To Your Health!
THERE IS A growing problem in the United States: citizens’ bellies. With each passing year, the Center for Disease Control, the surgeon general, and the American Heart Association continue their cries about the dangers of obesity. And, if the official U.S. health-oriented organizations aren’t proof enough that Americans are growing wider, surely a poll of any eatery would confirm the fact.
The warnings have reached a violently high pitch and Americans are finally catching on. Healthy living trends are changing retail and corporate focuses. The new considerations encompass relaxation, mental health and skin care, as well as exercise and diet.
This is an ideal time for distributors to call upon personal care items, said Donna Houston, national sales manager at SafeHaven Products, Simi Valley, Calif. “When you use a personal care item in your promotion, it sends a caring message,” she said. “Our world nowadays is so high-speed and automated. When you use personal care, it just kind of brings you back to humanity.”
From home and office computers to cell phones, MP3 players and PDAs, people must actually go out of their way to power down for a few minutes each day. This explains the growing demand for meditative products such as fountains, candles and aroma therapy, as well as bath and body products.
The shift in cultural focus to one of maintaining a healthy mind and body is affecting businesses internally, as well. Across the United States, employers are realizing the importance of caring for workers. This is not just a practice for the sake of corporate karma; it is economically intelligent. “My understanding is the number one reason why an employee might miss work is a backache,” said Dan Paul, director of special markets for HoMedics, Commerce Township, Mich.
Other reports, including an oft-cited study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, show depression is also a leading cause of employee absenteeism. Whether they be electronic massagers, soothing fountains or aroma therapy products, many personal care items target these problems directly. This has a tremendous impact on the workplace, as Paul noted: “If employees feel better about themselves and feel better physically, then they’re going to be happier, more productive employees.”
Across the nation, large and small companies are rethinking employee health programs. As reported in Promotional Marketing’s sister publication, Business Forms, Labels & Systems magazine, gym memberships and health-conscious food programs are being incorporated into benefits packages. Personal care items fit perfectly into this new model. According to Paul, companies improve efficiency by retaining staff members. “Rewarding them with gifts” is one way to keep employees happy, Paul said. He later mentioned a company that gave HoMedics pillows to employees. The company wanted the employees “to sleep well and to be relaxed and to take care of themselves,” he said. A good night of sleep is likely to make anyone feel better, and according to Houston, this is an effective way to pitch personal care items and campaigns. “When you’re talking to people and when you’re around people, you don’t always remember what they say, but you always will remember how they make you feel,” she said. “That’s the key thing: These products make you feel good.”
Whether the aim is relaxation, beauty enhancement, rest or fitness, these items are appearing in marketing campaigns both nationally and internationally. “I’m noticing more and more suppliers adding them into their lines,” said Houston. The trend isn’t fading. At the next trade show, distributors will notice even more offerings in the personal care category. The walking needed to see them all should help shave off some of those extra pounds.