Well-State: What’s Next for Wellness?

Hero State:

Hero State Principle

Well-State: What’s Next for Wellness?

Anxiety and isolation have consumed the global imagination during the shutdown, particularly with younger generations. 65% of consumers said in a recent NPD survey that they believe the worst impacts are still to come. Concern for pandemics, elections, and the environment has put national anxiety levels into overdrive, presenting the wellness industry with the challenge/opportunity of finding new ways to respond to a shifting consumer psyche. Even as shelter-in-place orders relax, a return to social life as we knew it will be a slow process with an evolving emphasis on health.

As consumers look for protection, both literal and metaphorical, wellness brands providing safety and functionality will thrive. With the cosmetics industry taking a hit on beauty-related products, even teen spending on cosmetics dipped during the pandemic (Piper Jaffray), the focus will move toward new health initiatives, including teletherapy, and new immune supplements from brands like Hilma. Digital innovations are going beyond mindfulness to engage consumers virtually. The #selfcare app, for example, presents users with calming everyday tasks to complete in the digital world. Health and fitness apps already saw a 40% increase in downloads during the shutdown and will continue to shift more into the home wellness space. Is Zoom yoga the future ClassPass?

Self-love will also come into play as consumers find escapism in pampering and humor, with an emphasis on togetherness and shared stories. The popularity of The Social Distance Project, for example, or humorous publications riffing on popular TV shows like Sex and the City’s “Carrie’s Covid Columns,” bring irreverent humor to pandemic culture. The “treat yourself” mantra will move into the sensory space, with essential oils, candles, and quarantine baking being seen as wellness staples. Brands can engage in this space by becoming the ideal listeners and offering consumers the antidotes they need, from moments of playful levity to mental health tools.


A New Leadership Framework Emerges Around Collaboration

Hero State:

Hero State Principle

A New Leadership Framework Emerges Around Collaboration

As states begin to reopen across the country, new leadership emerged from the crisis from health officials and organizations, doctors and essential workers, and state governors. Despite small backlash movements, 70% of Americans reportedly approve of how their Governors handled the crisis, highlighting how state leaders asserted themselves onto the national stage over the last two months. As a result, consumers are turning to experts, scientists, and facts for guidance and safety once again. Brand and industry leaders during the pandemic, those who adjusted quickly and presented the right message, are finding a new way forward at the beginning of the “reopening” period through smart collaborative efforts.

While The Economist warns about the possible demise of globalization as we’ve come to know it, industries all over the world are keenly watching each other, looking for what’s working and what’s not, quickly learning from one another and adapting their playbook in real-time. An uncertain future means brands cannot rest, get comfortable, or assume that business as usual will resume. In this space we’ve seen the emergence of unusual collaborations – Apple and Google partnering up to launch a Covid-19 contact tracing network, smart adaptations like Stella McCartney’s cautious reopening plan, or brands like Nike continuing to focus on extraordinary community-based storytelling.

While rising to the occasion was crucial at the height of the crisis, playing a key restructuring role during this next “reopening” period could be even more crucial as companies, brands and even individuals come together to reconsider both their industry and their place in it. In fashion, for example, a group of brands and designers have launched a manifesto titled “#rewiring” the fashion industry, proposing a new set of rules that could drastically change the industry’s landscape. Consider how you’re listening, collaborating, and adjusting to your new normal is essential for the evolution of commerce in a post-Covid world.

Ask yourself, are you at the forefront of the changes happening in your industry? How are you leading the way toward a better business model? What were the challenges already facing your industry, and how can the shutdown be your opportunity for a smarter restart?


Hero Talk Episode 15: Covid-19 While Black, Featuring Brent Toussaint

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Hero Talk

Hero Talk Episode 15: Covid-19 While Black, Featuring Brent Toussaint


Hero Talk Episode 14: Apple's Former Head of Marketing for Latin America, Arturo Nuñez, Talks Leadership, Diversity and Finding Your North Star in Times of Crisis!

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Hero Talk

Hero Talk Episode 14: Apple's Former Head of Marketing for Latin America, Arturo Nuñez, Talks Leadership, Diversity and Finding Your North Star in Times of Crisis!


HeroTalk Episode 13 (Quarantine Edition): Are Millennials Screwed? Featuring Tru Pettigrew

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Hero Talk

HeroTalk Episode 13 (Quarantine Edition): Are Millennials Screwed? Featuring Tru Pettigrew


The State of Culture: Embracing the Creative Chaos

Hero State:

Hero State Principle

The State of Culture: Embracing the Creative Chaos

Consumers have never craved culture more. Deprived of restaurants, nightlife, museums, concerts, lectures, even education, we’re seeing an outpouring of creativity from a cultural landscape on pause. Musicians across the world are playing from their balconies or homes, artists are drawing and painting from their rooftops, and celebrities like Ariana Grande are bribing their followings to stay indoors in exchange for new music. 2,500 museums can now be visited online as the spring exhibitions continue, we can stream opera concerts nightly, and Spotify has created endless COVID-19 “party” playlists. We see DJs like DJ Nice hosting events like “Club Quarantine,” while apps like Houseparty and TikTok bring friends together creating virtual nightlife.

Embracing the aesthetics of the time, creatives are leaning in to the chaos, adopting the aesthetics of fluidity, utilizing techniques like splicing, assemblage, and manipulation. Bold voices will come from new platforms as the cultural hierarchy is leveled. Going forward it will be easier for new artists to break through, new voices to be heard, and for brands and companies it’s key to light on these emerging voices for inspiration, hope, and bold newness. The voices of the new decade will come from previously unknown artists and creatives.

