Breaking category conventions in health & wellness – 5 key lessons

If you had walked into any health & wellness store or pharmacy 5 years ago, be it Boots or Holland & Barrett, you probably would have been met with a wall of bland, clinical-looking brands.

However, these past few years we have seen a shake up on the aisles as new and interesting brands in the worlds of health tech, feminine hygiene and herbal/ natural remedies, amongst others, have turned category norms on their head.

Here are three of our favourite health & wellness brands which are ripping up the rule book…


Whoever said blood tests were boring needs to order themselves a Thriva pack ASAP. Founded in 2016, Thriva describe themselves as the ‘world’s first preventative health service’, providing convenient and insightful products that aim to empower people to proactively manage their health. Their identity is a million miles away from conventional medical branding with bold colours, playful infographics, an informative yet down to earth tone of voice, and beautifully designed packaging that would get anyone excited about pricking their little finger.


Whilst bright colours have long been an established category norm in the feminine hygiene sector, there has been one colour notably lacking; red. Well look no further than Ohne. As well as boldly using red throughout all of their branding, they also regularly use words that the category leaders shy away from, such as ‘vagina’ and ‘bleeding’, in their fun and playful comms.


Brands in the vitamin category are typically clinical and functional with little personality, borrowing their cues from the world of pharmaceuticals. However, this is starting to change with brands like Together, a natural health supplement business that values transparency above all else. The brand breaks traditional category conventions by putting humans, as opposed to faceless science, at the centre of their brand, from sharing their founders’ ethos and story, to supporting the Vitamin Angels charity. Their natural looking matte finish packs are also a breath of fresh air on a shelf dominated by shiny plastic tubs.

So what can we learn from these brands?

Whilst there are countless other interesting brands changing the game within the health & wellness world, these examples highlight five key branding lessons on how to break the rules:

1. Make your consumer journey as enjoyable as possible: Health & wellness can be confusing, scary and intimidating. Make your product and service as easy to understand as possible and create a consumer experience that is seamless and pleasant from purchase to final use. Your brand must always alleviate the consumer’s worries, never adding to them.

2. Say it as it is: Don’t mince your words and shy away from ‘taboos’. Just say it! Equally, be transparent about what you do and how you do it. Consumers are increasingly doing their research on brands and like to feel empowered to choose what is best for them.

3. Have a higher purpose: Consumers are increasingly looking to associate themselves with brands that think beyond profits and actually give back to society, be that through supporting charities or creating a platform for important discussions around health.

4. Be human: Just because your brand operates within the world of health & wellness, it doesn’t mean that you have to be serious. Whilst being clear on the functional properties of your product/ service is a must, there is no need to present your brand as a cold scientist. Be personable and relatable, talk like a human, not a robot.

5. Rip off the semiotic shackles: As we have seen in this article, health & wellness brands do not have to look clinical, and unique packaging that stands out on shelf whilst still being fit for purpose can truly make a brand. Bonus points for you if your beautiful packaging adds a functional benefit like Thriva! 

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