Marketing Mental Health: Four things brands should know

Marketing Mental Health: Four things brands should know

April 24, 2023

Mental health remains top of mind for consumers. Unprecedented challenges faced during the pandemic and the opportunity for self-reflection opened consumers’ eyes to their mental health challenges, making mental health and well-being a higher priority. 

Although consumers are paying more attention to their mental health, some consumers have just come to accept stress and anxiety as part of everyday life, and because mental well-being is hard to quantify, they are reluctant to seek help and spend money to improve it. This is where brands have the opportunity to shine and show consumers that they are there for them as they go through their mental health journey. Read more below to find out the four ways brands should talk about mental health when addressing consumers.

1. Be authentic and genuine

Social media influencers and celebrities have kicked off many of the conversations around mental health, and brands now have the opportunity to use their platform to help normalize these conversations and bring attention to important mental health topics. Brands need to ensure their mental health cause-marketing efforts are authentic and strategically planned to avoid backlash for being disingenuous, especially around highly stigmatized topics like mental health. STUFF, an Australian men’s personal care brand, heavily focuses on championing men’s mental health and addressing toxic masculinity in its marketing and messaging.

Source: @Followthestuff Instagram

2. Provide personalized health management solutions

Brands addressing consumers’ mental health will need to be careful not to overgeneralize mental health and thus trivialize their feelings. Considering the highly saturated nature of the health and wellness market, brands that offer more customized solutions for stress management will stand out from competitors and help consumers justify their purchase amid budgetary restrictions. By helping consumers get exactly what they want when they need it, brands can build more personal relationships and help them avoid wasting precious time or money.  Cigna, for example, offers a Healthy Rewards Incentive program in which customers can earn money and other rewards for healthy actions performed.

Source: @Cignatogether Instagram

3. Address mental health from the inside-out

Immunity, stress response, sleep, mood, behavior, metabolism, weight, hormones, and skin health all depend on the gut’s health, creating the potential for gut health to play a more prominent role in mental health. Studies on the “gut-brain axis” have found that the influence of gut microbiota could extend to the brain, affecting cognitive processes and mental well-being. Looking forward, gut health-related ingredients can be applied to food and drink products to help consumers with cognitive benefits or mood support. Ingestible products that highlight functional claims like stress relief, mood-boosting, or improved cognitive function present the biggest opportunity for brands to address mental health from the inside out.

This also coincides with evolving perceptions around diet culture and BFY (better-for-you) foods as consumers increasingly recognize that if you feed the body, you feed the mind. Brands should pay attention to this and deliver products that easily integrate into everyday lifestyles. For example, brand NeuroGum  offers gums and mints designed to provide mental wellness benefits.

Source: @Neurogum Instagram

4. Multisensory therapies offer more comprehensive solutions

With mental health at the forefront of consumers’ minds, companies and brands across industries are presenting novel and innovative campaigns to address the mental well-being challenges of their consumers. As adults crave new sensory experiences, brands across categories are tapping multiple senses to deliver a more unique and memorable experience. Within the beauty and personal care industry, brands like Quiet Hours are bringing in sound, smell, and sight to create an experience that envelopes the user and transforms everyday rituals.

Source: @Quiethoursco Instagram

What we think

The normalization and acceptance of mental health distress are echoed in consumers’ comfort in discussing these topics. While this bodes well for the mental well-being space, there could be some complacency occurring given most adults claimed that in the past year, their mental health status and their attention to their mental health remain unchanged. 

Despite ongoing challenges, there’s a strong need and demand for mental health-supporting products. Brands have an opportunity to give consumers the knowledge/tools to manage their long-term mental health and provide personalized solutions that address new mental health needs. Progress will continue to be made in regard to openness and acceptance, and mental health will still be a top priority to consumers even amid economic hardship.

If you are a Mintel client, please log in for additional information. If you are interested in learning more about consumer attitudes toward mental health and well-being and what it means for your brand, get in touch today!

Ashley de Hechavarria
Ashley de Hechavarria

Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Romance Languages and Peace Studies from Colgate University. She also has an MBA from the University of Miami, and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Analytics at Cornell University. Prior to joining Mintel, she worked as a marketing and branding strategist at TEAM Enterprises, an advertising agency based in Fort Lauderdale. As a strategist, she led creative briefs, new business pitches and qualitative consumer research for beauty, personal care, food and beverage, and cannabis clients. She also worked at theBalm Cosmetics, managing influencer collaborations and building their affiliate program.

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