Can you win the war against weight loss???
I have struggled to lose weight forever. It just got worse after the birth of my two lovely boys, yes the boys love their cuddly mum, but the cuddly mum hates the love handles. So it was an eye opener for me when for my first project (after taking a very long maternity leave) I started working on the ‘weight loss category’ – I was personally very excited, I thought I am going to learn lots of tricks on how to lose weight like magic.
But as my project progressed and I started reading more and digging deeper, I realized that people all over the world are struggling to fight it.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference between weight loss success and weight loss failure”
Those who were overweight (if your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9) or obese (If your BMI is 30.0 or higher) have a love and hate relation with their body. When they are really encouraged and motivated they would drastically lose, but if it is not sustainable they would soon gain it all back, if not more, and then we are back where we first began.
So, it is a vicious cycle which we have to break if we wanted to actually cut down and notice a significant change in the scales.
Social conversations in forums are a great place to connect with people who share the same problems in life. You don’t have to give out your identity, you don’t have to say who you are, however you can get all the information, support and motivation you want. Consumer behaviour can be understood and solutions to break the cycle of yo yo dieting, can be designed, if organizations are focused on what their consumers are saying.
“Nothing is over until you stopped trying”
It was an eye opener for me, primarily because I saw the amount of frustration that was being vented out, the stories of success and failures. People desperate for help, some with other health conditions such as diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, were looking for solutions where they could lose weight and improve their BG (Blood Glucose) levels, or BP (Blood Pressure) readings. Some of them were getting the support they needed, most of them were unsure and did not possess the adequate knowledge of options in the marketplace.
There are various support groups in social media. They could be segmented on the following categories
1. By age – for ex, 13-17 year olds, or
2. By current weight status – such as the 300lbs+ category
3. By various goals – those who are over 200lbs aim to reach below the 200 mark and that is classified as
reaching ‘Onederland’ (those who have managed to reach 199lbs)
4. There are also support groups for people who have other comorbidities and also trying to lose weight –
such as ‘diabetes and weight loss, hypothyroidism and weight loss and ‘pregnancy and weight loss’
5. Seasonal (I want to lose weight by Christmas or want to wear my first bikini this summer),
Occasional (lose weight to fit into my wedding dress, prom night, a big hot date or valentine’s day)
6. I could put myself easily in one of these categories. I developed hypertension after having the kids, so
I could see my self within the comorbidity segment.
So a place to connect, share and understand each other has been created and it works very well for those who are looking for support. From a marketer’s perspective, this also provides an avenue for those organizations that operate in this category, to truly get a pulse of the consumer and be ready to provide authentic answers on their brands and the solutions they offer.)
Various Health & Wellness companies should tap into this wealth of information because it is a gold mine of people wanting support, ideas and motivation.
When we started reading the conversations, we were floored by the volume of discussion around weight loss as a category. Each day there would be several thousand conversations on what they ate, they would share recipes, ask for tips, share exercise ideas, fitness tips and generally look and share information about their daily routine and learn from each other how to make changes to their current lifestyle so that they can start eating and living healthy.
We started decluttering all the ‘noise’ and focusing on the unmet ‘need’, we realized not only was this the voice of the consumer, but more importantly that organizations who are serious about making a difference to their customers have the responsibility to answer these questions and provide the support that these people lack in an unbiased and straight manner. It is less of an opportunity to sell and more of an opportunity to engage.
Social conversations is about real people, with real stories and real experiences. They trust each other, recommendations, suggestions made by peers is taken seriously and very strong bonds are created in social media.
“If You Focus On Results You Will Never Change. If You Focus on Change You Will Get Results”
People believe in each other’s experiences, marketers should believe in them too – I learned and read many honest opinion about many weight loss brands and maybe now understand why weight loss is such a big issue for me and how I should tackle it.
For marketers it is important to understand patient behaviour online – because when patients are online they discuss medical conditions, diagnosis, managing disease, drug decision, peer support and are actively looking for online coaches.
Finally, as a brand we have to sit up and take notice of these conversations, and connect with these patients who are taking control of their health decisions in their own hands.
As far as I go, I am still trying to lose my weight and I realise I am thinking more than acting! Motivation continues to be an issue, but I am hoping by the end of this exercise I would have learned enough to help myself and lose some weight.
“Never Give Up, Great Things Take Time”