October 2018 – Edition 5


In an era when ageing is engulfing the world, and economic growth is largely reliant upon productivity improvement, digital detox could have a key part to play.

Despite the excitement about disruption and tech, productivity rates in richer countries are stagnant or even declining. One theory argues that the fourth industrial revolution is much less significant than its predecessors. Another argument is that we are not measuring productivity correctly, by failing to take account of intangible benefits.

“all the devices and mediums we use on a daily basis create a constant distraction and prevent us from focusing”

A third perspective is that technology is part of the problem, and wellness or wellbeing a significant part of the solution. Simply put, all the devices and mediums we use on a daily basis (apps, mobiles, social media, emails, etc.) create a constant distraction and prevent us from focusing – being mindful about what we do. According to some surveys, 75 percent of employers report that two or more hours a day are lost this way. 43 percent say it’s at least three hours a day. These are staggering figures proving that our devices can be “productivity killers”.

At the moment, digital detox is in vogue among the affluent who spend considerable amounts of money in wellness resorts learning how and when to part company with their digital devices. Going forward, digital detox may become the norm, being seen as one way to regain productivity and spur the economy. The average person touches their phone more than 2,500 times a day; repeated studies have already shown the productivity benefits of banning mobiles at work.

Thierry Malleret, Managing partner Well Intelligence


Wellbeing shouldn’t be seen as a purist or elitist pursuit.  Pricing and positioning may have made it appear that way, but in reality it is there for all. Tourists visiting the health retreats of the world, taking active holidays, immersing themselves in nature or seeking solace in a remote coastal cottage are consciously or intuitively seeking an enhanced state of wellbeing.

For younger generations when they travel, wellbeing is seen not so much as the attribute of a specific destination, but more as a state of being to be enjoyed along the way. The growing expectation is that wellness culture and options are a qualifier, not just a commoditised service. It’s no different from how digital technology makes it easy to book a hotel room. Faced with two similarly priced options, one efficient and time saving, the other clunky and slow, it’s a no-brainer which you would choose.

“The growing expectation is that wellness culture and options are a qualifier, not just a commoditised service.”

It’s been observed (by Dr. Jack Travis of the National Wellness Institute) that “the currency of wellness is connection” and that takes two forms – one high tech, the other visceral.

Making access to wellbeing freely available to all doesn’t mean the sector won’t prove lucrative. What it does mean is that businesses that want to stay ahead need to take it more seriously – it matters to every one of them. Cultivating wellbeing culture should be seen as a smart investment rather than an additional cost.

Anni Hood, Managing partner Well Intelligence


Weight Watchers has jumped aboard the wellness bandwagon with the re-invention of its brand as WW and the adoption of a new strapline “Wellness That Works”. It’s hardly surprising that WW wants to become associated with wellness, given the momentum behind the sector worldwide. But its move highlights the risks of brands following a trend towards great ambiguity and a more nebulous identity.

With its new branding, the $2.9billion club with its 4.5 million members is espousing a new purpose: “To inspire healthy habits for real life – for everyone”. In doing so, WW is following in the tracks of brands like Amazon and Apple, which have successfully broadened their definition, without being tied to a single niche.

“the original, reassuringly obvious mission of Weight Watchers still holds a lot to like”

But the original, reassuringly obvious mission of Weight Watchers still holds a lot to like. Obesity worldwide has tripled since 1975. In 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults globally were overweight and 650 million were obese. Preventable Type 2 diabetes has followed a similar pattern.Isn’t there a danger that we can no longer speak frankly about a reality that is staring us in the face? When brands adopt ambiguity in a desire to be more inclusive, two key issues become apparent: people become confused and misled and frustrated; and products and experiences become harder to sell because it’s less obvious what they are.

This trend does, however, open a gap in the market – for the brand that tells it how it is. Our prediction for the wellbeing sector is this: clarity and plain speak will out-perform ambiguity.

Anni Hood, Managing partner Well Intelligence

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