When I read the new McKinsey report – A changing fitness consumer: Imperatives and opportunities for fitness players – one word stood out above all else.
The detail of the report is of course fascinating – as summarised in our previous blog – but for me, the real significance lies in the recognition that everything now revolves around wellness.
“Wellness is increasingly important to consumers,” we’re told from the word go, in the report’s Foundational Consumer Trends. “Consumers are increasingly curious and adopting holistic solutions to help them live healthier lives.”
At the same time, “the lines between fitness and broader wellness are increasingly blurred”, with “nutrition and mindfulness most notable examples of this”.
All of which, observe the report’s authors, “presents an ideal moment to consider new business models”.
So, what might those business models look like? How and where can fitness providers – of all shapes and sizes, traditional and non-traditional – add value to the consumer in a hybrid world that’s more broadly focused on wellness, not just fitness?
Bite off what you can chew
My belief is this: that there’s a gap right now into which fitness providers could reasonably hope to step: that of a wellness hub which draws together and joins the dots between various repositories of expertise and programming. This is the first step to transitioning from fitness to wellness.
Almost inevitably, this will need to be a collaborative venture; with perhaps one or two exceptions globally, a single fitness provider will never be able to do it all – certainly not in a competitively expert, undisputed market-leading way.
Why? Because where fitness has traditionally been about exercise, aesthetics and occasionally nutrition – and if we’re honest, often not measured or tracked as much as it could or should have been – wellness is physical health, mental wellbeing and mindfulness, enhanced fitness and vitality, improved health metrics, optimised nutrition, improved sleep, reduced stress, even appearance in the broader sense of athleisurewear and skincare. And that’s just the tip of the wellness iceberg.
There will be fitness providers who want to bite all of this off to see if they can chew it by themselves. My advice is not to even try. Yes, you should look inwards to identify where you really excel; these are the elements of wellness you can deliver yourself. But you should then quickly turn your gaze outwards, to find partners who can help you cover off all the other facets of wellness in a way that reflects positively on your brand.
You don’t have to physically do it all, or even own it all, to be an effective wellness hub. It’s all about the execution.
Wellness content is king
And in this increasingly hybrid world, execution will live and die on world-class wellness content. Why? Because content is the single element of wellness provision that transcends all boundaries of time and geography.
I think I could probably write a book on content strategy, so let me condense my thoughts into a few topline paragraphs, with the open offer to continue the conversation should you wish to get in touch.
First, where you have in-house expertise, your content creation strategy should include the empowerment of your experts. Incentivise them to consistently create powerful new content by offering them a share of the revenue; the more views their content gets, the more they earn. You have to stay front of mind in this world of endless choice, and that means a steady stream of fresh new content.
With that in mind, even in these facets of wellness where you’re creating your own content, strength in depth can be bolstered through external partnerships.
But certainly where you don’t have in-house expertise – sleep, perhaps, or stress – you categorically have to bring in the reinforcements.
And yes, by that I of course mean partners like Wexer, which prides itself on having the world’s biggest (and ever-growing) wellness library – not just fitness but holistic wellbeing too, from Sleep Stories to meditation, mind-body to Breathe, Self-Care by Sweat Factor to Mind123’s wellness education.
Given that all of this world-class content, created by leading experts from around the globe, can be white labelled… well, why would you waste time and resources trying to reinvent the wheel?
After all, to quote McKinsey once more, consumers’ expectations are rising. If your content isn’t up to scratch, your brand equity will take a knock and your customers will take off to pastures new.
A rising tide…
But let’s finish on a positive note, because all of this represents a huge opportunity for fitness providers. As McKinsey observes, the changing fitness consumer means “the sector’s total revenue pool is growing”. We really are in the midst of that hallowed rising tide that at least has the potential to float all boats.
But to be one of the boats that does indeed float, you need to be playing in this wellness space. The time is now to find your trusted partners – partners who will help you deliver a far more rounded wellness product than you could hope to create on your own.
To discuss how Wexer can support you in the shift from fitness to wellness, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org