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March 2019 – Edition 26

TEAMING UP WITH FOOTBALL

When Manchester United and Paris St Germain met in the second leg of their Champions League tie, it was also a match between two sponsors: Marriott, which has just signed a global marketing partnership with Man United; and Accor, which a few days later became the next shirt sponsor of Paris St Germain.

What has that got to do with wellness? Well it’s possibly more than a coincidence that two leading hotel brands have each sought to associate themselves with one of the world’s leading football clubs. The Marriott Bonvoy travel programme will give members exclusive access to a range of experiences hosted by Manchester United, ranging from shadowing the stadium announcer and the kit manager to helping prepare matchday kit, and meeting some of the club’s top former players.

Accor, meanwhile, will put its Paris St Germain sponsorship at the heart of its new loyalty program, ALL (Accor Live Limitless) and will also offer “once in a lifetime experiences” involving the football club.

“Football has proven potential as a unifying force, bringing together people, and creating community cohesion, shared experiences and social interaction.”

Sport – and football in particular – has proven potential as a unifying force, bringing together people, and creating community cohesion, shared experiences and social interaction. The World Economic Forum highlighted this fact in its January meeting last year with the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”.

In other words, sport – and football – represents a way to instill intergenerational wellbeing from a grassroots level, rather than an out of reach service, meaningless cosmetic labeling or the latest indulgence. Call it wellbeing by stealth, but it’s a democratising approach that delivers from the ground up.

Anni Hood, Chief Executive, Well Intelligence

THE KEY TO WORKPLACE WELLBEING: A DECENT WAGE

Britons are getting wealthier but not any happier, according to new Government data showing that, while incomes are rising, rates of happiness have leveled off. The Office for National Statistics has for the first time pulled together the two sets of data, comparing household disposable income – which was up 0.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 – and measurements of happiness, wellbeing, and optimism about the future.

Glen Everett, the ONS’s Head of Inequalities, said: “Despite high levels of employment, rising incomes and spending across UK households, people are not reporting increases in their well-being. This may be due to worries about rising debt repayments, which could be driving concerns about their future financial situation.”

And a recent study from Purdue University, published in Nature Human Behavior, and reported in USA Today, found that levels of happiness and wellbeing tend to decline above a certain level of income, which varies around the world – $105,000 in North America. The desire to keep up with others, once basic needs are met, with the stress and extra work that demands, may be the reason why wellbeing falls beyond that optimum point, says the study’s author Andrew Jebb.

“The desire to keep up with others, once basic needs are met, may be the reason why wellbeing falls beyond the optimum point”

For many, the perfect balance between wealth and wellbeing remains elusive. In the US, cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle have all introduced a $15 per hour minimum wage, but this is woefully inadequate, with the Federal Government estimating that one in eight households is food insecure – a figure 22 per cent higher than before the Financial Crisis.

What this suggests is that the relationship between money and happiness is far from simple. At the lower end of the scale increased income makes a real difference – and for any employer looking at workplace wellbeing the first step is to pay a real living wage.

Steve Dunne, Chairman, Well Intelligence

KEEP WELLNESS CLEAR AND SIMPLE

WW – the company that used to be Weight Watchers until it re-branded together with the strapline “Wellness that Works” in 2018 – has seen its shares dive 32 per cent after it issued a profits warning for 2019. The company lost 600,000 subscribers during the second half of last year, and warned that the start to 2019 had been “very disappointing”.

There is a lot to like about a more inclusive approach to our overall health and wellbeing, it is exactly the way the world is turning but if you’re imagining that the ‘wellness’ tag is going to transform business fortune simply by including it, what has happened to Weight Watchers is a red flag to think again.

Wellness is a catch all for lifestyle habits that contribute to our state of wellbeing. Most people hear the term ‘wellness’ but aren’t clear on what is meant by it. The services provided to customers need clear purpose, intention, value and worth. Ironically, the vast ‘wellness’ umbrella, without definition, can present the opposite.

“If you’re imagining that the ‘wellness’ tag is going to transform business fortune simply by including it, what has happened to Weight Watchers is a red flag to think again.”

Last year the Weight Watchers CEO told the Financial Times: “There’s nothing wrong with ‘Weight Watchers’, but if we’re going to present ourselves as a wellness brand for all, it’s about more than just weight.” She’s totally right but if we go too fast, people get lost.

At the time we shared: “Our prediction for the wellbeing sector is this: clarity and plain speak will out-perform ambiguity.” We continue to stand by that. The lesson is clear: wellness is not a trend that can be adopted like putting on a new item of clothing, and guard the value of your brand!

Anni Hood, Chief Executive, Well Intelligence

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