Sophie Maxwell: Why People Are Looking For Brands That Will Help Them Thrive

Sophie Maxwell: Why People Are Looking For Brands That Will Help Them Thrive

We are looking to optimize our bodies - and for a new generation of high performance business behavior to help us to do so.

Sophie Maxwell, Pearlfisher
  • 26 may 2013

Our health has never had more of a premium. We live increasingly busy lives in which we want to experience and achieve more. It is no longer enough for us to live regular healthy lives – we want to thrive. We are looking to push ourselves to the limit and optimize every single element of our bodies. And we are looking to brands to create visionary propositions to facilitate this for us.

As a society, we’re in a volatile state. On the one hand, we are seeing increasing rates and degrees of illness – including our ongoing battle with obesity – but, on the other, we have never been so educated and aware about our health.

This dichotomy has created a fundamental shift in the way we now perceive and react to the issue of our own personal health. We no longer think of health as limited and compartmentalized. Instead, our increased knowledge is helping to empower us. And this new powerful attitude has become wholly integrated into our daily life.

Over time we have become dissatisfied with solutions that are either short-term or cater to general or limited needs. A raft of new influences, role models, science and wisdom – like the inspirational achievements of the Paralympics, Felix Baumgartner’s stratospheric free-fall or Tough Mudder – has questioned previous ideals and provoked us to not just look at our bodies in new ways but to look for ways to push them to new limits.

Rather than acting as a deterrent the realization that we are all individuals with different starting points, different strengths and weaknesses and different lifestyles has given us the confidence to seek our own personal best. We are changing shape – both mentally and physically and there is a realization amongst the populous that there is little we now cannot achieve.

The resulting challenge for brands is to react to and adapt their offers to meet this new state of bodily “enlightenment.” Already we are starting to see some boldly arresting and aesthetically challenging new brands and propositions; everything from experience brands to premium body supplements.

Never before has the cause and effect of a cultural shift been so tangible. As such, consumers will look increasingly for direct and effective connections made by trusted sources, brands, and thought leaders. Nike is one of the most recognizable brands that has taken steps to meet changing consumer expectations. Innovations like Nike FuelBand and FlyKnit Racers shows us that they are reacting to these shifts in culture. Even their marketing efforts are increasingly focused on empowering consumers, rather than just focusing on creating incremental innovations.


Strong Vitamins is another new brand with a disruptive approach to their category. The brand adopts an arresting language that is simple and visual – yet truly differentiating, evocative and imaginative – to express the end benefit. The central idea focuses on a bird metaphor for each product. For example, on one pack a swan is the analogy for cell regeneration.

These may just be two category specific examples but they are examples that showcase a new mindset that is reflected in a radical and challenging way. There is a huge opportunity for change on every level: personally, from a brand perspective, and for society as a whole. We are looking to create technology, experiences, brands and products that not only support our demanding schedules but also optimize and inspire new possibilities. Fair warning: our generation is now under construction and redesigning to thrive.

Sophie Maxwell is Insight Director at Pearlfisher


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