What Is A Wellness Ecosystem?
There is no such thing as a stupid question. My Boss taught me that, and whilst I may have been close to challenging that, I have put my hand up enough times, so you don’t have to.
You may have heard the phrase ‘wellness ecosystem” and thought, what on earth is that? I did, but the answer is easier and more powerful than you think. There are endless fitness-related buzzwords flying around, but this is one you are going to want to know and understand. I’ll break it down by answering four questions…
Firstly, what is ‘wellness’?
This may seem like an obvious one, but as an industry, we have had a lot of things thrown at us over the last few years and as consumers, we have too – much of which challenged our state of ‘wellness’ and forced us to seek and demand new opportunities to foster it. So it’s worth us clearing up on this.
Closed sites saw us find alternative fitness methods. Lockdown had us craving mental peace (or stimulation, we’re all different after all!)… and working from home saw us needing to shake up our monotonous days.
Now the covid situation has by in large passed and we resume normality, our access to wellness is bigger than ever thanks to that highly-focused period of demand. Whether it’s attending the latest boutique class, group long-distance running, streaming yoga classes to our bedrooms, working out in the park with a trainer, or starting guided meditation on an app, our exposure and accessibility to wellness is vast.
The dictionary definition of wellness is “the state of being in good health” but health exists beyond the physical. Wellness looks at every area of someone’s health, mental, physical and spiritual.
So, when thinking about our members, we need to consider every area of the ‘good health’ they are trying to achieve and the various means they are using to achieve it, which takes us nicely to our next question….
What is an ecosystem?
For our members and ourselves to achieve “good health”, we need to look outside of our own fitness offering. A boxing gym membership may not help us increase our spiritual health (though maybe some would argue it does.) in the same way a therapy session may not help us lift more weight. Having said that, can you see how connected “good health” is?
As you enhance one area of your health, another other may improve too e.g. meditation may help us establish increased mental clarity, which may be a strong tool for building better physical endurance. In the same way that these benefits link and cross over constantly, so do the ecosystems that we use to achieve good health.
The ecosystem is every single contributor that feeds into attaining “good health”, it can range from massage to Triathlons, coaching to walking your dog. Every one of your members’ ecosystems will be different and constantly evolving, so how do you even begin to understand or track this living, unique ecosystem?
You don’t, they already are. Can you think of a single one of your colleagues that doesn’t have and utilize a wearable? There are now wearables that track almost every area of our lives, our fitness, sleep, recovery, blood sugar levels, heart health, and even sex and fertility tech has emerged in the last few years. We continue to see mass adoption of Wearables, as these devices enter new geographies and target new generations, their features have moved into areas of our health and wellness that have never been supported before like pregnancy or anxiety.
As Apple, Google, Whoop, etc produce smarter tools, with deeper insights, they compete for the wearable market share and as a consequence, they have presented you as the operator, the biggest set of tools you could wish to have. As our members utilize various wearables and use a variety of health drivers, they are all being tracked and sent to one consistent place – the mobile.
How can I understand my member’s ecosystem?
Let’s build out a scenario…
I am a PT. I train Jon and his goal in training with me is to build strength. My two sessions a week with Jon play an integral role in his wellness ecosystem. My regular interaction with him, mentally, keeps him happier. The energy spikes my sessions provoke, provide him with increased focus when he goes back to work. The consistency and accountability our sessions hold, help him keep discipline in other areas of his life… the list goes on but it’s safe to say we are helping him with more than just building his physical strength.
Let’s say Jon turns up to our session and the day before, I can see he’s had a late night working on a deadline; he completed a long in the evening, or perhaps he is well-rested. How much difference would knowing his status at that particular moment make to my program? Or to our human interaction and goals for the session? A great deal, right? Why? Because we know that as Jons PT I’m not the only thing in his wellness ecosystem and I have a good understanding of the other areas and how they impact Jon.
The great thing is, that during this late deadline, he was wearing his Apple Watch, or
on his run, he tracked it on Strava and during his sleep he was wearing his Whoop and these all feed into his mobile. He has all of this power in his hand, we just need to ask if we can take it into ours for a quick look and suddenly we can completely transform and personalize our offering to Jon. We have instantly elevated from being just a simple element of Jon's wellness ecosystem to an integral part of it, but using the tools we already have.
Connected devices help us connect the ecosystem puzzle of that member.
Where do fitness operators fit into this ecosystem?
So you may be asking yourself where do I sit in this ecosystem? You cannot be everything to everyone, the reason a member goes to your gym, cannot overnight become the same reason that member wants to go on a long cycle, and no more should it.
As operators, we are not the custodians of someone's ‘wellness ecosystem’, our members are complex and so is their journey to good health, but we can totally own one area of their ecosystem and work with their other health drivers to improve our offering, by using the tools our members already have!
The key is understanding your members and their unique ecosystems, which, of course, is hard to do, especially if you have a sizable member base. But with the right team and tools, the learnings and insights into your members' behaviors can continue to evolve alongside their experience with you.
Supporting this deep knowledge you can start to send your members, super-personalized content, in an automated way. So once an ecosystem trend or change is identified, you can target your members with the relevant engagements on the right channels for them, cementing your place in their ecosystem.
Want to learn more?
If you want to learn more about how easy this process can be, book a demo and one of our product experts will show what your club could achieve.
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