Global Brand Building in Health and Wellness
Episode

Tanita Sandhu, Head of Global Brand and Corporate Marketing at Zepp Health

Global Brand Building in Health and Wellness

Your brand sets the stage for the experience across every touchpoint your business offers.

 

In this episode of Marketing Mondays, Andreea Borcea has Tanita Sandhu, Head of Global Brand and Corporate Marketing at Zepp Health, a brand that brings wellness, fitness, and health solutions through wearable technology and empowers people to live their best lives. Brand building is crucial in the health and wellness industry, throughout this conversation, Tanita provides insight into how she has built a global brand at Zepp that encompasses all of its different products and creates a long-term relationship with all its stakeholders. She explains what a company should consider when building its brand and what to keep in mind when extending it globally, sharing details from her experience at Zepp along the way.

 

Tune in to this episode to learn about the power of brand building for the health and wellness industry!

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Global Brand Building in Health and Wellness

About Tanita Sandhu:

Tanita Sandhu is the global head of branding and corporate marketing with Zepp Health, (NYSE: ZEPP), a global smart wearable, and health technology leader, that empowers users to live their healthiest lives by optimizing their health, fitness, and wellness journeys through its leading consumer brand Amazfit, a smartwatch brand, Zepp Clarity, a hearing-aid solutions brand and Zepp Aura, AI-Powered soundscape mindfulness. Visit www.zepp.com  

She has over 20 years of experience working in strategic business and branding leadership positions across the US, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East across both the client and agency sides and is a published writer and speaker on branding topics. 

Some of her senior leadership roles include the following: 

Executive Director of Marketing, Dubai Design District, (d3), Tecom Investments, a purpose-built master-plan destination in Dubai dedicated to housing the design community, comprising commercial, hospitality, art, design, and real estate properties. Executive Brand Director and Head of Corporate Communications, Majid Al Futtaim, a USD10 billion conglomerate famous for its Ski Dubai brand in Dubai, amongst other iconic brands, with a presence in over 18 countries. Executive Client Director & New Business with The Brand Union (now known as Superunion), a global branding and digital marketing consultancy which is part of the WPP Group, the world’s largest marketing and design company. VP of Corporate Marketing & Public Relations with Gemalto (now known as Thales), a digital security company with a presence in over 180 countries.

 

Marketing Mondays_Tanita Sandhu: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Marketing Mondays_Tanita Sandhu: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Andreea Borcea:
Welcome to the Marketing Mondays podcast, where we explore how we can make your offerings stand out in the health and wellness space. Through conversations with thought leaders and innovators in health and wellness marketing, we’ll discuss marketing best practices, case studies, and innovative ideas to help scale your business and grow revenues with impact. I’m excited to be your host. My name is Andreea Borcea. I’m a fractional CMO and owner of the Dia Creative Marketing Agency.

Andreea Borcea:
Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of Marketing Mondays. I’m your host, Andreea Borcea, CMO of Dia Creative, a digital marketing agency that specializes in health and wellness marketing as a full-service option for you. I am very excited to bring a 20-year brand and marketing professional, Tanita Sandhu, Head of Global Brand and Corporate Marketing at Zepp Health. Tanita, thank you so much for being here.

Tanita Sandhu:
Thank you for having me, Andreea.

Andreea Borcea:
Tell me a little bit more about Zepp Health.

Tanita Sandhu:
Sure, so, Zepp Health is basically a health wearable technology brand. We’ve got about 40 million plus active users.

Andreea Borcea:
Oh, my god!

Tanita Sandhu:
Thank you, so we’re very much a global brand doing a bit of wellness, fitness, and health solutions. So, for example, we’ve got a smartwatch brand called Amazfit, and then we’ve got a hearing aid solution called Zepp Clarity, and we recently launched a mindfulness sleep-powered app called Zepp Aura. So it’s a lot about, and all about really empowering people to live their best lives from a health, fitness, and wellness perspective.

Andreea Borcea:
That’s incredible. So you’ve got a pretty big marketing challenge then because you’ve got multiple brands under the same concept. Tell me a little bit about how you manage all that nuance across all these brands.

