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Study reveals women’s health and wellness preferences

January 29, 2013
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Anthem Worldwide, the brand development practice of Schawk Inc., Des Plaines, Ill., announced the results of its latest study in the white paper, “What Women Really Want From Health And Wellness.”
 
“Regardless of age, health and wellness is an important topic for all women,” said Kathy Oneto, vice president of brand strategy at Anthem’s San Francisco office, in a statement. “Women have a need to be healthy and well for themselves and for the people in their lives. Brands can help women realize the benefits, from functional to emotional.
 
“The attitude of today’s women about health and wellness is that they would rather live according to their internal motivations and not to external expectations,” she continued. “The brands that speak to this desire authentically have an opportunity to build lasting connections with generations of women. Moreover, when it comes to purchase behavior, health and wellness is a factor at the point of decision and how brands speak to women up to that point influences the choices they make. A full two-thirds of women believe a brand that motivates them to be healthy is important when considering which brands of products to buy.”
 
The study examined what women really want from health and wellness and what makes them motivated to achieve it, getting beyond what she feels she should do to understanding what she wants to do in relation to health and wellness. Beyond identifying motivations across three generations of women, Anthem’s study found that women are open to — and are in fact seeking — brands to motivate them to be healthy and well so that they can reach their goals at any life stage.
 
Overwhelmingly, 74 percent of today’s women are motivated to be healthy, and 82 percent believe that there will be negative consequences if they don’t take care of their health. Across generations of women, 87 percent want to feel good, 86 percent want to be happy, 86 percent want to have quality of life, 86 percent want to be their best self, and 83 percent want to live their best life. This is a far cry from merely surrendering to expectations, and instead, women are aspirationally seeking personal fulfillment, Anthem notes.
 
The study also examined women’s attitudes toward their expectations about health and wellness and found that 84 percent feel like they are expected to take responsibility for their family, 72 percent feel it is up to them to make others happy, 67 percent believe they should eat for health rather than enjoyment, 66 percent feel they should be responsible to the planet, and 61 percent feel they are expected to be thin. Clearly, the more conventional external expectations that women have of themselves remain high, the study reveals.
 
“Health and wellness is clearly of importance to women of all generations and more important to younger generations than we anticipated,” Oneto said in a statement. “While our research demonstrated that there were similarities across these generations with regard to health and wellness definitions, motivations and expectations, we also identified differences across them — for overall health and wellness and at a category level, generally driven by life stage. One thing held true, despite degrees of interest and differences given the generation: Many aspects of health and wellness are intertwined, especially physical and emotional health benefits.
 
“Marketers have one of two choices when speaking with these women,” Oneta concluded. “One option is to speak to each age group and its distinct motivations. Another option is to identify a common motivation or need state that crosses generational lines and can appeal to all women. We found evidence of brands doing each well and succeeding.”
 
As a result of this study, marketers should avoid marketing to women based narrowly on external expectations, Anthem suggests. Marketers can create more powerful connections with women if they approach them from a world of motivation, rather than external “shoulds” and societal standards, it adds Marketers are encouraged to dig deeper beyond base level definitions and understandings to decipher nuances and to identify opportunities when messaging might switch from being motivational and aspirational to slipping back into an expectation, it concludes.
 
To access the full white paper, visit www.schawk.com/knowledge-center/white-papers.

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