Canadian Wellness Industry

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Wellness Industry Marketing Trends

For reasons explained in our research below, it is not possible to determine if the Canadian wellness industry's marketing is following any current trends. Additionally, the variety of industry segments likely makes discerning trends across the industry nearly impossible; a corporate wellness company would likely require a different marketing approach than a yoga studio, for example. However, we have found a few patterns across multiple companies which, while we hesitate to call them trends, nevertheless characterize wellness marketing in Canadian wellness companies.

THE USE OF PASTELS

  • Despite being in different industry segments and reaching different clients, nearly all wellness companies in Canada prefer the use of pastel colors in their marketing and social media.
  • Curtis Health, a corporate wellness company, has some exceptions to this rule which follow a particular pattern: As shown on their Twitter feed, marketing (including content marketing) aimed at individuals is characterized by the use of pastels, while marketing aimed at corporations often, though not universally, switches to darker and more serious shades of blue and purple.

GENDERED TARGETING

  • In most cases, a wellness company's marketing is very gender-specific, but which gender depends on their industry segment and therefore their target audience.
  • Yoga and wellness & beauty marketing nearly always features women, for example, while corporate wellness and sports nutrition companies feature men.
  • Cannabis-based wellness companies, on the other hand, rarely feature people in their marketing, preferring to focus on green cannabis plants (often in a natural setting), healthy-looking fruits and vegetables, and sterile medical equipment.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We began our research with a broad-based search of Canadian news media sources — e.g., CTV News, the Vancouver Sun, Skift, the CMA, etc. — in the hopes that one or more had noted trends in advertising and marketing. This proved fruitless, however, as these sites were far more focused on non-marketing wellness trends, particularly the popularity of cannabis, than on how those trends are being marketed.

Therefore, we switched gears and attempted to locate examples of marketing and advertising through which we might determine trends. We used the WeLoveAd database to search terms key to the wellness industry — e.g., yoga, nutrition, organic, spa, wellness, etc. — and then filter these to ads published in the last 18 months in Canada. However, in each case, this resulted in zero ads found. While removing the time filter provided marketing examples for most categories in Canada, we deemed that looking at older ads was unlikely to provide insights into current trends. A search of YouTube likewise found examples of marketing, but the vast majority were too old and the most recent too few to indicate any trends.

Finally, we studied the sites and social media of top Canadian wellness companies, including Yoga Tree, withinUs, Curtis Health, and Neptune Wellness Solutions. (While we reviewed other companies, these four proved typical within their respective industry segments and so, for the sake of a clean resource list, provided the examples in our findings above.) This provided some useful insights into their marketing, but we are hesitant to call these trends both for reasons that are explained in our findings and because the scope of a single Wonder request prevents us from researching a large enough sample size of companies and marketing samples through time to truly judge trends through time.


Part
02
of two
Part
02

Wellness Industry Case Studies

Based on Canadian Business's list of the top 500 fastest-growing companies, we have identified Yoga Tree and withinUs as two of the most successful Canadian wellness companies today.

YOGA TREE

  • Yoga Tree is a yoga studio company based out of Toronto, Ontario. In addition to offering guided yoga sessions, the company offers a full training and certification course for would-be yoga instructors. Yoga Tree is among the top 500 fastest-growing companies in Canada (cross-industry), having seen 137% growth over the last five years.
  • Yoga Tree often offers enormous discounts on Groupon to draw in new clientele and consistently provides a wonderful experience to new customers, as demonstrated by the perfect 5-star rating across 70 reviews.
  • Based on one early (2013) review, Yoga Tree's sleek and minimalist decor gives their studios an "ethereal air," even though the quasi-religious chanting most often associated with yoga has been replaced by modern, but still distinctly Indian, music.
  • Yoga Tree's social media consistently targets women with healthy and happy images, and often re-tweets from customers who mention the company.
  • From the above and a seeming lack of traditional marketing, we infer that Yoga Tree's success is due to word-of-mouth advertising.

WITHINUS

  • Canada's eighth fastest-growing company, with an astounding 1378% growth over the last five years, is the health & wellness wholesaler withinUs, which produces a variety of branded health & wellness nutritional supplements, collagens, and other products.
  • WithinUs products have received multiple rave reviews in major publications, including People, the New York Times, Elle Canada, and I Like Her Style Vancouver, including a recent write-up in Refinery29 which claims that Michelle Obama's facialist swears by their products and another in People magazine which claims that Kate Hudson "can't live without" withinUs TruMarine Collagen.
  • In addition, the company's products also routinely receive positive reviews in the media, such as a Daily Hive article recommending that readers switch out drinking coffee for an "emerald green matcha latte" made from withinUs products.
  • WithinUs engages in content marketing through two blogs, a general health & wellness blog and another dedicated to recipes.
  • The company also promotes itself as a family-run business, with CEO and co-founder Tami Nasu keeping several family members on-staff.
  • Taken together, withinUs's appeal lies in walking a balance between being a small, family business offering healthy nutritional and beauty products and having the glamour of celebrity endorsements.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We initially sought "best of" lists of Canadian wellness companies. However, we soon found that there was little correlation between a reviewer's opinion of a company's services and its success as a business; in fact, the majority of the top-rated wellness companies were small, one-shop operations.

Therefore, we turned to Canadian Business, which routinely tracks Canada's fastest-growing companies in a variety of industries. This provided us with both the names of the companies and a metric to measure their success, even if the company in question is privately owned and, therefore, does not disclose its financials to the public. We then investigated each company to determine why it was growing so quickly.
Sources
Sources