Making home the heart of health again

Felicity's Amy Laski has some questions marketers should ask if they want a place in consumers' already crowded homes.

By Amy Laski

If love makes a house a home, then what do you make when you also throw in work, school, fitness, socialization, dining and shopping?

I wish this were some innocuous riddle, but this is the reality that many Canadians have been living for the last year. Our homes have become the Swiss Army Knives of buildings. Those small dysfunctions from the before times – you know, the things you were making do with and would fix or upgrade “one day” – faced a reckoning when living with them 24/7. A shared home office, rarely used prior to the pandemic, is no longer easy to share when each partner needs to be delivering a big presentation at the same time. Especially when said office is located next to the nursery as the baby naps, or down the hall from the second grader learning remotely.

It’s no wonder then that since the start of the pandemic, spending on home improvements has risen steadily, as Canadians try to make their homes conducive to multitasking.

It’s (sometimes painfully) obvious that our homes not only play a key role in our productivity, but they are also critical to our wellbeing, both mental and physical. What role can brands play in improving consumers’ experiences of multitasking at home, with an eye to wellbeing?

Make transitions smoother

When you are spending all day at home, it’s easy for all your dayparts to blur together. Gone are the natural punctuation points in our schedules, such as commuting or going to the gym. Can your product or service play a role in helping to enable transitions, to be a part of a ritual that signals to the brain and body that work is ending and leisure time is beginning?

Another key part of that transition is leisure activities – many of which we were used to doing in groups. But from fitness classes to watching movies, we’ve adapted formerly shared group experiences in creative ways. Brands that can tap into our desires to connect with others, while physically alone, will win the hearts and minds of consumers.

DIY it

There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment and pride when you have literally taken something into your own hands and made it better. This is especially true when we are all longing for a sense of control and mastery, when so much is out of our hands. It’s no wonder then that meal kit sales are on the rise. They help you achieve that homemade feeling, even if you only made the last 15% of the recipe yourself and all the other steps (including the thinking) were done for you.

What can your brand do to help consumers regain a sense of control, accomplishment and self-actualization, while easing their mental load?

Pull a Phil Connors on your customer’s day

We recently watched Groundhog Day as a family. I loved how Bill Murray’s character figured out how to make each day just a little – and sometimes a lot – better.

While every day may feel like it’s on repeat, are there ways your brand can help make your consumers’ days better? To break the monotony, and even, I daresay, create standout moments of novelty and indulgence?

On a budget

Many Canadians have said they are tightening their purse strings given the current and future economic uncertainty. To enable them to fulfill the above desires, is there a way for you to make your product or service more money-manageable, as an easier on-ramp to your brand?

One major word of caution, though…

If you are considering showing up in people’s homes, make sure you’re a welcome guest. With so much going on at home, enough boundaries are being crossed already, so this isn’t the time for a hard sell, nor should you expect to show up on the doorstep without a friendly pre-existing relationship, expecting to come inside. Instead, it’s more important than ever to support your consumers, to invest in your bond with them – and realize that it may take a while before you are invited into their homes. Until then, make sure you build and continue to earn their trust – through listening to their needs and by providing real value through your products and your content.

Amy Laski is founder and president of Felicity, a communications and content agency focused on the wellbeing space.