Brands & influencers turning to fitness, wellbeing, Yoga to gain traction

Brands & influencers turning to fitness, wellbeing, Yoga to gain traction
Brands & influencers turning to fitness, wellbeing, Yoga to gain traction

India’s ancient practice to maintain holistic health, Yoga today has made deep inroads throughout the world and even gained recognition from the UN General Assembly as International Yoga Day in 2014. Under the Narendra Modi Government, Yoga has gained further prominence.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown has brought the focus on physical and mental well-being as well as building one’s immunity. With gyms, fitness clubs and wellness spas shut down to prevent the virus from spreading, practicing Yoga at home is on the rise. Numerous celebrities sharing their Yoga routines on their social media handles has also added to its popularity. Reports show that videos related to health, Yoga and wellness have gained the highest traction during the lockdown period.

Social media influencers like Zareen Khan, an Indian mother who has become an inspiration with more than 29k views, and celebrities like Aashka Goradia, who has over 79k views on her videos, have come to the spotlight to promote yoga and fitness content.

Health and fitness related content has become very popular in companies such as Cult.Fit, Sarva Yoga, The Shilpa Shetty App, who have started their own business modules where they give solutions and ideas related to health & fitness and yoga to customers.

Sarva Yoga was launched with the value proposition of content being holistic and available in multiple languages by some really good instructors. It started with physical studios and went on to an App, which has now come to the forefront during this period. The app offers live and interactive virtual classes and a mechanism that gives users real-time feedback on their postures. Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, Sarva Yoga, said, “During the lockdown period, traction for content aimed at weight loss, muscle toning and core conditioning has been the biggest motivator for our audience weight loss through yoga. We are also seeing 91 per cent of traction for live classes on App, but our ‘Mind’ content has a better traction that any other content on the app.”

In order to meet this demand, the brand has increased content creation during the lockdown and is actively ramping up spends towards building more content for music driven mindfulness as well as live sessions, not just for yoga workouts but also other aspects of wellness.

Similarly,, another company in the space of fitness and health, has also seen a traction of 7 per cent week-on-week in the number of followers on Instagram, with an average engagement of 3-4 per cent. To meet the demand, they pivoted to digital offerings quite fast, which enabled people to continue their fitness journeys without any interruptions by introducing celebrity-guided fitness classes on their app. In a bid to bringing fresh content across all formats, the company has roped in new celebrity faces as well.

Fitternity, an online fitness and wellness destination with a user base of 11 Million+ users across India, has seen an upsurge in the number of times a user works out during a week. Rajvee Gandhi, Senior Brand Manager, Fitternity observes, "earlier, it was observed that a user would workout 4 times a month but the number has now increased to 3-4 times a week, which is a positive sign towards inculcating fitness in their daily routine."

The platform has taken various strategic steps in order to keep their online offerings relevant and market them effectively by providing snackable fitness and wellness content on various brand communication platforms such as social media (Instagram, Facebook, etc), emailers, articles and more. They launched Fit-TV, a premium virtual fitness video streaming platform, providing users a series of workout videos by top celebrity trainers and fitness coaches in the country.

They have also expanded into wellness offerings, including diet consultation with mental coaching and meditation, and brought fitness and wellness classes to consumers at their homes and provided maximum flexibility.

Gandhi says, "a good number of  users are availing OnePass Virtual, a digital version of Fitternity’s prime product, OnePass. OnePass Virtual allows unlimited usage of Fitternity livestream classes and Fit-TV and offers users the flexibility of experiencing different classes as per their preference."

She adds, "The consumer response towards the new offerings has been highly encouraging and validating. Fitternity has witnessed an average of 7/10 users praising their interaction with the trainers on livestream sessions and narrating how it made their experience very similar to taking an actual physical class. Over 85% of users have expressed heartfelt appreciation towards Fitternity Livestream."

Initially, Fitternity created two business models that catered to the user needs of two unique segments - ‘New World User’ (flexi-membership users) & ‘Old World User’ (traditional gym membership users). Due to such dynamic needs of the consumer, Fitternity has been constantly working on its business models to devise enhanced fitness solutions.

Recently launched The Shilpa Shetty App has also seen increase in the number of subscriptions and engagement time. The App has claimed a significant jump in the number of daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU) during the lockdown. “We are churning out programmes from our existing videos with help of experts. We are also focusing more on the needs of our consumers and hence, there is a lot of importance given to meditation, relaxation of mind, calming stress, sleep and anxiety management, along with quick, easy and short duration programmes to lose weight and tone the body,” a company spokesperson said.

While influencers and yoga content creation houses are seeing a lot of traction with their content, are brands, too, keen on entering the yoga space? Fastrack is one such brand which started promoting home workout fitness and yoga as soon as the lockdown began. Ayushman Chiranewala, Marketing Head, Fastrack, claimed, “Fastrack has seen about 60 per cent of engagement level going up on social platforms around fitness and health related activities. To meet the demand, they brought very unique and interesting content such as ‘Flex with Reflex’, where they invited friends to work out together virtually.

In a brief interaction with Adgully, Tarun Bhagat, Director, Marketing –Hydration and Cola, PepsiCo India, speaks about the growing stress on fitness and wellbeing and what it means for brands.

What kind of engagement are you seeing with fitness & wellbeing content during the lockdown?

The global health challenge has forced people the world over to question what normal is, and what their individual priorities are in this new world. Fitness and wellbeing have taken precedence over everything else.

However, the nationwide lockdown has led to consumers find new ways to remain fit. Digital has been one of the most convenient platforms for people to get access to relevant fitness and wellbeing content during the last few months, and there has been a significant increase in consumption of the same. Majority of searches in the past few months have been about how to keep up your fitness/ well-being routines in the absence of gyms, extensive equipment, or even additional members present alongside.

We have seen brands, as well as sources of authority step up and create content that helps people keep up with their wellbeing and fitness goals, all in the comfort of their homes.

Have you experimented with branded content in the space of fitness/ health/ wellbeing and what did it accomplish for the brand?

Gatorade recently released a video with brand ambassador PV Sindhu, which encourages people who are at home to stay fit and invest in themselves. The video is a twist on our ‘Nothing Beats Gatorade’ philosophy and encourages people to not just Work-From-Home, but also embrace the concept of Work-Out-From-Home as part of their daily routine. In the film, Sindhu is seen motivating consumers to exercise and stay fit while sweating it out, even as doors to ‘normal’ places of exercise remain shut.

The digital forward campaign helped us reiterate the message that individual health should not take a backseat and people should try and take out time to work out from home and give due importance to their personal fitness. The video saw tremendous positive feedback with a reach of over 16 million.

In the ‘new normal’, do you see increase in adoption of fitness products/ solutions that can be delivered at home?

Physical and mental wellbeing is paramount, especially during times like these to ensure positivity and productivity. This is where virtual fitness regimes step in. As we embrace the new normal, consumers are more likely to stay indoors as much as they can and turn to experts online to help with their fitness regimes. We do anticipate an increase in interest for in-home health and fitness products as well as app subscriptions which aid the process of consumers’ well-being.


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