Traditional marketing thinking is about tapping into consumer aspirations to create demand for products and services. Its mission is to drive consumption, and in doing so ultimately maximising financial profit for corporations. The conventional capitalist model suggests that if marketing is effective, then business prospers, profits will ensure people remain employed, the economy grows, and the wellbeing of society is assured.
In more recent times this philosophy is becoming increasingly scrutinised by consumers. The advent of new technology that empowers people with knowledge and the ability to easily share information, combined with the negative impacts of today’s big societal issues such as climate change, the global financial crisis, and the increasing burden of chronic disease (arguably caused by excesses of a society obsessed by consumerism), are all contributing to consumers having a very sceptical view of the corporation.
Increasingly people are seeking out brands that offer something more than a product. They are drawn to brands that have a greater purpose; that use their commercial success for a greater good that benefits not only shareholders, but also the society as a whole.
This paradigm shift in consumer attitudes has meant business has had to change. Corporations are beginning to realise that investing in what is good for the society such as wellbeing, health, sustainability, and building community, actually translates into positive business outcomes. It’s going beyond just a moral obligation, to actually making commercial sense. Companies can now engage with consumers and society on more mutually beneficial terms without affecting the bottom line. Shifting from ‘pure-consumerism’ towards ‘Humanising’ the marketing effort.
In Australia, Health and Wellness is our society’s greatest asset. It is the mechanism that supports growth and builds stronger communities. However, what we often take for granted is actually under great threat. Globalisation, Urbanisation, Affluence, Connectivity, and Individualism, despite their advantages, are also making us sick. Rising incidents of chronic disease, increased stress, the obesity epidemic, work-life imbalance, and poor mental health, are just some of the symptoms of our unhealthy society. The Australian Government is starting to address this by developing a national preventative health strategy, and empowering individuals to play a more active role in their own health and wellness, and encouraging all types of businesses to innovate in ways that will contribute to positive social outcomes and community health. The self-care movement is growing, and previously traditional consumer companies such as Nike, Unilever, Nestle, and Coke are incorporating social causes centred on health and wellness into their brand DNA.
Being green is no longer a differentiator. Sustainability is now the minimum entry point for business. The new frontier of CSR is embedding health and wellness motivations and outcomes into products, and in doing so building healthier communities around your brand, and positive outcomes for society.