How Health Marketing keeps brands hot

Consumer’s expectations have changed dramatically over the years. Early on, commodities fulfilled our basic needs. Later, commodities where turned into products, making everybody’s lives easier. Nevertheless that wasn’t enough so we made products more personal by offering services to consumers. And lately services have been personalized even further into real experiences. But it doesn’t stop there. We are evolving to hyper-personalization of those experiences into transformations. Just think of the success of the Burning Man festivals, who are told to be a really transforming experience for those who have been there. So, how do we keep on par with consumer’s expectations in a transformational economy?


Looking at a simple representation of the Maslov pyramid, it’s fair to say in the modern day Western world, functional and emotional needs are mostly fulfilled. But people tend to long for achieving their full potential. That’s why the top of the pyramid is now the focal point. Aspirational needs are leading to the desire for self-actualization. One example of this is the huge surge in popularity for running marathons. Some aspirational trends are emerging with consumers. One of those trends is the desire to be or become healthy and happy. That is what Christophe Jauquet calls ‘Healthusiasm’. And it’s a trigger brands can use to stay relevant.

Health Marketing

People, of all ages, are more and more looking for ways to stay healthy and happy. And they love when brands help them do that. Why do you think the Runkeeper apps and Apple watches are so popular? They help us become better at being healthy.

Drawing on this movement are companies that help people with their decisions to become healthy and happy. They practice what’s called ‘Health Marketing’.
There are several types of decisions to be made by people concerning their health and happiness. Each type of decision is made for a different purpose and they pose several opportunities to companies to help consumers be the best versions of their selves.

A world of opportunities for brands

Medical level

On the medical level one takes decisions to take care of a disease. Traditionally only patients were in the position to have to take those decisions but nowadays we tend to try and predict if a healthy person could become sick. The Thermo Scanner ad by Theraflu is a great example of this. A billboard measuring if someone might have a fever, the first symptom of flu, turned out it could help the brand reach 100.000 people a day.

Health level

The next two levels are about caring for ourselves. On the health level, we take decisions to prevent our health to become worse. La Roche-Posay has developed a jewel-shaped wearable that helps people make this type of decisions; My Skin Track. The device measures UVA, UVB, pollution, pollen and humidity. This data is sent to your smartphone where you receive personalized recommendations on which skin care products to use, tailored to your specific environment.

Well-being level

The well-being level goes one step further, covering decisions we take to maintain our health and happiness. Do you happen to have a portion of Delhaize’s Junk Fruit on your desk? Great example of how a brands helps consumers maintain their health by offering an alternative to a snack full of sugar.


Finally there’s the lifestyle decisions, related to our style, taste, interests, attitude, etc. This type of decisions used to be off limits for patients suffering a condition or disease. But luckily nowadays there are companies who offer ways in which they are also able to care about their identity. You are definitely well aware that people’s lifestyle decisions are dotted with health-conscious topics. Want proof? Try searching for #avocadotoast on Instagram, the ideal platform for displaying one’s lifestyle. It has 1.2mio hits while avocados are overtaking oranges in sales.

This high level framework contains new fields through which brands can tap into the trend of ‘Healthusiam’. We’re looking forward to Christophe’s book to read more on the topic.


Based on a keynote by Christophe Jauquet on Health Marketing. Christophe is currently finishing his book ‘Healthusiasm’ which will cover these topics in detail and provide inspiration for brands to grab these new opportunities.

Written by Peggy Storme (Junior Marketing Consultant) & Gilles Van Lysebeth (Marketing Consultant)

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