Monday, July 6, 2015

Time for Spin Class

Maybe it was their true intent.

For all the passing of the politico voices, health reform and Obamacare just might be fueling a new “mega-trend.”

This isn’t something that I alone am observing.

I solicit a lot of input from others when I grab my morning and afternoon coffees. Engaging others has also netted further reinforcing input.

There’s a boom taking place around us in the form of fitness and health.

There’s been a slew of articles about it running in the Wall Street Journal.

Healthy, good-for-you food is taking over the grocery store shelves — not just the costly ones at Whole Foods, but those at Publix and Kroger… Lord, even in a number of the convenience stores too.

Hotels are embracing the health craze with everything from good-for-you food and juice cafes, spa-gyms complete with coaches and read meters in the rooms controlling the climate and mood music.

Out are the clothing stores that pumped up the style persona like Gap and Abercrombie and Fitch and in are the holistically good for your mind-body-spirit clothing boutiques like Outdoor Voices, Mighty Healthy and BooHoo brands.

Perhaps what’s most intriguing about the trend is just who’s driving it..

When I ask the typical person walking the street … or LOL, the VP Marketing teams of Corporate America … they will quickly say it’s the Baby Boomers.

When I ask them why they think it’s the Boomers, they quickly respond back, “its because the Boomers are getting old.”

No question that there is truth to that observation.

Boomers voice their health and wellness convictions quickly when you talk to them.

However, actions do speak louder than words.

Boomers might talk the talk, but not as many truly get out and take that daily walk!

ABC News aired a story about a year ago, that Boomers are living longer lives, but they are posting higher levels of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

NBC, CNN, Discovery Health and even FOX News broadcast similar stories.

In fact, in the story that Discovery Health did, it was reported that Boomer women are actually living longer not just because of their gender, but also because they actually exercise more than the Boomer men.

Boomers also seem to hover more and more on looks versus actual health and wellness.

Thanks to Boomers, there are BOTOX “design studios” popping up more and more in the neighborhood shopping centers.

Not that my time at Starbucks qualifies as top quantitative research, but when I step back and watch people place orders, I find it amusing that the Boomers might request the “low-fat Lattes,” but they always seem to also get a side order of pastry.

They then go and sit down in those comfy leather chairs, drink their “healthy” coffee, munch on the cholesterol-rich and high calorie pastry and watch the Millennials jog by outside.

Turns out that who’s driving the fitness rage that is impacting brands from food to beverage to clothing to travel to furnishing to house & home are… the Millennials.

Yup. The Millennials.

When I had drinks with my psychologist-turned cultural anthropologist buddy about a week ago, he observed that part of the drive is the Millennials desire to separate themselves from their “in-the-spotlight” Boomer parents.

I agree that there is a lot of truth to the observations.

As Baby Boomers get older, their impact as trend innovation is slipping. A large part attributed to the fact that the Boomers don’t dominate the “active” marketplace any more.

Millennials, who are now almost entirely off of the college campus and dominating the American workforce, are facing some strong reality components.

First, Millennials are realizing to stay nimble and youthful in looks, that staying healthy and being fit is important.

Social media and the rage of the selfies are reinforcing it.

Second, Millennials’ focus on self — the “me generation” — reinforces the need to ensure that everything is working right and looking good on the “home front.”

Fast Food is way too mass.

Third, the impact of high deductibles and Obamacare are fueling a defense mechanism to stay well.

Fourth, organic means being rooted and in the midst of all the high-tech rage, linking oneself to the high-touch world of a “grown local” sense of place fulfills an emotional need that drives the desire for some locally grown, heirloom tomatoes.

As a Baby Boomer myself, I can remember that when I traveled, the top hotels worked to recreate my sense of home. Hence, I would have a nice large television set, coffee maker and hair blower.

How much more at home could a Boomer exec feel!

Where I live in the city right now is dominated by Millennials residing in their studio and one-bedroom apartments that they are chucking out close to $2,000 per month to enjoy.

Priority is placed high on access to the fitness center and jogging paths along with organic energy drinks, locally-grown veggies and Internet access to read their Fitbit data stream reports.

By the way, outside of something to sit on at the kitchen counter to check out their latest Friends’ posts, a mattress to sleep on and a charging station for their mobile Mac, there’s not too much priority placed on much more in furnishing their apartments.

While I was shopping at Whole Foods last week, I asked a number of the Millennials if they had ever heard of “Fitness Hotels.”

Five of the Seven Millennials asked, quickly responded and asked if I was referring to Even Hotels. (you have to check out their website…

Two of the female Millennials quickly added that Soul Cycle was opening up at a number of the hotels where they stay on business.

What strikes me about the new fitness rage is how much the color white dominates the space — virtual and visually.

Being fit also conveys a sense of purity and cleanliness.

When a computer is cleaned up and the viruses are removed, the computer is back to being fit… and pure all over again.

From anti-bacterial hand lotions to the rage in non-genitically engineered meats and veggies, purity is part of the trend too.

This is not a fad. Nor is it something that is here today, gone tomorrow.

With all of the unpredictability of politics, economics and global security, fitness is a self-initiated and self-managed state of body, mind and spirit that just might be the trendcast that can empower your brand.



CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.

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Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.