Tanita Sandhu:
Absolutely, so that was one of the first challenges that I had to tackle, and realizing that actually, Zepp Health is all about looking to really empower people to realize their wellness journeys. And initially, the subbrands were creating their own proposition, which is fine, right? Because the Amazfit brand is very much about fitness and using the smartwatch to track your, and measure the metrics of how many steps you’ve taken, for example, right? And then the Zepp Clarity brand is very focused to help people with hearing loss to be able to use this earbuds to help them hear better. And then Zepp Aura is really about helping people who have problems sleeping or need to relax. So the opportunity was first to kind of capture what is the bigger purpose, right? So that’s, you and I were chatting earlier that, you know, the brand building exercise does not start with, oh, let’s do a demand gen campaign or let’s look at SEO and let’s look at buying ads, right? It has to come back to the core of, Hey, why do we exist, right? What is our purpose? And Zepp Health’s initial purpose was connecting health with technology, which I guess was serving the brand when it first started in 2010, which was using the power of technology, right, to connect health. But it was lacking that human element because, at the end of the day, the technology is only as good as how it actually impacts people’s lives, right?

Andreea Borcea:
Definitely.

Tanita Sandhu:
So doing the exercise of recognizing that actually, you know, at the core, at the heart of everything that we do is about people. So we came up with a broader purpose of saying that Zepp Health is about helping people live better and, right, and then being able to take that purpose and then align that purpose across the vertical brands, made the narrative, one, more authentic and of value. Because, you know, Zepp Health is about helping people live better, and we do that by having a smartwatch brand, which is Amazfit, to allow you to have the best access, the most accurate, reliable access to your data so that you perform better, right? You know, I don’t know if you do your 10,000 steps, but, you know, it’s like, right, it’s like, oh, today I did 5,000. And then you’re looking at your watch and it’s like, hey, good work. You know, tomorrow, it motivates you, right? And so and so forth. So I think having an understanding of why it’s so, so critical to build this, a successful strategy that then starts to, I would say, become your footprint across every touchpoint, right? So in brand, well, we always say that your brand is your experience, and that really means across every touchpoint, right? It’s not just a pretty logo, not a good-looking website, right? Everything. And then, and then creating that playbook, right, of the behaviors, the actions, the narrative, the front line is how do they engage, all of that starts to have a very considerable approach to brand building.

Andreea Borcea:
Absolutely, and I love the way you kind of, one, defined a brand for Zepp Health because it gives you the flexibility to add more technology as long as it fits under that brand, but I really think that that’s the important lesson to take home from this, is like if you start with demand Gen or SEO and all these other things like you said, there’s a really good chance that those are going to sound like they come from three, four or five different companies. You have to start with that why, like you said, otherwise like, I don’t even know how you build out from there. Are you finding that people are understanding that when you come into a new role or when you’re coming in to work on brand, or do you feel like people are still like, well, no, just, let’s just run ahead of that?

Tanita Sandhu:
And I would say the latter because there is a constant urgent need to be out there, right? And I empathize with the marketing folks because the pressure is on, right? And so I think that having had the opportunity to work in so many different vertical industries, in different markets, and then being able to also understand that different stakeholders have different ideas of what is important to them. So the first thing I would recommend, if anyone is having to undertake this challenge in their current role, is really to bring all the stakeholders together and, and create a bit of, a workshop to draw insights because by asking everyone what is really important to them and being able to also ask them what do they think is the brand purpose, will unravel a lot of insights, but you’ll start to also see that there’s some commonalities, right? And I think it’s an exercise worth going through because then people will understand why brand building is important, because brand building is about creating a long-term relationship with your stakeholders. And that was the interesting thing for us at Zepp Health, because at the end of the day when we look at the whole idea of preventive health, right? Preventive health is about taking care of yourself before you get to a stage where you actually need to get more medical help. So preventive health is about understanding that everyone has a lifecycle, so to speak. And so you start with fitness, right? And a lot of us are in urban communities. And the idea of needing to go out and take a walk or get some exercise, time and time and again is proven to help us cope better with life’s pressures. But also as that person gets older, you’ve got other types of situations that come with age, for example, not being able to hear too well, right? So that’s also helping, our solutions are going to help you live better. You know, now with this influx of everything is about mindfulness and meditation apps, I mean, I think just in the last ten years that market has, that wellness market has just exploded, right? And so now, people, in fact, there was a study on sleep and the fact that, you know, that sleep deprivation is now considered a massive health issue, a global health issue, right?

Andreea Borcea:
Yeah, I saw that.

Tanita Sandhu:
And it’s, and so the fact of the matter is that we are touching people’s lives at different points of their journey. And so being able to say that, hey, we’re here to help people live better regardless of where they are and which chapter they are, that’s called building the long-term relationship with that person, right? You can’t escape that, it’s not a short-term gain.

