January 2019 – Edition 17


Longevity is a secular trend that will provide strong tailwinds for the wellness industry for years and decades to come. The progress in terms of extending life expectancy (which is happening almost everywhere in the world) turned exponential during the last century.

According to Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, four million years of human progress produced a mere 11 years increase in life expectancy – from age 20 to 31. But the 115 years from 1900 to 2015 produced a 41 years increase. Today, the pace of progress in medicine, gerontology, healthcare and lifestyle is such that human life expectancy is increasing, on average, by one year every five years.

It’s great that we are living longer, but how do we make sure those extra years are good ones? This is where the wellness industry fits in. Adjusting to rising longevity is about achieving a life that is not only longer, but also healthier and more fulfilled.

“More and more, research in medicine and psychology demonstrates that physical exercise is the strongest anti-ageing medicine of all”

New disciplines such as senolytics (the quest to develop drugs which can repair cells showing signs of natural age-associated deterioration, in an effort to reverse the signs of ageing) can only get so far. More and more, research in medicine and psychology demonstrates that physical exercise is the strongest anti-ageing medicine of all. It’s our lifestyle (what we eat, how we sleep, how we exercise) that will ultimately determine how long – and how well – we age.

Thierry Malleret, C-founder and Director, Well Intelligence


Shares in Johnson & Johnson plummeted after Reuters claimed that the healthcare company has known since 1971 about the presence of asbestos in its baby powder. The episode, which saw more than $40bn wiped off J&J’s market capitalization, has highlighted just how sensitive personal care products can be when it comes to reputation.

For decades the world bought in to J&J’s market positioning of itself as the brand of choice for parents with babies and young children.

But in July, a US court awarded $4.7billion in damages to 22 women who said that J&J’s talcum powder had contributed to them developing ovarian cancer. J&J is appealing against the damages.

Personal care and spa specific products are an essential part of the offer throughout the hospitality and wellness sectors. Not only are these products a valuable brand contribution and revenue commodity, they also provide increased (or decreased) reputational perspective. It’s no longer good enough to have stunning packaging or a gripping brand narrative, if the product itself is inferior in any way – or doesn’t inspire complete trust from the consumer.

“It’s no longer enough to have stunning packaging or a gripping brand narrative”

In bedrooms, poor quality shampoo, body wash or conditioner are no longer acceptable; today’s guests (from all demographics) are increasingly savvy when it comes to quality – an observation just as true in the budget segment as at the luxury end of the market. One brand that has recognised this is Mama Shelter, an Accor-owned budget boutique hotel offering which has its own organic amenity line.

Increasingly, guests want to know what they’re putting on their skin and in their hair. Sourcing, quality of ingredients, local origin and fair trade are credentials all increasing in importance – they provide a direct reflection on the values of the hotel brand.

Anni Hood, Co-founder and Chief Executive, Well Intelligence


The way we connect with people is as relevant to the private sector as it is to the public one; whether you are seeking to win consumer spend, or secure votes at an election.

In the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, Leave’s campaign emphasized sovereignty, independence, empowerment and human emotion; while Remain opted for economic doom, fear, insecurity and dire warnings. The former was pitched to address people’s everyday concerns; the latter, at a more economic and negative level that left many cold. And that’s one reason why the ‘Leave’ campaign came out on top – they focused on feeling and sentiment.
In the world of consumer spend, appealing at a human level, forging emotional connection and resonance, can be equally pivotal in making the difference between success and failure.

“Forging emotional connection and resonance can make the difference between success and failure”

This is illustrated by the examples where brands show they ‘get it’ – and the ones that show they don’t. Heineken’s #openyourworld ad showed people genuinely opening their minds to the opposing point of view.  It was published soon after the disastrous Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad which attracted stinging criticism for exploiting the #blacklivesmatter protests (Pepsi apologized and removed the ad from their own channel.) The glaring difference between the two: one moved, the other diminished.

Airbnb’s #we accept campaign is another that valued psychographics over the less human demographic segments.

The ‘winners’ in each of these cases – Brexiteers, Heineken, Airbnb – all responded to how they knew people felt. They made it human and stirred complicit emotion that connects to values – a lesson many could learn from.

Anni Hood, Co-founder and Chief Executive, Well Intelligence

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