How Brands Can Authentically Provide Value During Mental Health Awareness Month
Coming at a time of collective unease and jarring disruption, Mental Health Awareness Month feels particularly crucial this year. As mentioned in our latest infographic, 44% of Americans say their mental health has worsened since March, and 90% are looking for ways to improve their wellbeing. So, how can brands help? Below, we share three ways to genuinely connect with consumers and provide solutions throughout this month:
1. Use your resources
When approaching a sensitive topic, such as mental health, it’s important to keep your brand’s core messaging and values in mind. Consider offering your audience a helping hand by adapting the knowledge and resources you already possess, whether it’s through social media content, virtual experiences, or new company initiatives. In response to stay-at-home orders and heightened anxiety around the globe, Lululemon put this strategy into action. The athletic brand utilized their network of wellness ambassadors to create a hub of online classes such as restorative yoga and stress-releasing cardio aimed to help their community manage their mental health, all free of charge.
Staying within your area of expertise while addressing issues that are meaningful to consumers demonstrates sincerity, which is particularly vital if you’re hoping to engage Millennials or Gen Z. However, that doesn’t mean that only endemic brands need apply. In May of 2018, Twitch lent its hand to the cause by speaking out against bullying and other negative behaviors that are sometimes associated with online gaming. In addition to publishing a page full of mental health resources on the Twitch website, the platform encouraged its creators to take a moment to talk with their audience about what mental health means to them. For Twitch, the creator-viewer relationship is often a strong one, making it a meaningful message for the entire community.
2. Don’t be afraid to get creative
Developing a campaign around serious subjects doesn’t mean things need to be somber. While brands should always seek to be properly informed on any issue they decide to address, thinking outside of the box can help you stand out with consumers when messaging becomes repetitive.
A great example comes from YETI, which offered fans a unique escape from COVID-19 fears. As a lifestyle brand, YETI knew they would have to do more than send a generic message to consumers about their response to the pandemic. Instead, knowing that outdoor enthusiasts feel their best when exploring in nature, YETI created its own streaming service to bring adventure indoors. To get a virtual breath of fresh air, users could select from eight live streams including the Big Island of Hawaii and the dense, Douglas-fir forests of Oregon.
3. Engage the right partners when needed
Before participating in the conversation, be honest about where your brand fits in. It’s essential to identify any potential areas where you may not be best equipped to take a stand, whether it’s due to a conflict of interest or general disconnect. When you’re crafting a strategy through an objective lens, you’ll be able to pull in partners that can help fill in any gaps and offer their own level of expertise.
While mail-order wellness services Hims and Hers typically provide consumers with things like vitamins and topical ointments, the sibling brands recently added mental health services to their portfolio. To do this, Hims and Hers are working with licensed therapists and mental health practitioners to offer temporary anonymized group therapy sessions free of charge. In addition, the brands opened up wait-lists for upcoming mental health-focused services, such as individual online therapy. By acknowledging an area of opportunity and engaging a set of professionals, Hims and Hers were able to expand into a valuable territory while meeting the needs of their core audience.
Whether endemic or non-endemic, brands have the opportunity to make positive contributions in the conversation about the importance of mental health by thinking creatively, utilizing their resources, and engaging partners where appropriate. If your brand is looking to be part of the conversation, contact us today to find out how we can create meaningful virtual experiences on behalf of your brand.