Wellness is Social

>> Monday, August 24, 2009

Last Monday, Stuart Fink (an Associate Creative Director here at the SSW) posed a question about wellness choices. Here, we get a little blog on blog action where Jacob Braude (a Strategic Planner here at the agency) puts a new dimension on that same question.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

From Jacob:

I’m still thinking about Stu’s post from the other day on Wellness and choices. He talked about the game “Sex, Sleep or Food” as a great metaphor for the personal choices we all make every day that contribute to our Wellness.

I think something’s missing from that list: “Talk.”

More and more we’re beginning to realize how our own personal Wellness is tied to our social lives. For instance, there’s this data from the Rand corporation that looked at what aspects of our lives most closely correlate with our “life satisfaction.” Number 1? You guessed it: “social contact, family.”
We’re also discovering that social doesn’t just affect how good you feel about things, it can actually affect your physical health. Take for example this startling study done on over 3,000 nurses in the U.S. who were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that nurses with few friends were an amazing 4 times as likely to die from the disease as women with ten or more friends.

Clearly social has huge benefits for our Wellness. In fact, some behavioral scientists are beginning to argue that rather than intelligence leading to our social behavior, it may actually have been our ability to cooperate in sophisticated social relationships that lead to our superior intelligence.

So what do we do with this? I suggest that it has ramifications in all aspects of our lives.

For marketing (our professional life), the best brands have always had relationships with the people who buy them, making the brand a part of their social fabric. But as friends and “people like me” become the most important influencers on consumer decisions, all brands will have to look for new ways to be social with their consumers, which means things like: listening, being generous, and being open.

For friends and family (our personal life), it means some of us may want to re-prioritize a little bit. It’s hard for many of us who are career-driven to let go and unplug from the everyday madness, but the research is telling us that in the long run, investing your time in friends and family returns the best rewards.

So now play Stu’s game again, only this time your choices are: Sex, Sleep, Food or Talk. Has your answer changed?

- Jacob Braude, Strategic Planner at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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