How successful brands can embrace mindfulness in 2020
Good mental health is finally being recognised as an essential part of our overall wellbeing, and the rise of mindfulness has played a key part in that conversation. The year 2019 witnessed unprecedented change in consumer behaviour; our mindset, expectations, motivations and behaviours have been fuelled by significant political and social shifts occurring worldwide, having a profound influence on the world we live in.
The brands that thrive in the next decade will be those who can forge bonds with consumers on a deeper and more authentic level. Making a genuine connection with consumers will be more important than ever in 2020.
What is mindfulness?
From an ancient eastern spiritual practice to a modern western marketing buzzword, the term ‘mindfulness’ has increased in popularity and declined in clarity over the last decade. With over 40,000 books on Amazon covering everything from ‘music for mindfulness’ to ‘mindfulness for sustainability’ and from ‘mindful gardening’ to ‘mindful puzzles’, the options are endless.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary definition, mindfulness is ‘the practice of being aware of your body, mind and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm’. But not all ‘mindful’ products, foods and experiences come packaged with such a clear description.
While brands, businesses and individuals have increasingly absorbed the term into their marketing plans, it’s meaning has splintered and diluted. This raises the question: are brands delivering consumers any meaningful benefit or simply just jumping on the bandwagon?
How did we get here?
In a world where socio-economic factors are creating a climate of uncertainty and fear, our trust in traditional ‘experts’ is declining. Research shows that only 53% of women and 69% of men trust the healthcare industry.* People are turning to alternative sources for advice and treatment, with mindfulness being a top go-to solution.
Numerous studies over the last decade have endorsed the benefits of mindfulness, proving that it can indeed change the way we think about, care for, and improve our wellbeing, particularly our mental health.
Brands must deliver a genuine experience
Brands that have simply plastered the word ‘mindfulness’ onto an existing offering or ‘alternative product’, have missed the point. While new product sales might have temporarily spiked, they’ve overlooked the opportunity to build brand love and connect with consumers on a deeper level, with lasting impact. How can brands do this through mindfulness? They need to understand the complex challenges facing new generations and provide them with accessible, tailored and applicable solutions that enhance mental wellbeing, by delivering an authentic and tangible experience of mindfulness. Here are a few brand successes…
HOLD helps consumers disconnect to reconnect
‘Digital detox’ is a term that has become increasingly popular. As our reliance on tech has grown, its negative impacts have emerged. Research shows that the average person touches their phone a staggering 80 times a day, accumulating to 30,000 times over the year. Some scientists have concluded that this addiction is not dissimilar to drug addiction. Other studies conducted in recent years strongly suggest that the consequences of being constantly online are serious, having negative effects on mental states such as insomnia, anxiety, depression and more. In many ways, the digital phenomena is a complete juxtaposition to the very idea of mindfulness. In contrast to remaining present in the moment; a continuous barrage of digital alarms, alerts and pop-ups only serves to make our minds more distracted, splintered and less mindful.
Nordic app HOLD spotted this problem and offered a solution to combat digital addictions and encourage us live more mindfully. There’s some irony in the solution being digital, but this has only served its success. Students who download the app are able to earn points for every 20 minutes they don’t touch their phone. These points can be exchanged for rewards like discounted cinema tickets, free coffees and more; exchanging mindless scrolling for mindful social interaction. Plus, improved concentration and free things? Sounds positive to us!
The Night Feed shines a light for lonely mums
Another reason for our increased interest in mindfulness is the growing pressure of feeling disconnected, and the idea of mindfulness — bringing the self back into the moment to experience it fully places value on forming everyday connections with others. While we all try to cram as much as we can into a day, we often forget about the value of connecting with others.
A poll by ChannelMum.com found that 92% of new British mums admitted to feeling lonely and disconnected. In addition, most are sleep-deprived in the early months, and many feel overwhelmed by the volume of contradictory advice for new mums on the internet. It’s during the late-night feeds that mums feel most anxious as they sit up on their own, scrolling the internet for answers, while simultaneously trying to get their baby back to sleep. Model and lifestyle blogger Ruth Crilly spotted an opportunity to help by launching the Night Feed app, designed to provide new mums with a safe and calm online environment where they can connect with other mums and find useful information at any time of the day. Another example of a brand that successfully identified a problem and provided a mindful solution.
Cultivating moods and emotions with Spotify
Today, with so many opportunities to become everything we want to be, we’ve become overloaded with multiple roles and multiple mindsets. In a single day, a woman can be expected to transition from loving wife to tender mum, and from middle management in a day job to CEO of side hustle at night. The same applies to men, of course. In fact, 65% of mothers with children under 6 work full time and 25% of people in the UK have a side hustle.*
While so much opportunity is positive there are some drawbacks, one of which being an increased level of disorientation; a struggle to fully switch from one mode to another. This is where mindfulness can help — learning how to be fully present in a moment so we can transition through each role stress free. Where does Spotify come in? Curating ‘Daily Mixes’ and ‘Mood Playlists’ is designed to help listeners ease into their current mode or time of day, feeling fully present in that moment. For example, ‘Get Home Happy!’, designed to dust off stuffy office stress on your way home from work, or ‘You Can Do It’ for Saturday mornings at the gym. Through an increased focus on algorithms we’ll be sure to see this approach become more personalised and tailored to our daily lives.
Trends to be mindful of…
Men’s mental health is a topic which is gaining more focus following the recent release of statistics that suggest suicide is the second greatest cause of death for men aged 15–34.
Brands like CALM have been instrumental in starting public conversations on the topic. Once considered ‘taboo’, it’s a conversation that will continue to grow, generating more opportunities for brands to connect with and help consumers authentically.
Flying in the face of digitalism, our need for real-life meaningful experiences is on the rise. While people are looking to experience and create moments that matter, there are opportunities for brands to tap into mindfulness and connect with consumers to create memories that can be cherished forever, and indeed be re-visited and shared on multiple channels.
In short, mindfulness is not a fad like ‘bubble tea’ or ‘avocado on toast’. As we move into the next decade, brands should look to recognise mindfulness as a social movement with deep rooted cause and effect. Identifying the reasons behind its rise in popularity and recognising the forms in which it is unfolding throughout society is where the real opportunity lies.