How Brands Can Embrace Digital Wellness for Growth

BY: ASHLEY THORNHILL  |  NOV 3, 2021 – 6 MIN READ

Key Takeaways (6-minute read)
  • Digital wellness can mean taking control of your life online but also includes lifestyle habits for stepping away from the screen.
  • Brands can take cues from digital wellness trends to benefit consumers and employees alike.
  • Focusing on humanity and joy can break online trends of negativity and help your brand grow.
What is digital wellness?

In this unique age where consumers and businesses alike find themselves at the intersection of a pandemic and the Information Age, such a term can mean a lot of different things. The University of Washington describes it as “Taking Control of Your Life Online,” which again can seem vague; but as we’re in a relatively new era when people are spending perhaps half or more of their day on the Internet or otherwise tech-based work, entertainment, or management platforms, the trend—or a behavioral shift, rather—will continue to evolve. Digital wellness includes taking control of your virtual life. It also means using technology to improve your life offline. As consumers seek solutions for mental and physical health, wellness tracking, productivity, and overall well-being, brands have an opportunity to innovate and provide services in these areas for their audiences and employees alike.

Apple is undoubtedly a frontrunner in digital wellness programming. Its Health app comes standard on any iPhone and allows users to track everything from steps and flights of stairs to sleeping habits, menstrual cycles, and potentially harmful sound levels via headphones or earbuds. The app also recommends other wellness apps for exercise, meditation, and more. One big trend in digital wellness is tracking screen time. Particularly for children and young adults, it’s helpful to track the amount of time spent looking at digital screens and their potentially damaging blue light. (Digital wellness has even evolved to include real-world solutions such as blue-light glasses.) From Apple Health to Instagram and other popular social media platforms, screen time–tracking is available to help consumers make healthier decisions about how much time they spend online.

The increased exposure to virtual platforms rose even more as COVID-19 ravaged the globe, with more classes, work environments, and events moving to online models to promote social distancing. Consumers stuck at home worldwide spent twice as much time consuming digital content in 2020 than they did in 2019, according to Forbes. And as multiple studies have concluded that spending more time online can lead to higher levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, it’s no surprise that reports of these have increased, as well.

So, how can brands help their consumers and even employees through digital wellness? Here are a few ideas that nearly any brand could implement to provide a new and relevant service to audiences while practicing good corporate social responsibility.

Use Digital Platforms to Promote Goodness.

It might seem hokey, but a well-designed social media post with an encouraging message or quote can go a long way. Consumers have stated, especially in the past few years, that they want and expect brands to take a stand on issues and to promote their values online. Why not share something good with the world? You have a platform, so use it to help others or at least bring a smile to their face once in a while. Health and hygiene leader Dove is one of the top brands on social media using its platform to spread positive messages, promote human rights, and just share love among its consumers. 

Encourage Screen Breaks and Movement.

Studies have proven that taking short breaks throughout the workday can increase productivity and creativity in most individuals. Four experiments by Stanford University demonstrated that “walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after,” and that “The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.” And good news—there’s an app for that!

Provide Employees with Digital Tools for Overall Wellness.

So many employee management tools today include more than just payroll and benefits processing. Slack’s own motto is “Be less busy,” implying its goal is ultimately for teams to use the platform less thanks to it increasing overall productivity. It might seem unusual for a virtual platform to promote spending less time online, but that’s what makes digital wellness such a compelling topic.

Other employee-based tools that brands could employ to make a difference include HR platforms such as Gusto, which not only handles the day-to-day team management for time off, reimbursements, payroll, and more, but also encourages users to donate to charity, shares positive quotes and anecdotes, and provides educational materials on taxes, retirement, and more.

Health insurance companies are offering enrolled consumers discounts on healthy lifestyle programs such as exercise apps and online videos, nutrition programs, and more. Brands can consider offering these types of benefits to employees to increase their overall health and motivation, making a more positive and appreciative workforce and even building team camaraderie through group workouts, outdoor activities, meditation, or other wellness programming.

Focus on joy.

It’s pretty simple. Happiness is what any person seeks, be it a brand’s consumer, employee, or leader. There’s enough negativity online as it is. Disrupting the Digital Debbie Downer could be as simple as sharing some good news for the day. Taking the time to intentionally infuse joy into the workday, into your content and services, and into your brand’s corporate social practices is just good business.

The meaning and practices of digital wellness are still evolving and likely will never stop. This is less of a trend than it is a global shift in mindset and lifestyle brought about by our increased reliance on technology. The brand futurists at Antonio & Paris are looking forward to monitoring its progress and helping brands embrace digital wellness for the benefit of their consumers and teams.

Look for more coming soon in our 2021 Digital Wellness Trend Report!
About A&P

A&P, a brand agency, excels in finding innovative ways for clients to provide exceptional experiences to their customers. Their work includes consumer insight, brand innovation, creative development, mobile and technology solutions for global brands such as AT&T, Mini USA, DIRECTV, Newell Rubbermaid, Tenet Healthcare, and Barco Escape. For more information about A&P, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or antonioandparis.com.

Ashley blog profile image

WRITTEN BY
Ashley Thornhill

Short Bio — Ashley came to Antonio & Paris in 2014 following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns to new product development for Wrigley Gum .  She has also been integral in re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living and launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

Ashley blog profile image

WRITTEN BY
Ashley Thornhill

Short Bio — Ashley came to Antonio & Paris in 2014 following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns to new product development for Wrigley Gum .  She has also been integral in re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living and launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

SEE ALL ARTICLES