Over the past year health has taken centre stage in our lives. Now, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that our approach to, and attitude towards, individual and collective health will have altered as a result of COVID-19. At Grayling we are positive about the opportunities that lie ahead and can’t wait to help brands and organisations navigate this new landscape.
So, what will be important in the next few months and beyond, what are the key health issues that will be facing society, organisations, and individuals? We have done the groundwork and identified seven key areas we think will be important in the post pandemic landscape:
It’s here to stay. Offices are great places to connect but a degree of home working will remain. Prior to the pandemic only five per cent of people worked from home but now 40 per cent of employers anticipate regular home working. With less time spent commuting and more time in their local community what sort of new routines will people create for themselves? Local sports, physical activity and wellness could all flourish.
Remembering other diseases
Unfortunately, cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions haven’t gone away, but they have received far less attention from media, health organisations and many businesses since the start of the pandemic. We can expect to see the consequences of this widely discussed in the media, alongside a big push to renew fundraising for these causes – competition for attention will be even greater than pre-COVID, reinforcing the need for effective communications strategies.
COVID highlighted the extent to which health is influenced by other factors; the disproportionate death toll from COVID amongst patients with pre-existing medical conditions, the poor and those coming from minority ethnic backgrounds, has raised awareness of the inequalities that exists in healthcare. Organisations which acknowledge and move to help address these factors will be key.
Doubling down on mental health
Don’t expect conversations around mental health to diminish – the pandemic brought widespread challenges for everyone’s mental health with children and young people arguably suffering the most. Addressing this will no doubt be uppermost in the minds of politicians of all persuasions.
National fitness goals
With links between obesity and risk of serious illness from COVID-19 firmly established, expect to see further government drives to curb obesity. At the same time, the debate over how best to consider the relationship between weight and health remains complicated – consumers are increasingly demanding a more nuanced appreciation of the question, beyond the traditional ‘fat = bad’ narrative, and are becoming increasingly responsive to brands and organisations which address these questions head-on.
A focus on the natural world
Spending days inside with nowhere to go has led to a collective appreciation for the natural environment. In lockdown cities emptied and people flocked to the countryside. The impact of the pandemic combined with concerns about climate change and global warming have led to demands for a ‘greener’ way of life. Will we see these trends adopted by governments and communities in ways that are truly sustainable?
Lifestyle + Health = Profit
Increasing numbers of consumer-facing brands are set to launch in the coming year with a mix of lifestyle and healthcare brand positioning. There is an opportunity for smart brand-building in this area that captures the increasingly health-focused outlook we have across all aspects of our lives and acknowledges the potential role that consumer products can plan in delivering positive outcomes outside simple product functionality.
Whatever the challenge, Grayling is an agency that’s committed to building, growing, sustaining and repairing health and health-related brands and organisations worldwide. Whether it’s supporting clients to navigate a challenging regulatory environment or creating award-winning campaigns that drive awareness, provoke thought or change behaviours, the work we do, inspired by our clients, creates advantage.
Get in touch for more information or if you’d like us to help you find ways to create advantage.
Kathryn Ager is Head of Health, Grayling UK