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Wellness branding: insights into how American and Finnish consumers use wellness as a means of self-branding

Miia Grénman (Department of Marketing and International Business, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Ulla Hakala (Department of Marketing and International Business, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Barbara Mueller (School of Journalism and Media Studies, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 7 March 2019

Issue publication date: 17 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine wellness as a means of self-branding. The phenomenon is addressed through the introduction of a new concept – wellness branding – and by identifying those wellness practices that are currently most valued.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of focus group interviews were conducted in the USA and Finland. Altogether, 12 discussion sessions (N = 57) were carried out, 6 in each country.

Findings

Both wellness and self-branding represent current forms of identity and lifestyle construction and self-promotion. Moreover, they represent an entrepreneurial view of the self, which emphasizes self-governance. The findings indicate that wellness has moved beyond the merely physical dimension, to significantly involve emotional/mental, spiritual, social and intellectual aspects. This further strengthens the transformational nature of wellness and the increasing need for balancing one’s life in order to reach one’s optimal self. The logic of wellness branding involves the creation of one’s optimal, balanced self while communicating it to others.

Research limitations/implications

This paper makes insightful contributions to the branding literature by broadening the scope of self-branding to a new and timely context. The paper further adds to the consumer research literature by addressing wellness as a form of transformative consumption and an essential part of the current self-care culture.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first to discuss self-branding in the context of wellness, introducing a new concept of wellness branding, thus offering a novel area for research.

Keywords

Citation

Grénman, M., Hakala, U. and Mueller, B. (2019), "Wellness branding: insights into how American and Finnish consumers use wellness as a means of self-branding", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 462-474. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-04-2018-1860

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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