Goop Will See You Now
Goop Will See You Now

What traditional healthcare can learn from our obsession with wellness.

Do you know anything about Goop? I didn’t either. I was pretty sure they sold skincare products that were made of dirt or almonds … or those copper mugs you drink Moscow Mules out of.

New York Times’ How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million taught me, however, that this brand, which is essentially a monetization of Gwyneth Paltrow’s life, is both loved and reviled equally:

[Goop is] a wellspring of both totally legitimate wellness tips and completely bonkers magical thinking: advice from psychotherapists and advice from doctors about how much Vitamin D to take (answer: a lot! Too much!) and vitamins for sale and body brushing and dieting and the afterlife and crystals and I swear to God something called Psychic Vampire Repellent, which is a “sprayable elixir” that uses “gem healing” to something something “bad vibes.”

The article goes on to cite doctors, scientists and lawyers who have contested Goop’s claims about wellness (bad press that Paltrow largely turned to her favor, according to the article), and it criticizes the brand for its unapologetic elitism.

But despite, or maybe because of all the controversy, Goop is growing influence in the most sacred subject of all: your health.

Recognizing the reader’s specific wellness views will vary (either you vaccinate or you don’t, either you believe in Reiki or you don’t, hence the controversy), Goop’s lifestyle approach to health is in essence the “writing on the wall” for many traditional health care brands facing changing audience priorities and behaviors.

Goop champions self-care (vitamins, naps, jade rollers, spin class, apple cider vinegar, aka, whatever makes you feel good), which turns out to be far more aligned with how comprehensively Millennials view their health. According to Katrina Lerman of Quirk’s Media:

Wellness to Millennials is about more than not getting sick; it’s about all the facets of life and in particular, how they are connected – from maintaining balance to controlling stress to cultivating positive experiences and relationships….it’s not about what happens at the doctor’s office, it’s happening all the time, everywhere.

For years, these brands (hospital systems, clinics, etc.) have struggled with their ability to capture a wellness market. They’re the first place you need to go when you get sick. And they’re the last place you want to go when you feel healthy. So how are they trying to add more value for an audience that already feels good?

Too often, when trying to speak “wellness,” they compartmentalize themselves to only talking about the clinical products or services they offer: Colonoscopy = wellness, Proper BMI = wellness, Don’t Get the Flu = wellness. All while largely ignoring the newfound Millennial definition of it all – emotion, balance, stress, exercise, positive relationships – which, when in sync, could arguably lead to better physical health.

 

 

Getting their audience to pay attention to them when they feel good can be a challenge. So, many health systems are taking advantage of existing physical interactions, like annual checkups. When that individual is in our office, how can we create a more valuable, well-rounded experience?

For one, some practices are integrating behavioral health services into primary care settings. They’re beginning to “bundle,” so to speak, other services that address a more complete picture of health. So as you go in for an annual physical, imagine being able to talk more deeply about mental health or other emotional issues, with the benefit of an actual specialist just down the hallway. After all, 1 in 5 adults will need mental health support at some time in their lives. Providing easier access to that support is a great first step.

Other systems are introducing “integrative medicine,” which is basically defined as supporting a patient with a whole range of services besides just medical care. Think nutrition and weight management, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga therapy and overall health coaching.

Some are looking to technology to attract a wellness audience. Oschner, a health care system in Louisiana, has built a retail experience called the O Bar, which offers “the latest in cutting-edge, interactive health technology to help you seamlessly manage your health and wellness.” A line of iPads, activity monitors, blood pressure monitors and smart scales is presided over by a full-time technology specialist, helping you choose what makes sense for your life.

These brands understand that the world is changing around them. They need to adapt in ways that make sense for them by understanding their specific audience desires, the lack of other wellness services in their community and how they can fill that void. They also need to understand everything that Goop is getting right: content and consumer products. Because after all, the first step on a wellness journey is new tennis shoes, right?

Before Goop was the one-stop wellness shop, it simply told the story better than anyone else. What began as Goop’s weekly newsletter in 2008 featuring recipes and off-beat wellness tips has since grown into a $250 million media company launching new product collaborations (distributed in part at precisely placed pop-up shops), a quarterly magazine and even celebrity-attended wellness summits. Filling these media products are “not-discussed-with-the-doctor” topics that so effectively cater to this new Millennial mindset. Here are a few to check out:

Goop saw an audience that wasn’t being served and gave them great content, effectively taking the discussion away from its arguably rightful place among health care professionals. And through calming visuals, avant garde health research and reassurance in these philosophies at every step, we give you the fiercely loyal community of Goopy people.

But while Goop serves its own niche audience, the concept of wellness is still certainly broad enough to be spoken to by other, more traditional health care brands. So when will they step beyond the doctor’s office and meet us in the “all the time, everywhere” wellness world that we expect to see them?

They already have our trust when we get sick. Through content, consumer products and expanded services, they just might be able to earn it when we feel good.

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