Are You In On Home Wellness?

The home has a major role in health and well-being. Help your customers optimize their living environment by focusing the conversation on wellness.

In its 2018 research report, “Build Well to Live Well,” the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) lays out a timeline of movements that paved the way for the future of “building better places to live.” In it, the 1990s is cited as an instrumental decade for technology and innovation (using new technologies to enhance our living environments and create virtual communities) and green/sustainable building (building in a responsible, sustainable, resource-efficient way to minimize harm to the planet). It stops the timeline in the 2000s, with a focus on putting human health and well-being at the center of housing and neighborhood design—citing trends like wellness real estate (an industry valued at $134 billion in 2017, growing by 6.4% annually since 2015), which emphasizes on wellness-focused homes and communities, something that is currently seeing high consumer demand. Says GWI Senior Researcher Katherine Johnston,

“The home is the last frontier in wellness, and this is the most important research we’ve undertaken, not just because it’s a hot new industry market, but because it’s about where and how we live.”

That’s a hefty statement—one that might make you pause to think about how your own home is doing on its “return on wellness.” This isn’t about how much kombucha you have in the refrigerator or how many times you’ve dusted off the treadmill in the basement. This is about the intangible nature of the abode—how one’s energy reacts to the energy of the space around them. If that’s sounding a bit spiritual, it is, but it provides a unique opportunity for marketers to have a new—more emotional—conversation with consumers. If your brand touches space inside the home, you need to start talking wellness.

Here are a few areas to get the ball rolling.

Energy Efficiency

I recently posted on ways energy efficiency can increase wellness, and many of these factors are front and center in the home. Consumers may have bought smart thermostats, high-performing insulated windows and LED light bulbs to save a buck, but it turns out those things aren’t just good for the home budget. These products factor into several of the concepts outlined by the WELL Building Standard® (WELL) as part of a “comprehensive approach to well-being.”

Air, light and thermal comfort are concepts where energy efficiency and wellness intersect. According to the WELL Building Standard:

  • Air quality has long been associated with wellness. In the most recent Global Burden of Disease study, household air pollution was rated as the tenth most important cause of ill health for the world’s population.
  • Light plays with wellness in several ways. Good windows can help with daylighting—a way to increase alertness, enhance experience and promote sleep. Ambient lighting in the evenings can help to relieve stress.
  • Thermal comfort can maximize productivity and is one of the highest-contributing factors influencing overall satisfaction in a building.

Any brand that plays in the energy space (product manufacturers, renewable energy providers, utilities, smart home technology, etc.) can craft a narrative around how energy-efficient products and solutions help to support one’s overall wellness.

Home Layout

This isn’t about feng shui (although the aforementioned timeline does give it a shout-out as a “better living movement” from the 1980s). This is about one’s home inspiring a healthier lifestyle. The GWI proposes the term “active wellness,” which encourages proactive behaviors and habits that drive wellness. It could be something as simple as moving that treadmill from the basement up to an open room flooded with natural light. Or creating an outdoor space that inspires downtime and reflection.

If your brand is related to creating better aesthetics, you already have the authority to be a thought leader on how the home layout can help build better wellness. Think creatively about how you might tie your products and solutions to ideas that inspire healthier choices and better intentions around wellness. Be mindful of the intersections that consumers make with products in their homes, and propose new ways to think about what is the in the home, where it should go, and why it should be there.

The Mirror

Michael Jackson might have been on to something when he sang about starting with the “man in the mirror.” To answer the question on how well one’s home does wellness, a great starting point is to help consumers take a look at their current state of body and mind.

The ultimate goal of WELL is to create a positive human experience. The built environment (i.e., one’s home, office or where they spend the most time) is a canvas for painting the picture of health and wellness we want in our lives. The physical/social environment around us is the biggest factor to determine the state of our health. (In a WELL survey, it outranks lifestyle/health behaviors, medical care and genetics.) As WELL states,

“The buildings where we live, work, learn and relax profoundly impact our health, well-being and productivity.”

Marie Kondo would ask—does your home bring you joy? Can your brand help consumers ask themselves the same question? More importantly, can your brand help consumers make changes if the answer is “no”? For example, a water filtration company might position itself as an integral part of home wellness—clean drinking water is an obvious factor in wellness, but think beyond that to the mental benefits of clean, filtered water. Cleaner water makes for a better soak in the tub after a long day. Water without rust or other impurities means less staining on bathroom tile, so cleaning time is minimized and won’t require harsh chemicals to be spic and span. More time for the consumer = more time to focus on mental wellness. Fewer chemicals in the home = better physical wellness.

In our own research on well-being and home trends, we’ve come to the following conclusion: The definition of home has changed. Home used to be the term for one’s place of residence. We now think of it as one’s place for existence. We used to think of home as the social unit formed by a family living together—we now think of home as the energy formed by the cohesion of particular elements. Home used to be a way to refer to a familiar or usual setting, but we now see it as a comfortable and inspiring setting.

Lastly, home used to be the word used to define one’s place of origin. We now think of home as a place that can define one’s potential.

The goal: Find a way for your brand to leverage home wellness and personal potential.

To learn more on the ways you can activate these insights with your customers, contact our subject-matter expert Stephanie Crockett.