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Why there’s a role for brands in Soft Life

Move over, Quiet Quitting. Forget the Great Resignation. It’s time to make room for Soft Life, a concept centred around reinforcing physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Put simply, it’s about self-care and self-determination, putting ourselves first, taking a lot of time out and setting, testing and pushing our boundaries.

It’s a phrase first coined in Nigeria, then popularised by Black women online, referring to living a life of comfort and low stress, where we literally slow down the daily grind of life and take a more peaceful approach to prioritising our wellness and reclaiming our minds.

So why should brands take notice?

In a post-pandemic environment, when workplace and home patterns continue to be turned on their heads, Soft Life is becoming Gen Z’s next big talking point. And we’ve seen just how much of an influence they have to bear when it comes to wellbeing.

Gen Z has been slowly changing the wellness landscape in the last 12 months, rebelling against the productivity and hustle directive upheld by the Millennial generation by pushing back on working long hours, requesting mental health days off and taking active steps to put their wellbeing first. And they’ve been vocal about telling it like it is — admitting they might not be okay, asking for help and expecting their employers — and brands to meet their emotional needs in genuine and sincere ways.  

Soft Life takes wellness changes further. It’s about experimenting with different approaches to work-life balance, being brave enough to set and push the boundaries and admitting that we might be uncomfortable doing so — both in our home life and in the workplace.

For brands that recognise this wellbeing shift, there is a real opportunity to positively affect consumer wellness and to play a prominent part in the Soft Life movement. We’ve seen Nike blaze a trail with its more holistic approach to wellness with the introduction of ‘Nike Mind Sets’, a movement programme focused on how people feel, which helps members move in any way that feels good for their mental wellbeing.

AnalogFolk for Nike

Revlon is another example of a brand taking active steps in the wellness space. In May, the beauty brand teamed up with mental health care experience provider Real to launch a campaign based around the concept of ‘Caring for your mental health is beautiful.’ The brand’s aim is to help find the beauty in removing some of the barriers and stigma around seeking information on mental health.

Revlon offered year-long Real memberships to 300 US-based employees, while consumers could also take advantage of special offers when accessing the Real platform. Revlon also made a charitable donation to financially support Mental Health America.

Revlon x Real

And just last month, the BBC launched the Moodboosters initiative, to help children recognise and manage their feelings. It’s in partnership with BBC Education and BBC Children in Need and features videos and additional resources, aimed at getting the UK’s primary school-aged children to enjoy physical exercise and learn more about how it can positively affect their mental health and wellbeing.

Here are some steps from our upcoming trend report that brands can take to embrace and support future wellness concepts:

As we welcome in 2023, doubtless we’ll be inundated with the traditional get fit frenzy of discounted gym memberships and ways of transforming ourselves from couch potatoes into fitness enthusiasts. But there’s a lot more at stake with wellness today, and Soft Life is just the start.

Featured Image: Mike Marchetti / Baseimage

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