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“We’re in the midst of a seismic shift in consciousness – the world needs wellness now more than ever before,” proclaims Sophie Scott, the founder, and Editor-in-Chief of BALANCE . “Thanks to the demands of modern life, stress, and anxiety is at an all-time high, costing the world nearly $1trillion a year in lost productivity.
As a result, people are realizing they need to invest in themselves and find more ‘balance’ in their lives”.
This is how Sophie summarizes the key insight that led to her building a community of followers and fans around the growing wellness trend she spotted a few years back. For those of you who aren’t familiar, BALANCE is one of the UK’s most popular and trusted media lifestyle brands and sources of wellness information available.
Since launching in 2016, they have garnered a number of industry awards, but most importantly a loyal readership of 22 million people, including a host of A-list celebrities, many of whom have ended up gracing the cover of their monthly magazine
Above all, Sophie tells me, they are proud of how hard they work for credibility – after all, when focusing on prevention rather than cure, it can be difficult to ascertain what results and efficacy really look like.
The Wellness Industry Struggles With Trust
“The wellness sector (now worth a staggering $4.2trillion) has serious trust issues. I don’t blame people who think ‘F**k you, wellness.’ Businesses have flooded the market with a glut of health, fitness and wellness information, which is often confusing and contradictory. Our aim is to crack content – to fix anxiety, rather than fuel it – and to expand an often-narrow view of what physical and mental health really means.
So what prompted Sophie, with no former experience in publishing, to launch BALANCE? “Passion and chutzpah,” she chuckles. “In many ways, my naivety helped me take the leap. Sometimes the more you know about something, the more excuses you find not to do it.” And, like most tenacious founders, it was her own personal experience that sparked the idea, “Having tackled burnout and anxiety myself, which ended with me sitting in a psychiatrist’s office, I felt compelled to empower people with the information and tools I wish I’d had.”
It was this interest in wellness, particularly in mental health that led Sophie to train as a psychotherapist. “Fundamentally, we all deal with the same issues – relationships, work, finances, health, trying to find meaning. And that counts for men as much as women. For too long, wellness has been synonymous with white middle-class women, BALANCE, on the other hand, takes an inclusive approach. Besides, media companies today have a greater responsibility to be honest and be a positive influence on people and society.”
Yet audiences are rightly skeptical, with so much on the market in a fairly unregulated industry it can be difficult to know where to go and who to trust. “BALANCE has worked hard to cut through the noise and deliver streamlined information, brought to you by world-leading experts. We pride ourselves on having secured WellSpoken mark –meaning everything we publish, in print and online, is well researched, factual and presented from a #balanced point of view, naturally. Rather than jumping on the mental health bandwagon, we’ve championed it from day one – mindfulness is at the heart our brand”.
How BALANCE Built A Community Around Wellness
At a time when it’s widely cited that print is dying, BALANCE took a rather bold gamble straight from the off in launching a print product and clearly, it’s paid dividends. As the great advertising genius Sir John Hegarty once said (and then wrote a book about) “When the world Zigs, zag”.
Sophie explains, “Within a fast-changing industry, the freemium model has flourished. Particularly in large urban areas such as London, publications such as the Evening Standard, Stylist and Timeout have taken advantage of public transport networks to grow their audience. The commute is a key time to inspire people at the worst point of their day.”
This also ensured BALANCE’s large circulation and distribution network from day one. Of course, to build any popular community, you need to be present where it matters, so you’ll find them on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, despite the recent loss of faith in Facebook (post-Cambridge Analytica), Facebook has been their fastest growing platform. The end-game Sophie says is “to meaningfully bring together all aspects of wellness and create a portfolio around our existing brand. ”
What Are The Big Wellness Trends In 2019?
Sophie is proud they’ve always done well to stay ahead of the trend whilst drilling down where they can on the authenticity of claims. With this in mind, she’s the perfect person to ask what we can expect in the coming months.
“Biohacking and microdosing is set to become more popular – and soon everyone will be at it. It involves the tracking and monitoring of different health and lifestyle choices so that you can work out what works best for you. After all, everyone is different. Broadly speaking, one size simply doesn’t fit all. Through consistently tweaking your behaviors, and analyzing real data, you can learn about yourself and take charge of your health.
As someone who’s been tracking their sleep every night with their Oura ring, I couldn’t agree more.
See www.balance.media for more.
January 6, 2019 at 07:29AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs