• Transform magazine
  • May 20, 2022


Digital health ecosystems: the new golden opportunity for brands


As the health and wellness market becomes saturated with apps, devices, wearables and trackers, global branding agency Tom Wrigley, digital and social communications strategy director at global brand design agency, 1HQ, explores how brands can best utilise the wealth of data this provides.

Technology’s influence over health and wellness is nothing new. From Galileo’s invention of the first rudimentary thermometers to the connected trackers storming the market today, technology and health have been interlinked throughout history. 

But as the health and wellness market becomes saturated with apps, devices, wearables and trackers, brands must ask themselves 'can I best utilise the wealth of data this provides?'

Successful brands will be those who help consumers navigate this data deluge and connect singular data-streams into a holistic connected approach. By making data relevant, personal and actionable, and understanding the role they play within connected health systems, brands can deepen their connection with consumers and drive further growth. 

The market is saturated with the increasingly powerful health tech; tracking users every move, calorie and heartbeat. And with this comes the real opportunity for brands and healthcare providers – utilising the data. 

Connected digital ecosystems have long been the desire of digital strategists and brands alike, with connectedness combining multiple datasets into something more personal, and ultimately more useful, to a customer. 

Digital health ecosystems were the fastest growing segment of CES, as brands, big tech and healthcare providers compete to be the go-to destination for health and wellbeing, by turning multiple data sources into holistic actionable plans. And whilst healthcare data comes with the obvious complexities of privacy and security, research suggests that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data for more personalised experiences.  

Whether delivered by a healthcare provider, or by big tech, connected health ecosystems will play a huge part in consumers’ lives going forwards, taking multiple streams of data and providing personally relevant recommendations for their users. And with these recommendations comes immense influence over what we do, what we buy, and what we consume.

As connected health ecosystems draw on additional data sources, these recommendations will become increasingly personalised, powerful, and influential. So, where do brands go from here?

An example of this comes from Nestlé’s collaboration with the With/n app, in a move that takes the brand beyond product and into wider nutritional health. The health focussed app connects multiple data sources to provide personalised recommendations and plans, allowing Nestlé to have a deeper relationship and more meaningful connection with its customers. 

The growth opportunities this presents are huge - as households become increasingly connected to these ecosystems, so too do opportunities for cross-sell, increasing average basket-size and driving loyalty. The surge in digital health tech has led to more information, more data, more devices, and ultimately more noise.

We know the golden opportunity lies in harnessing this data into a holistic and personally relevant health ecosystem, but the question remains of who will get there first out of the traditional healthcare companies, big tech and retailers. Those who do will have the biggest influence over purchasing decisions in decades. Brands who get it right might just find themselves nudged into the baskets and lives of their consumers in more meaningful ways.