Nutraceuticals: 3 Ways Brands Can Connect with Empowered Consumers
This blog post has been contributed by Vince Schaller, Managing Director, SGK Health
Health and wellness are top of mind for consumers across generations today. Every day is a new opportunity to enrich their quality of life with products that speak to healthy lifestyle choices. It's also an opportunity for brands to practice wellness by repositioning to connect emotionally with empowered consumers.
The term ‘nutraceuticals’ was coined in the late 1980’s to describe food products that have medical benefits. The category includes functional foods, nutritional supplements, sport drinks, and medically formulated foods — which provides unique opportunities for food and pharma companies to collaborate.
Based on national surveys done in the US, 1 in 5 people use a non-vitamin, non-mineral dietary supplement, such as ginseng or fish oil. Broadening the survey to include vitamins and minerals, which are also considered dietary supplements, the results increase to 1 in 3 people. These products are typically available in pharmacies and drugstores without prescription and are part of the growing nutraceuticals industry.
According to a recent review of the category, nutraceuticals could include herbal extracts, individual micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), amino acids, adaptogenic compounds, enzymes and potentially prebiotics and probiotics.
Despite being an often bold and innovative industry, its lack of global regulation has led consumers to hesitate purchasing solely based on claims found on the packaging or in marketing. But there are steps nutraceutical brands can take to overcome consumer skepticism.
1. Transparency is the Best Policy
The dietary supplement market is growing at a rapid rate and is predicted to record a global revenue of $394 billion by 2026. It’s also a highly competitive market, with more than 450 supplement manufacturers in the US alone. So how can brands break through the noise? One way it be as transparent as possible.
Extensive research, clinical trials, and verified health claims are some of the best marketing tools that nutraceuticals companies can put forth when marketing their products. Despite being an industry that is minimally regulated, some companies are taking it upon themselves to ensure clear, transparent data by investing more time and money into clinical research.
It’s also important for brands to tailor their marketing strategies to each country. Because the industry isn’t regulated globally, rules and consumer preferences will vary. However, for every region and audience persona that brands are trying to reach, they should strive to ensure they’re marketing is clear as possible by avoiding exaggerated claims or colloquialisms like “superfood,” which confuse the consumer and lead to further distrust.
2. Broad but Personalized
According to a report by Euromonitor International, online sales of consumer health products doubled over 2012-2017, mainly due to very fast online sales growth of vitamins and dietary supplements, which reached $13.5 billion in 2017. This aligns with the shopping habits of Millennials and Gen-Z consumers, who tend to seek more online and mobile options when addressing their health.
This is a trend from which nutraceuticals brands can benefit—an opportunity to reach a broad audience online, while targeting customers with a personalized e-commerce experience.
Examples of this include the launches of various direct-to-consumer vitamin brands like Persona Nutrition, Care/Of, or VitaMe, which use quizzes and online tools to create targeted supplement recommendations.
One company called Baze takes personalization a step further by offering in-home blood tests to determine a customer’s best course of treatment. These online-only brands are engaging with their audience at various touchpoints of the shopping experience, including social media, remarketing strategies, and influencer partnerships.
While changing buying habits are sure to influence the role of e-commerce for nutraceuticals, it’s clear that consumers not only want personalized regimen recommendations, they also want to find it at the comfort of their computers and smartphones.
3. Utilize Nutrition Specialists
According to a Mintel study, one third of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements users are swayed by a professional endorsement. Consumers seek professional guidance to understand the market, and nutrition and health specialists are considered a respected resource to help them navigate the wealth of information and options.
The nutraceuticals market can be difficult for consumers to navigate—even just understanding how they differ from over-the-counter products can be a challenge. Brands should utilize health specialists to create a higher level of awareness of how their products can be used, how they interact with other medications, and how they compare to others on the market.
Brands can develop resources about their products that will not only inform specialists but provide them with tools to better communicate with clients about their supplement usage.
Education from brands is key, so brands should utilize evidence-based data to show how their supplements interact with other supplements, over-the-counter medications, and prescriptions. It’s up to nutrition and health specialists to ensure information is correctly administered to their clients, but it’s up to the brands to engage with the experts.
What do nutraceutical brands need to know?
Consumers integrate nutraceuticals products into their daily health regimen in a variety of formats for myriad reasons. It’s important for brands in this growing industry to reach audiences with transparency, personalization, and outreach to nutrition and health specialists.
About Vince Schaller: Vince leads the SGK Health global teams that deliver effective and efficient brand building solutions. Vince has 25 years of experience with brands across a wide spectrum of both B2B and B2C audiences that include Pharma, Medical Device, Nutraceutical, and Animal Health segments.
How Millennials are Shaping the Future of the Pet Care Industry
Pet ownership is on the rise in the US, with the market being valued at $86.7 billion in 2018—a 6% increase from the prior year—and is estimated to grow an additional 28% until 2023. And Millennials are some of the biggest drivers behind this industry growth.
As Millennials wait later to have children, or decide not to have any children, pets are playing a more significant role in their lives, resulting in their willingness to spend more discretionary income on pampering their pets with products, technology, and experiences. Money is no object when it comes to keeping people happy and giving them a chance to enjoy their companion animal’s company for as long as possible.
Below we’ve outlined four areas in which Millennials are elevating the pet care conversation.
Customization: Bring Your Furry Friends.
Over time the role of pets has evolved, particularly for Millennials who are now seeing their pets akin to children and friends. The result in the market is a higher demand for pet-friendly products and shared experiences that were formerly exclusive to human consumption. This has meant certain changes in policy and more overall acceptance toward furry friends in a variety of industries and retail sectors.
