Listening to communities and responding to their needs is at the heart of bringing wellness to more people.
Our Future of Wellness report revealed that a majority of people surveyed are excited about wellness technology and innovation. But 44% don’t feel these innovations are made with them in mind. This leaves us with a question: How can we help a larger and more diverse group of people improve their well-being?
Community may be an important part of the answer. During our Advertising Week panel, Wellness for Every Body and Mind, Healthline Media sat down with three inspiring wellness creators who are working to build diverse communities and foster their well-being. As we all do the work to bring wellness solutions to the people who want them, we can learn from these panelists’ approaches. No matter the scale of the work, we need to start with listening deeply to communities, while remaining willing and agile enough to change in response to their needs.
Empowering BIPOC Communities to Build Wellness Journeys
Wilma Mae Basta, founder and chief executive of DRK Beauty Healing, spoke about her effort to provide a community platform where Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) can get the information and inspiration they need to shape their wellness journeys. The result is a digital mental health and wellness platform focused on providing free therapy for Women of Color.
Her idea came out of a need that became clear during the pandemic when she recognized that pandemic trauma and generational and race-related trauma were resting heavily on BIPOC communities. Despite the clear need for it, actually pursuing wellness can be complicated for BIPOC.
After experiencing depression 11 years ago, Basta had to forge her own wellness journey, which took her as far as India in search of solutions. She recognizes that everyone’s journey is unique but believes a community platform can be powerful in helping people explore and learn from creators and experts. These insights led Basta to work to address inequality in the mental health space — most recently, by helping Women of Color find free therapy sessions thanks to a stated goal of 10,000 donated hours from clinicians across the United States.
Creating Check-In Opportunities for BIPOC to Find Support
Sinikiwe Dhliwayo is the founder of Naaya Wellness, through which she focuses on holding space for BIPOC while compelling other wellness brands to address equity and inclusion as well.
Dhliwayo came to this work due to her time working in the wellness industry, where she often found herself as the only person of color in the room. Her frustrations with this experience led her to think about how to foster wellness communities for people like herself.
Founding Naaya has allowed her to create opportunities for BIPOC to connect with each other and find support, including around difficult topics. Today, the Naaya community reach has grown — in fact, with the focus on online connection during the pandemic, people from around the world began engaging with the brand.
One of the core ways Dhliwayo works to foster community is through the Check-In program, which offers BIPOC youth support for mental well-being. This currently includes virtual yoga and meditation and in the near future may include resources for free therapy.
Listening and Responding to the Needs of a Large Community
Deb Benovitz, the SVP of Human Truths and Community Impact at WW, describes her mission as discovering human truths. She listens to the needs of her global community and works to adapt WW’s offerings to meet those needs and create an even stronger community.
Through listening to their community and the general consumer population, WW recognized that weight loss is only one piece of the wellness journey. The brand has since grown to be more holistic, as people in the community were asking to be seen as whole people. Benovitz explained that people may come to WW for weight loss, but, in addition to a tight-knit community, they stay for integrated wellness tools and resources for nutrition, activity, mindset and sleep.
Since our panel, WW has continued their work to better support that whole-person approach in part by launching their new PersonalPoints Program to help with sustainable weight management and healthy living. In addition, the wellness company has sought out the expertise and partnership of brands such as Breethe and obé fitness, and continues to listen to the community to incorporate more science-backed content into their program. That humanizing approach is also reflected in the WW app with their safe-social platform Connect, which is built to offer people a way to feel human connection with other like-minded folks in the community.
Understanding Audiences to Build the Future of Wellness
To bring wellness to more people, we believe that having a deep understanding of audience insights is the first step. Like these panelists, we want to be grounded in the needs of the people we serve.
In Healthline Media’s recent survey, we asked 2,102 U.S. adults about their beliefs, behaviors, and needs around wellness innovations and technologies. In our Future of Wellness report, we share some of our key audience findings, including the fact that some groups of people — including People of Color and low-income respondents — are especially interested in the potential for wellness innovations, and aren’t yet using them at levels that match that interest.
By listening to audiences, we’ve learned that there are opportunities in wellness today. Many people are eager for solutions — especially innovations that are designed to meet their needs. We’re excited to see our panelists and their brands working to create tools, platforms, and support that truly empower these communities.
For more information on Future of Wellness, contact your Healthline Media representative or email us today.