It’s important to consider how much of culture will continue be virtual, however, as this could be the moment when creative culture becomes more virtual and assessable. Looking to the future of fashion, many designers are rightly rethinking the notion of fashion week, opting for digital runway shows for the remainder of the year. At home concerts like John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s “Together At Home” IGTV livestream could easily become commonplace. New film releases might drop directly into people’s homes in an exciting expansion of d2c connectivity.

While we expect much of creative culture to resume with vigor and enthusiasm in the coming months, there will be a shift toward remote viewing and accessible subscriptions. Brands must be ready to amplify these creative new solutions.

 


State of Commerce: The Need for Radical Resilience

Hero State:

Hero State Principle

State of Commerce: The Need for Radical Resilience

The fallout from the Great Shutdown thus far has resulted in consumers sheltering in place in most cities and states across the county, while business are hitting pause in unprecedented ways. Hashtags like #togetherathome and #stayathome trend across social media, and yet some businesses, brands, and individuals have placed their foot firmly on the accelerator, adapting quickly to new needs and shortages, contributing by retooling their supply chain to assist in crisis. This kind of nimble, radical thinking will power brands through this moment of uncertainty.

Often with hit or miss results—think of Telsa’s radical but hard-to-execute plan to create ventilators from car parts versus Louis Vuitton (LVMH) quickly converting their luxury design houses into mask and hand sanitizer factories—these acts of radical contribution, unthinkable just months ago, are the roadmap forward for brands. Companies are being forced to reinvent themselves in real time, adapting their messaging, products, and business models to a “business unusual” reality. Companies like Sweetgreen, delivering meals to the frontline rather than closing their doors, signal the kind of sacrifice we expect to see as the world resets.

This moment of radical transition is key to keeping a disrupted consumer base engaged, while beyond the immediate it’s important for all industries and brands to adapt to the consumer who will emerge once the stay-at-home orders have been lifted. Euphoric moments of freedom will be short-lived, replaced by a consumer who is pragmatic, cautious, and looking to spend and invest with a need-based mindset. A new value chain is emerging, and brands must be in alignment or they will quickly lose relevance.

Consider how you can radically rethink your resources, putting them to immediate use, sending signals of a steady hand in a time of crisis. Plan for an unknowable future by knowing that your product, messaging and model must radically adapt as the year unfolds. Remember to engage your consumer base, look for clues to their state of mind, priorities, and struggles. As social media tells us daily, we’re #inthistogether.


Culture Hack Live: The Darkside of Beauty with Selita Ebanks

Culture Hack

Culture Hack Live:

The Dark Side of Beauty with Selita Ebanks

Former supermodel and Victoria’s Secret spokeswoman talk the good, bad and the ugly of the fashion and beauty industry and what next for an industry that is ripe for disruption.


The Dark Side of Beauty with Selita Ebanks

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Culture Hack Live:

The Dark Side of Beauty with Selita Ebanks


Achieving a Hero State: Art of Unwinding

Hero State:

Health

Achieving a Hero State: “Art of Unwinding"

How Covid-19 Will Teach us to “Slow the F*ck Down”

The historic advent of Covid-19 has taught us a powerful lesson of adaptation. With most Americans used to living modern and connected lives, we must now reset around a reality of limited mobility, lack of control and heightened anxiety. At a time in which there is so much uncertainty, we must find a new way forward, and for many of us that will mean having to embrace a new pragmatic lifestyle.

The good news is that people have been experiencing a high level of burn out for a while now, resulting in them seeking greater efficiency in everything they do, so they can spend more time focusing on what really matters! Essentially, people are taking a healthy step back to analyze how best to move forward. Now more than ever, in the wake of Covid-19, consumers will have to learn to embrace a new lifestyle principle at Hero Collective we call the art of “Un-winding.” Un-winding does not only dictate a state of mind, but more so your overall state of being. Consumers want the most out their experiences, seeking deeper connections and meaning in what they invest their time in, like work, relationships and culture. Un-winding all of the fake and inauthentic clutter from one’s life. For brands it’s all about slowing down, stripping away the cosmetic layers and focusing on delivering a product that is steeped in a story that’s highly personal. We have seen this ideology exemplified in the rise of the wellness industry, the need for transparency, empathy in storytelling, the return of craft-driven products, movements such as farm-to-table, and organic everything. We are searching for a sense of connection and purpose amidst a world of noise and uncertainty. Our post-Covid-19 reality will see Un-winding enacted in ways that are even more extreme!

The following is list of principles that you can use to unlock the “Art of Unwinding”, which can help you identify/magnify your sense of purpose, at a personal and brand level during this crisis.

  1. Stop: Simply hit pause and stand back for a second. I know it sounds overly simplistic advice but there is a powerful restorative element in just taking a break, letting the sediment of noise, fears and knee-jerk reactions settle and give way to contemplation and a vision forward.
  2. Reset: It’s time to filter our personal anxieties through something more useful and socially urgent.  Focus on what really matters to you and the role you can play in helping society.  You will find that the more you shift the energy created by your internal fears into motivation that is meaningful to others, what ails you will seem less significant. For brands, explore how what you stand for inspires extraordinary actions in others.
  3. Listen: With so much stress going around, one of the things we need to do is to listen to each other. Make sure you’re listening to your consumer to learn how to connect in ways that are more meaningful.  A listening brand beats a tone-def brand any day, so shut up and pay attention.
  4. Create: Take advantage of the downtime to create something new, reinvent yourself.  Try new crafts that can get you thinking outside of your comfort zones. Think of how the horrors of the bubonic plague inspired DaVinci designs around a new form of city planning. Disaster and crisis must bring about innovation.

So, while it’s ok to hit panic during this time of craziness, exhale and explore the art of Un-winding it slowly as in that quiet space might lie something transformative that can make some noise.

#Unagency