Going virtual – Musings from our recent immunity and wellness virtual event

Going virtual – Musings from our recent immunity and wellness virtual event

Two weeks ago, Trust Transparency Center, along with our collaborators, Whole Foods Magazine, entered the virtual conference space with our inaugural event, Taking Control of the Immunity & Wellness Market. We certainly weren’t the only ones trying to take advantage of increased audience time at home to engage with compelling content, or in trying to deliver insights into the topic of immunity and wellness.

We’re pleased with the outcome of this event. We strove to deliver top notch content in an engaging format. We also tried to tell a story with our event set up – starting with product on paper and the science to support it, moving ultimately to positioning in store and with consumers, enriching the experience along the way with great ‘all-star’ presenters such as Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Tieraona Low Dog. We tried to cover diverse aspects of the immunity/wellness story, especially relevant in the time of COVID-19, interspersed with data and insights such as that provided by Dr. Shelley Balanko from The Hartman Group, a panel on the microbiome, panels on omni-channel marketing and communicating immunity and wellness, and sponsor presentations ranging from nutrient science to clinical research and claims to aloe vera products.

I’m not going to do a complete review of the content in this piece. That is better depicted here, here, here, here, here and here. Instead, as is my wont, I will muse….

Suffice to say that Dr Hyman led off and Dr. Low Dog cleaned up, and in between we got well versed in all aspects and considerations of immunity and wellness.

A few other takeaways:

  • There is reams of high-quality nutrient and nutritional product science on immunity ranging from vitamins to minerals to mushrooms to botanicals to microbiome-modulating products.
  • Immunity is a huge contributor to overall wellness, but in this day and age, dealing with stress and anxiety is arguably as important.
  • More affirmation that probiotic blends often have the individual strains competing with each other and are therefore really not effective.
  • The theme of ‘immunity and wellness’, while well represented in products online, represents a huge multi-channel opportunity as stores open up and folks re-emerge. It’s complicated though, there’s so much information out there, much of it misleading and hyped, that meeting people where they really are has never been more critical. Also, and this came up in the omni-channel panel chaired by VMG’s Wayne Wu, folks are not going to be going into multiple stores sequentially to shop any time soon – or at least will do so only with reluctance. Being able to fulfill larger parts of their overall baskets has become an imperative.
  • I’ve always been a fan of the perspectives offered up by New Nutrition Business’s Julian Mellentin. Twice this year now I’ve heard him talk about fragmentation and communicating science. The challenge of communicating science is pretty well-known and often not well done, but the key point of the fragmentation issue is that despite the fact that we in industry know our topics and categories well, consumers really don’t. We frequently make bold assumptions that they are far more familiar with our products, what they are for, when to use them and what brands (ingredients and end products) they should buy. This education and connection gap represents significant missed opportunities, but also leads to the demise or lack-luster performance of products and categories. History is littered…..
  • There was a discussion led by Ivan Wasserman about recent regulatory activity against doctors making claims regarding coronavirus mitigation using supplements. The line, Wasserman explained, is commerce. Doctors in their patient relationships are allowed to both educate and suggest. When they also sell, that’s over the line.
  • Timing and dosing matters, as we were told by AIDP’s Dr. James DiNicolantonio. He was speaking about nutrients like vitamin C and zinc specifically, and the significant body of science that dealt with effective dose and timing of dosing to achieve maximum impact. He also spoke about the need for copper supplementation to support zinc supplementation.
  • Magnesium is an under-rated powerhouse – why are we not seeing more noise about it, especially as the general population is likely taking more meds hence more drug induced nutrient depletion?
  • So many Amazon tools. Enabling businesses built on enabling businesses, built on, you guessed it, enabling businesses…..
  • To conclude, not sure when the opportunity to deliver compelling virtual events subsides, if ever. It does seem as though some folks are building up backlogs of content to take in. it means though, as it should, that the bar keeps on rising, both in event platform as well as content quality.
  • I’m looking forward to our next event on sustainability August 26th and 27th . We’ve built ourselves both a challenge and opportunity given the diversity in audience we are trying to reach and educate and the standard our first event has set.

Until next time.

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