When people talk about health influencers, they are often thinking of high-profile thought leaders whose names we all know. Sanjay Gupta or Dr. Oz, perhaps. When these thought leaders talk about trends or products on television, a spike in sales will often result. Cultivating these influencers can definitely benefit your brand.
But there are also thousands of health influencers whose names you do not know. They are in every community in America and they influence the habits and purchase decisions of hundreds of thousands of patients every day.
They are dietitians, diabetes educators, nurses, and doctors, working on the front lines of health and wellness. Their influence with patients is not based on notoriety, but rather on the trust and credibility that come from a long-standing, personal relationship.
And they are talking about nutrition, because dietary change is the first step in virtually every disease management strategy, whether the need-state is heart disease, diabetes, weight management, or simply general health and vitality.
Invariably, these conversations include a recommendation. If the health influencer suggests eating more fiber, the patient asks how. If the health influencer recommends low-fat, high-quality protein, the patients asks for specific recommendations. Therein lies the opportunity for brands. To literally be part of the conversation.
Integrating your brand into these counseling conversations can be as simple as providing educational materials, samples and coupons. But while the integration is simple, the impact can be powerful. Overwhelmingly, consumers say that healthcare professionals are a driving force in their decisions to try new healthy products.
So absolutely, cultivate a relationship with high-profile nutrition thought leaders. But consider the value that thousands of practicing healthcare professionals can bring to your brand by simply incorporating it into their conversations with consumers each and every day.