With the advent of the New Year, millions of Americans make predictable resolutions to take better care of themselves. The advertising industry rakes in billions of dollars in revenue promoting a wide array of lifestyle approaches, more natural products and tips for healthy living.
According to Jeff Hilton, cofounder of Integrated Marketing Group, an agency that specializes in the natural health products industry, those clients are appealing to the demographic he refers to as LOHAS – the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability market. Hilton says that nearly one-third of the nation’s consumers fit this demographic – well-educated and willing to spend sometimes substantial resources on sustainable living, healthy lifestyles and ecological products. These are the folks who shop at Whole Foods markets as opposed to the more traditional Kroger’s or IGA-type stores. They buy more organic products, and they appear to like more natural approaches to ingredients and packaging.
This comparison reveals a strategic marketing decision that offers an important lesson. When you enter a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s store, you immediately sense the difference. These stores – and most any health-food store you might visit – have a more rustic “feel.” The packaging of products is not as slick as in a traditional food store, and the walls and colors and textures in the store displays evoke a rough and outdoor setting. All of that plays into the consumers’ desire to have a closer encounter with natural products. And they are willing to pay the price because they feel they are doing something good – and more authentic — for themselves and their families. According to Ronn Torossian, author of a great new book on public relations, For Immediate Release, a traditional grocery store will sell about $400 per square foot, while Whole Foods will sell more than $800 a square foot.
The lesson is that when attempting to appeal to a specific demographic such as LOHAS, the message has to be fully integrated not only into the product, but into the packaging, the environment, the advertising, the social media and the buying experience itself.
Who is your LOHAS? How can you reach them more effectively in the message you send? Are you consistent on all of your messaging platforms?
Make a New Year’s resolution to ensure that your products – and your communications to promote them – are well-integrated and true to your mission and values. And prepare for a prosperous 2012!