What is a health brand?
12. October 2023
Reading time: 5 min
But what about CBD and (non-medical) marijuana? What about supplements and meditation apps? What about food or personal care or even leisure activities? The lines are starting to blur as mental and emotional, even planetary health enter the chat. I have a slightly hot take (very hot, to some) on the whole thing: Every brand can, and probably should, be a health brand to some extent.
It's even a game I like to play. Give me a brand, and I will tell you how it can be a health brand. My entry is usually simple: "What about this brand can make you feel better?" or "Where can this brand have a lasting impact?" It's harder for things like snacks or alcohol (but I can do it!), and easier for things like public transportation or games.
I’ve been inspired by brands going beyond just their brand purpose to create an actual difference in the physical, mental, or emotional health of their audience. For example:
Everyone needs clothing, but most brands often overlook the needs of customers with disabilities, other than an occasional inclusive image. What I love about this is not just normalizing physical disabilities, but hidden ones as well by including a selection of Sensory Friendly items: “Skin-friendly styles for reduced sensory stimulation and increased comfort,” and being able to filter selections based on need. Such a simple, empathetic move and—boom—Zalando is now a health brand.
Meeting people at their comfort level PLUS social consciousness moves this from self-care to comprehensive healthcare in my view. I would argue that shaving care company Billie has been operating as a health brand from the get-go rather than being strictly personal care. Especially when they have products like the “No worries if not” board game for sale alongside razors and shave cream on their site. It’s a real, physical game that demonstrates how women are expected to move through the world and surprise! No one wins—but there is an envelope in the box that you are supposed to open after you play that says, “You can’t win if you follow the rules. The only way to win is to make your own rules as you go.” Which—yes, valuable lesson. See you at Cannes, Billie.
Back in the day, Public Enemy wrote "911 is a Joke," talking about how underserved many areas in America were (and still are) by emergency services. It includes the line, “I call a cab ‘cause a cab will come quicker.” Lyft has made that into a reality by partnering with payers and health organizations to get patients to and from appointments, offering special vehicles and training for drivers to pick up and drop off people with special needs. In places with an overburdened health system, jumping in and picking up the slack is not only good business for Lyft, but it also makes them a health brand.
My husband and I were walking around Frankfurt on his birthday, and there was a shop that said, “Here you can drink beer and throw axes“, which was an invitation we could not pass up. An hour later, we’d done both things, and it was FUN. One of our coaches encouraged me to think of the target as a problem in my life, which not only improved my aim and force but also made the problem seem laughable. We walked out happier than we went in, and the next day we were both a little sore. So, reader, I can confidently tell you that axe-throwing should absolutely be touted as a health brand, both emotional and physical.
Want cyperfection to help you bring out the health in your brand? Send me a message, and let’s do this!