Millennials and Gen Z are more anxious and worried about their mental health than previous generations, and major brands are now finding a way to capitalize on this. Marketing for previous generations has revolved around how to be perfect, but over recent years, the focus has turned more toward how not being perfect is just fine.
A Trillion Dollar Industry
With increasing frequency, brands and retailers have been eager to cash in on the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry. Especially now that the market is flooded with CBD products, bath salts, and essential oils, among others, consumers are flocking to whatever may help their overall well being. And even if your store doesn’t sell any of these items, which by now you probably should be, there are still plenty of ways to garner the attention of the younger generations by promoting mental health awareness.
How Retailers Are Participating
Saks Fifth Avenue, an American department store selling a variety of health and beauty products, debuted experiential installations in October and November of 2019 devoted to mental wellness in partnership with Happy Not Perfect, a mindfulness app and platform created by Poppy Jaime, former co-founder of accessories brand Pop & Suki. Shoppers could participate in the Happy Not Perfect Happiness Challenge which includes eight exercises such as “positive psychology, neuroscience and meditation,” as described in a press release.
There’s also the Los Angeles-based streetwear brand Madhappy, which made headlines in October of 2019 by nabbing an investment from French luxury conglomerate LVMH after just one year in business. The brand’s mission is to normalize conversations about mental health, which has helped it grow an engaged community of Gen-Z shoppers.
Part of this mission includes a blog featuring content focused on wellness and mental health, including resources for those looking for help, information on meditation and interviews with celebrities on their own mental-health struggles. Madhappy is using mental health awareness to connect with consumers on a different level other than just purchasing their products.
Going Beyond the Merchandise
Studies have shown that purpose-driven companies are more likely to attract and retain millennial employees, outperform less purposeful competition and appeal to Millennial and Gen-Z consumers. According to a 2019 report on Gen Z’s beauty shopping habits compiled by WGSN, “Gen Z prizes brands that offer moments of calm, sensorial experiences and products that support their physical, mental and emotional well-being.”
Going beyond products, some brands are also partnering with mental health organizations. In 2019 alone, we saw Revlon partner with advocate and model Adwoa Aboah’s mental health organization Gurls Talk, Kanye West sold Yeezys to raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Aerie introduced mental health initiatives through its Role Models program, and Kenneth Cole formed The Mental Health Coalition, an initiative aiming to destigmatize mental health conditions by bringing together nonprofits, businesses, brands, celebrities and influencers.
The fact is that health and beauty products for overall well-being are a hot trend, and if you’re not selling at least some of these products in your store, you should really look into adding them to one of your lines. The merchandise you sell isn’t the only way retailers can connect with the anxious generations. Between social media, partnership programs, and asking the simple question ‘How are you doing?’ you can have your customers making a personal connection with you on a whole new level.