For places like pet-friendly hotels, bars, and retailers, the benefit is mutual for both owners and proprietors. Customers can share an experience with their fur babies, and the retailers will often receives free promotion via social media. One example of this is Nordstrom, which not only welcomes well-behaved furry friends but launched a #dogsofnordstrom tag on Instagram.
Though they face trickier regulations surrounding health, safety, and zoning, cat and dog cafes can now be found in most major cities around the world. They not only create shared experiences for owners and their companions, but also allow an opportunity to participate in charitable experiences, as partnering with local shelters, either via donations or hosting adoption events.
Lifestyle Enhancement: Fido, VP of Employee Recruitment.
Millennials are shaping the future of the workforce in a variety of ways, but offering pet benefits is creating a cultural shift and having a long-term impact on workforce recruitment and retention.
The Millennial mindset integrates work and play in a way that previous generations hadn’t. Millennials want to be able to make their workspace more like home and having their pets with them is one of the best ways they can accomplish this. Offering pet-friendly offices give companies an opportunity to boost to employee morale and camaraderie, and 90% of workers feel a stronger connection to employers who embrace pet-friendly policies.
Additionally, companies are more frequently offering remote work, which appeals to employees who want to feel less anxious about leaving their pets at home for the workday. Employers can even turn to more unique policies as a way to retain talent, such as in-house pet daycare, pet bereavement leave, and “paw-ternity leave” for new pet parents.
Convenience: Connection at Your Paw-tips.
Millennials are defined as having been born between 1977 and 1994. Whether on the older or younger age of this group, this generation tends to be tech savvier than their Boomer predecessors. This tech-heavy lifestyle extends to Millennials’ pets, with 60% of pet owners acknowledging that technology has useful applications that brings them peace of mind, which explains the rise in popularity of pet tech products.
When they can’t physically be home with their companion animals, they’re connecting to them through technology. Pet technology makes it possible to track and monitor pets’ behavior as well as provide owners with easier, more convenient access to services and products. The result is an plethora of technology options, ranging from cameras and feeders, to litter boxes and doggie doors, all with the intention of providing an opportunity for owners to stay connected to their pets and tend to their needs while they’re away for long periods of time.
Quality: Man’s Healthiest Friend.
Younger generations are tracking their own health and wellness metrics closely, and what they are tracking for themselves, they’re also tracking for their pets. This translates to ensuring better diets by opting for fresher and more customized food from subscription boxes like Pet Plate, which ships specialized, portion-controlled frozen dishes.
Tracking pet wellness also extends to owners’ relationships with their veterinarians. Most veterinarians employ telemedicine services, which can include anything from emails to texts to video conferencing. 85% of owners find these tools appealing and are selecting their vet care specialists based on the availability of those services. Prescriptions and vitamins orders can also be placed online, with services like MixLab, which ships personalized medications and wellness products for pets. These types of services are proving that, for Millennials, health and wellness doesn’t necessarily need to take place in-person.
What do pet brands need to know?
Millennials are shifting the way the pet care industry operates—these ingredient-conscious shoppers are going digital. To provide the best products, care, and overall lifestyle for their pets, Millennials are looking for customization, convenience, quality, and lifestyle enhancement. To navigate the intense competition within this category, brands must prioritize their digital investments to connect with owners—and their pets—on a deeper level.
How to Support Innovation, Drive Efficiencies and Reduce Costs in a Value-based Healthcare Environment
At last year’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, SGK Health spoke with a number of companies about how technology is advancing healthcare, and how design thinking can help confer efficiencies and maintain a human-centric approach as new value-based models are explored, tested and realized.
This year we bring a different but related set of conversations to the conference that emphasize the importance of supporting innovation, driving efficiencies and reducing costs in an increasingly value-based and consumer-centric healthcare environment.
We have identified three critical pillars to success:
1. Effective Brand Engagement: The strength of a brand depends on the depth, consistency and appeal to which it connects with a customer. Continuous and consistent engagement that empathetically connects with customers’ needs is the key to gaining and maintaining brand adoption, trust and loyalty.
2. Global Omni-Channel Content Management: A brand can only be effective if it remains relevant and engaging. Consistent messaging across all global marketing channels is critical to success. Global, omni-channel content management and optimization ensures targeted messaging, consistent brand presentation and real-time responsiveness from customers.
3. Marketing Supply Chain Optimization: Quick, efficient and effective delivery of branded marketing messages and products depends on the self-sustaining continuous improvement infrastructure that is in place to support it. With the right infrastructure, process and stage gates, engaging branded marketing material and products can be continually and flawlessly delivered while remaining consistent with the original branded intent.
Healthcare companies that have achieved measurable results in each of these areas include:
Effective Brand Engagement. A global leader in medical devices and diabetes management created a successful new patient-centric and empathetic brand while reducing production costs and launch timing by 50%.
Omni-Channel Approach to Global Content Management. One of the world’s largest and most successful nutritional companies built a global, consumer-facing brand and content management system that improved quality output, efficiency and global brand consistency while enabling local marketing material adaptation. The company achieved revenue growth of 12% and 15% during the last 2 quarters respectively while enjoying a 63% year-over-year stock price increase.
Optimized Marketing Supply Chain. A global top 10 healthcare company re-engineered its labeling and artwork supply chain, including roles and responsibilities, to achieve $3.1M in annual hard cost savings and $6.8M in annual labor hour reductions.
How might your organization become better poised to win in the new era of value-based care? Let's have a conversation.