habit to break us from our unhealthy ways. People, at long last, are figuring out there’s no such thing as a quick fix.

Sure, plenty of brands are still turning shame, guilt and empty promises into a spike in sales. But it never lasts long, as the new year’s better version of you loses the battle to the same forces that always plague us. The disappointment of those results for both marketers and consumers has pushed us toward focusing on lifestyle choices rather than product choices — surrounding ourselves with people, products and activities that become habits for good, rather than a path to perdition.

So, what does that mean for brands if you’re no longer positioning yourself as the silver bullet for health and wellness? For starters, you need to take a deeper look at your audience and their motivations. Understanding that your product must fit into the larger narrative supporting wholistic wellness and a life of active exploration.

You’re talking to people who see their vehicle as means to an out-of-the-way trailhead; a snack-bar as fuel between a 6:15 a.m. yoga class and the first meeting of the day; and software as a tool for keeping life a bit more organized, so there’s more time for the important things, like sitting down to a healthy meal with the entire family.

For the new year, resolve to leave the shaming behind and realize that no matter what, the product isn’t the be-all, end-all for a “better you.” Instead, build marketing efforts around the ways your service or product helps support the total experience of an active healthy lifestyle. As marketing professor Michael R. Solomon so eloquently put it, “sell the painting, not the paints.”

Cheers to new beginnings and healthy choices!

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