Updated: Jun 16, 2022
We live in an aspirational world. But aspirations are no longer about 'better' and 'more'. Today, being 'ok' is also valuable as a life aspiration. Being ok can be better in itself.
Welcome to “A Healthusiasm World”, a newsletter by Christophe Jauquet on making customers healthy & happy.
Discover how both healthcare and consumer companies are experience-driven health businesses now.
Learn what's next for customer experience, purpose-driven marketing and digital health.
Be inspired to design the most engaging health experiences yourself.
Ambition moderation (or is it?)
I must admit: I often feel like I have to moderate my ambitions. Things need to be perfect before sharing them with the world. This curses against every single and sane principle of design thinking. In fact, this approach (in which the creation of a product or service is shaped by iterative customer feedback and testing) can easily be considered one’s best bet for achieving your ambitions. It’s the vulnerability that makes you stronger.
So here I go:
This week’s newsletter is about one of the core principles for my second book, “Healthusiasm – making better (health) experiences”. It’s a principle that is very often discussed in my work as a speaker and advisor today. I also consider it one of the essential health & self-care trends for 2023. The book is still a work in progress. So let this newsletter be me fishing for your customer feedback to optimize the book (and not moderate my ambitions).
‼️ Are you designing customer experiences, patient experiences or health experiences? Do you wish to create more customer or patient value? Are you thinking about bringing a holistic health offering to the market? Then this newsletter is for you. Then I want to hear your opinion.
Aspiration moderation (or is it?)
“People want to become the best version of themselves”. You may have heard this one before, possibly even in my keynotes. Our basic and emotional needs are primarily met in our western society. People are therefore more focused on their aspirational needs. They aspire to develop themselves, grow as a person, and become the very best version of themselves. This is precisely what Maslow explained in his Hierarchy of Needs, visually represented with a pyramid.
For a long time, these aspirational needs were about becoming better, smarter, healthier, stronger, more eco-conscious, etc… It was all about improvement. It turned wellness, coaching, fitness, and educational businesses more successful than ever before. But it even determined consumer behaviours. People bought those products that supported them in their aspirational needs, that made them (feel) a better person, or that shared the same values as them.
Let’s have a look at how the electricity market evolved:
It’s a fair statement to say that there is no real difference between suppliers in the electricity they provide. People choose one or the other electricity supplier simply because they offered the exemplary service (e.g. helpdesk) or experience (e.g. installation or reparation). Today, however, we see more and more people choosing green electricity providers specializing in renewable or sustainable energy. Even in a market with skyrocketing prices, many people would still prefer green energy providers because it fits their aspirations and values. It makes them feel a better person than before. It even makes them more engaged with the company or brand.
While these aspirational needs are still driving consumer behaviour today, we see a shift in the aspirations themselves. And it probably became apparent in the wellness and self-care industry first. We saw people start feeling guilty when not exercising as much as possible or ashamed when not always being that happy. As a result, they felt like they weren’t living up to their aspiration of becoming the BEST version of themselves. A phenomenon that André Spicer and Carl Cederstrom called the Wellness Syndrome.
In their book (2015), Spicer and Cederstrom argued that the ever-present pressure to maximize our wellness has started to work against us. The World Happiness Report (2019) confirms this by stating, for example, that 5% of the population are unhealthily addicted to working out and exercising.
In their quest of becoming the best version of themselves, people have forgotten to be their best version.
You may have noticed how post-pandemic trends are called The Great Restart, Reset, Reassess, Recharge, Recovery… Well, it’s fair to say that the aspirational needs have been reassessed and reset as well. Aspirations have become more moderate. “It’s ok to be ok, and it’s even ok not to be ok”. Growing as a person can be about not being focused on growing. Quitting can sometimes be better than not quitting. Because we aren’t all warriors all the time, right? “Living a balanced life” is the genuine aspiration now.
Of course, ‘improving oneself’ remains important. But in my research, I’ve discovered three more overarching aspirational needs related to health.
1. PREVENTING: People take actions to control their health & well-being from becoming worse. They want to protect themselves and stay safe.
2. ACCEPTING: People show empathy and kindness towards themselves, others and situations to live a more balanced life.
3. ENJOYING: People search to appreciate, like, love and take pleasure in something.
4. IMPROVING: People don’t just want to heal but boost themselves beyond healthiness.
These four aspirational needs may not look shockingly new to you, as they are dubbed with recognizable general labels. But six tangible life aspirations have been identified underneath these generic labels. I feel confident that everybody wants to meet one or more of those 24 life aspirations in their quest to live a balanced life. After all, that’s what Healthusiasm is all about: the enthusiasm to be healthy & happy. But this time around, it is not just about improving. It’s about preventing, accepting and enjoying as well. But it is not less aspirational.
So what does this mean for your brand or company?
People are very aspirational today. They want to be(come) the best version of themselves. But this no longer means that people only strive to improve themselves. Their aspirations are more moderate. This Aspiration Moderation trend is vital to consider in your communication, products, services and experiences because understanding and meeting those reasonable aspirational needs creates the proper engagement with customers or patients.
Here are a couple of examples to think about:
Should we always address patients as warriors or survivors? Is this the experience that all patients (want to) have?
Can we help our customers be in the moment, or do we endlessly interrupt them with notifications?
How important is accepting a specific situation for your customer or patient?
Including life aspirations in your customer or patient experiences will make people feel better. It’s also the formula to generate more engagement with your solutions, become more holistic, and create more value. As already mentioned in the first Healthusiasm book: Life aspirations turn Customer Experiences into Customer Transformations.
You can read about these aspirations when the second Healthusiasm book is launched in 2023. Until then, I’m happy to inspire you with keynotes on this topic or facilitate workshops that help you turn Customer Experiences into Customer Transformations.
Feel free to reach out.
Making customers healthy & happy
✳️ NielsenIQ conducted global research that uncovered how health & wellness is the most critical consumer force today. They called this trend Total Wellness (Healthusiasm was already taken, of course) and wrote a full report about it. The report also mentions 5 life aspirations as drivers for this trend.
✳️ In the light of the Aspiration Moderation Trend, Fast Company wrote about how to deal with tech in pursuit of happiness. Yep, moderation is key here as well.
✳️ In 2017, PMLiVE published an article on the Cultural Construct of an Illness. They’ve mentioned how the word ‘survivor’ is often misused for people recovering from cancer. The cultural construct of diseases fits in very well with the idea of many people having moderate aspirations.