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Leveraging brand halos – how the food and beverage conversation is changing

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Call it people power. Or maybe just clever branding. But the wellness industry is exponentially growing, creating a lucrative opportunity for businesses. The global wellness economy is now so pervasive that 73% of global consumers consider wellness an essential element of a brand’s strategy, showing that health can quite literally become wealth.

For brands to successfully capitalise on this they must differentiate, and to differentiate they must first understand the change in conversation. When it comes to wellbeing, in the past brands have talked about problem solving benefits, but with the rise of DNA testing and personalised offerings, we are seeing a shift towards preventative health and maintaining wellbeing.

Whilst this shift has already occurred within the supplement market, we predict the Food & Beverage category will see a rise in brands positioning their product within the preventative and holistic wellbeing space.

What does generation Z want from food?

Consumer’s expectations have shifted, they now want more from their food and drink purchases. In the already saturated category, consumers are making more considered purchases, looking for delicious food which is good for their mind, body and soul, from brands with a ‘purpose’. The brands who stay top of mind are those who clearly manage to deliver proven and measurable tangible end benefits, which improve the lives of consumers and that of the wider society, without just green washing. Easier said than done I hear you say. 

What is a halo brand?

At 1HQ we refer to these tangible end benefits as ‘halos’. Many brands get caught up in communicating the ‘shadows’ that they are fixing, for example how sustainable their packaging is. From the perspective of a consumer, when brands do this, they are merely fixing a wrong which needs to be made right, so in this case, minimising their pollution on the planet which doesn’t actually add any additional value to their proposition. 

This is also the case with the personal end benefit of a product where brands communicate the ‘shadow’ they have fixed, such as ‘no added sugar’, when this is merely keeping up with the rest of the category and fixing an existing issue. It will be the brands that find their additional personal benefits within the holistic wellbeing space, such as gut health or mental wellbeing, and/or benefit society, that will have the power to drive change. But it must be a tangible, evidenced deliverable, as consumers are increasingly becoming cynical and savvy to purpose-washing. 

How can brands benefit consumers?

A brand effectively communicating its ‘halo’, responding to the demand for tangible benefits, is Dash water. Their proposition of a flavoursome, zero calorie and low sugar fizzy drink, initially appears to only be fixing the ‘hidden sugar shadow’ of the soft drinks category, however their promise that they are ‘reducing food waste by accepting misfit fruit,’ appeals to both the health and society benefit need that consumers are looking for.

Meal kit brands such as ‘The Mindful Chef’ have also created a valuable proposition by offering a connected wellness experience through their healthy ‘cook at home’ boxes. These kits have helped inspire positivity, encouraging families to cook together through the use of ‘family friendly’ recipes and instructions, whilst retaining their core health offering. It is brands like these, with multi-faceted propositions, that are appealing to the hearts and health of consumers. 

The other challenge that brands must consider is the ability to create effective communications in order to cut through the saturated food and beverage category. This is best done through the subconscious. The psychology behind this explains that humans respond best when messages

communicate with the parts of their brain that control emotions, behaviour and decision making. This is crucial when 95% of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious.

This isn’t new information for us marketeers but it’s becoming increasingly crucial for brands to leverage, in order to cut through the category and communicate their reason to exist. We help organisations to understand the semiotics of all of their visual and verbal brand communications, at every touchpoint in order to effectively communicate their benefits to that system 1 subconscious part of the brain.


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