The new Havas PR Prosumer Report: ‘My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times’ reveals a subculture of Proactive Health Consumers that are more informed, proactive, and empowered. Everything about how we regard, prevent, and treat illness is changing, thanks to new tools and technologies.
Just as Prosumers are shifting the balance of power in retail, so, too, are they siphoning power away from the medical community and towards themselves. Thanks to the Internet and social media, we are no longer at the mercy of the medical profession. People and communities now have the power to practically and emotionally improve their lives.
The report surveyed 7,213 adults in 19 countries and found that a sense of control changes everything for the Prosumer. Armed with unprecedented access to healthcare information, products, and services, modern consumers feel a heightened sense of control and responsibility.
It seems the Western world is moving toward a more Eastern view of personal responsibility, one that regards health as something to be maintained and supported over time rather than remedied with quick fixes.
As consumers have come to feel more responsible for their health, the report found that food has become an even more important weapon in the health-maintance arsenal. Of those surveyed in the Havas PR Prosumer Report 65% are much more aware of the nutritional/health value of the food they eat than they used to be. 68% believe food is as effective as medicine in maintaining overall health and 79% believe eating a healthful diet has a positive impact on the brain.
The brain itself is seen as a key weapon in the fight for good health. Once regarded as mysterious and outside our control it is increasingly perceived as an important tool in the battle for long-term health. Modern consumers are embracing the ancient notion of mind-body link and are paying more attention to lifestyle and other factors that could potentially impact brain health. With exercise, sleep, and love deemed the best for brain health, drugs, tobacco and air and water pollution were seen as the worse.
There’s a lack of trust by Prosumers in product categories related to health including food & beverages, pharmaceuticals and insurance. Only 37% trust the food industry to provide them with healthy food and 70% are moderately to extremely worried about food safety.
In terms of marketing implications a lack of consumer trust in these product categories offers a great opportunity for businesses that operate on a model of transparency. As consumers begin to accept more responsibility for their health, they are looking for brand partners that promote their progress.
We find ourselves at an interesting crossroads in regard to health. Forces are pushing consumers simultaneously toward the future (higher-tech solutions, genome exploration, implantable nanotechnology) and toward the past (wholesome lifestyles as the cure all that ails us). As PR practitioners we should be taking these changing consumer beliefs into account, as they will undoubtedly continue to impact the news agenda.
You can download the report here.
(Report by Claire Boyd)