When it comes to health and wellness, everyone has an approach as unique as they are. What’s more, is that an individual’s approach to their health can – and most likely will – evolve over the course of their lifetime.
A decade ago, people weren’t dabbling in CBD to ease their stress, having Zoom calls with their doctors or riding a cycle with thousands of other people from the comfort of their living room. People’s health behaviors, including diet, exercise, and wellness visits, continue to change. Their attitudes toward wellness do as well.
If most of us have a basic understanding of what ‘healthy’ is, why is there so much variation to our individual approaches to personal health and ultimately our overall wellness? Does ‘health’ mean different things to different people? Are there perhaps specific internal motivations driving one’s decisions as it relates to their individual health and wellness?
The diverse ways individuals approach their own health and the resulting wide range of overall wellness – both positive and negative – present brands in the health space with a unique challenge.
How can they improve health outcomes without understanding the individual experience?
The Intersection of Actions & Attitudes
Four distinct Health & Wellness Personas are identified at the intersection of an individual’s actions (adherence vs avoidance) and their attitude (enthusiastic vs indifferent) as it relates to their health and wellness.
Measured attitudes by understanding, for example, how people value their health, their belief that dietary choices and exercise habits are important components to their overall health, and whether they feel supported by family or peers in their wellness goals.
To measure actions, one must assess multiple behaviors to understand where individuals fall on the adherence spectrum. For instance, adherence considers whether people will follow their doctor’s order, schedule and keep follow-up appointments, and more.
The four personas – Care Plan Conformists, Wellness Strivers, Well-being Bystanders, and Conscious Resisters – help articulate the lifestyle and mentality of the people within each group, giving brands the insight needed to best serve consumers.
The Health & Wellness Personas
In order to drive change and improve outcomes, health services providers must better understand the dimensions of the people they’re trying to serve, so let’s examine each persona further.
Adherence & Enthusiasm
Wellness Strivers makeup 31.9% of the population and exhibit high adherence and enthusiasm when it comes to health and wellness. They live the straight-and-narrow life, which works in their favor. Highly educated with successful careers, they tend to be go-getters with their health as well. This group follows the directives of their doctors, from medications to exercise to nutrition. They are the least likely to have restrictive lifestyle diets—such as vegetarian, vegan, or paleo—or use unorthodox homeopathic solutions.
With the overall highest income and net worth, Wellness Strivers invest in their health with products and services that keep their hearts pumping. You’re as likely to find them at the gym as you are on an exercise bike at home. Between business meetings and family time, they generally attend to their health according to their doctor’s instructions.
Overall, this group is healthy, happy, and secure in their futures, so health brands can count on them to be motivated to take care of their wellness and follow through via their purchases, choices, and behaviors. Be sure to keep Wellness Strivers up to date on your latest tips, products, and services as they have an enthusiastic attitude toward health along with a high level of adherence that makes them more likely to be open to new things.
Adherence & Indifference
Care Plan Conformists comprise 19.3% of the population and have high adherence but show indifference in their attitude. They may not hold fitness and wellbeing above all, but they do what they can to stay healthy with the resources they have. They are self-sufficient and reliable, keeping doctors and healthcare providers confident that they will listen to their instructions.
With the majority of Care Plan Conformists identifying as introverts, they are likely unmotivated by group exercises or gym classes. They like to think that their everyday activities are enough to keep their hearts pumping. And that may be the truth, as most of them hold jobs that require them to be moving around all day. Overall, their lack of enthusiasm has an effect on their health. Although they regularly visit their primary care physician and adhere to their instructions, their overall wellness score is lower than their doctors would like to see.
Care Plan Conformists are likely to adhere to medical advice and instructions, however, their indifference can get in the way. Brands should approach this persona in a way that drums up interest in adhering to specific health behaviors. For example, incentivizing follow-ups, gamifying progress, or providing one-on-one options is a great way to keep this group engaged.
Avoidance & Enthusiasm
Conscious Resisters, making up 18.3% of the population, are enthusiastic in their health beliefs but often avoid taking necessary actions. These folks are adventurous and live life to the fullest. When they’re not socializing with their friends, you can find them working hard to stay in shape. This group doesn’t often visit their primary care physicians, but their attitude and enthusiasm align with much of what a doctor would recommend. Their fitness regimen and attention to overall wellness keep them at a healthy BMI throughout their lifetimes.
Although the Conscious Resister is a high earner, they don’t spend much time balancing their checkbooks. You’re more likely to find them scoping out new tech that helps them pursue life goals or simplify their busy schedules. Being tech-savvy could also be the reason this group tends to self-diagnose with WebMD instead of scheduling a visit with a doctor. Overall, these folks are healthy, active, outgoing, and have a passion for life.
Conscious Resisters are unique in that they have enthusiastic beliefs when it comes towards what it means to be healthy, but for one reason or another, they are unlikely to stick with and adhere to a healthy routine. Perhaps their lack of adherence is due to a busy schedule, so making access to your services convenient through things flexible hours or virtual options may increase adherence among this group.
Avoidance & Indifference
The Well-Being Bystander are the second largest group, making up 30.5% of the population. They exhibit both avoidance and indifference when it comes to their health. This group may embrace the philosophy: “You only live once; you might as well enjoy it with the ones you love.” Out of the four personas, this group is least likely to prioritize their healthcare, taking a more passive role when it comes to exercise or following the doctor’s orders. Instead, they are focused on balancing the everyday stress and demands of their life, like raising kids or balancing their bank account. Although they earn an income that is below average, these folks are in tune with their values and work hard to provide for themselves and their families. They’re likely to make decisions on a whim, but they focus their spending on things that matter most to them. Well-Being Bystanders have extroverted tendencies, so you’re likely to find them sharing pictures of their lives and families on Facebook.
On the flip side, Well-Being Bystanders struggle with money and stress from their blue-collar jobs. These pressures—along with a lack of attention to their health—can result in feelings of anxiety and depression. With irregular work hours, full busy homes, and tight budgets, these folks tend to let exercise fall to the wayside. Still, this doesn’t stop them from building a life that they are proud of.
These individuals have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to their health, but they’ll need help due to their indifference and avoidance. Brands should communicate with this group more frequently in order to stay top of mind and should strive to make things as convenient as possible due to their busy life. Speaking to how and offering ways that they can improve their health and the health of their families may be a way good way to get through to the Well-Being Bystander.
Understanding individual approaches to health and wellness through the prism of these four personas can help brands better serve their customers and patients. Specifically, insight into your customer or patient’s level of adherence or avoidance in their health-related behaviors and the level of enthusiasm or indifference when it comes to their attitude toward wellness allows you to personalize communication, match the right services to the right people, and ultimately improve outcomes.
About Dave Kelly
Dave Kelly is the CEO & Founder of AnalyticsIQ, a data company that blends cognitive psychology with sophisticated data science to deliver the most comprehensive, accurate marketing data available. He founded AnalyticsIQ 10 years ago after the successful acquisition of his former company, Sigma Analytics. He is an alumnus from the University of North Florida and earned his MBA from Georgia Tech.