Andreea Borcea:
I think that really reiterates why brand is particularly important in health and wellness, right? A lot of times on this podcast, we talk about building trust, making sure that people will trust you with their health, that you care about them, that you’re not just in it for the dollar. And I think anyone that’s either starting a healthcare company or has one that’s been around for a while, that brand is that long-term relationship. You did say something super interesting before this conversation about how most organizations don’t realize that they don’t own their brand. So I think that’s really interesting. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Tanita Sandhu:
Totally, and I think most of it now with social media, right? And the fact that the power of the brand is in the hands of the people, right? So you can be at any medical organization or online, offline, it doesn’t matter, but the minute someone feels that they’re not getting the desired experience, right, the first place they would go and make that known would be on a social media channel, right? So therefore, you, all the more, right, you can’t make a promise and then not deliver on it, right, because that brand will be called out, quite simply. And I like what you’re saying about the fact that I also personally feel that the healthcare and the wellness industry really should revisit a lot of their promises and propositions, because when you look at healthcare, like if you go to a hospital, I’m always, always surprised as to why the walls looks, everything looks so, so, so somber.

Andreea Borcea:
That’s true, it’s really funny, to your point, yeah.

Tanita Sandhu:
And you go, okay, so we’re already feeling stressed that we’re in a hospital, but the environment around it makes it even more so. So I’ve noticed that some of the newer hospitals have started to put art, like really inspiring art, music in certain areas because we know that, you know, music can lift someone’s soul and spirit. And so these are all the little touchpoints, right? That the idea of, you know, ultimately it’s a service industry, and for me, it’s an opportunity to be of service, right, to the community to which you are engaging with. And so I think there is definitely an opportunity for some of these long-established brands to kind of revisit more around the experience, because the brand, like I said, it’s not owned by that organization or that institute, right? It’s really owned by the people.

Andreea Borcea:
I think that’s a great example. A lot of people will create a brand, a brand book, and then they’ll just put it on a shelf somewhere and like, okay, check, we did that, we’re good. That’s absolutely true. That’s a good example. If your brand is that we make you feel safe and comfortable, comfortable through your health journey, but then you go into a somber, scary emergency room, you’re not living up to your brand. And you’re absolutely right then, because then on social, people will call you out. It’s like you said, you’re going to give me a pleasant experience. This is unpleasant. That’s not acceptable.

Tanita Sandhu:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and also just being able to, I like what you’re saying, and it’s very true where the brand book is done and everybody goes, sigh of relief, and it’s done and you’re like, actually, that’s just the beginning. Because now we have to bring, you know, take the brand book and bring it to life, right? And I think a lot of it has to do with spending time with the people that are actually going to represent your brand, right? And I mean, every single person, right? It’s not just, let’s train the management on the brand and what it represents because they’re going to be speaking to the media, for example. No, it has to be that every single person that represents your brand is your brand ambassador, right? So you have to take the time to really introduce the brand, and that becomes culture, right?

Andreea Borcea:
True, yeah, that’s also part of your brand experience. It’s not just external and internal as well, yeah, definitely.

Tanita Sandhu:
Yes, yes.

Andreea Borcea:
And all of this comes back to like why you start with brand, how it has to then, because it is the guide for everything else you do, if you’ve done brand, right, and if you’re doing a good job of communicating that brand internally and externally, and if you’re not, then you just become this haphazard mess. I can imagine this gets even more complicated when you go global and you’re doing global brands. So how do you even manage that with different cultural norms and laws and complications? Like how do you ensure that you’re a brand that can extend globally?

Tanita Sandhu:
So that comes back to defining a unique but, a very human purpose, right? Because again, to be able, to want to capture a purpose that is relevant in one market, that is a campaign, that’s not, that is about resonating and delivering a campaign. For example, right, let’s say we want to launch our next series of sport watch, and we realize that, for example, cycling is a massive activity, right, in certain markets, while running is a massive activity in other markets, right? So the idea is to be able to still craft their narrative of helping people live better, but then the campaign could be customized and personalized to suit, right, that particular market needs so that it’s relevant to the people, right? So that’s kind of how I would, I mean, that’s how we do it and that’s how it should be done so that you’re not basically doing a peel-over and then go, right? It’s like, yeah, it works, right? It doesn’t, it does not work. And I, and, you know, just a quick experiment, a real case study to share. So when I was based in Dubai, in the Middle East, and was working on an FMCG brand out of North America, and they had sent deodorant bottles to serve the market in Saudi Arabia, and the bottles were targeting the women and the color was the typical pink colors. And it was very interesting because we said, we’re not sure if the Saudi women actually like pink, and they were like, of course, they do, and that was the assumption. But we pushed back and said, we’d like to do a little bit of a mini focus group and really get the insights before we start to market them. And we did a focus group with about 30 women, different demographics, and the first thing they said is we’re highly insulted that there is this assumption that just because we’re women, we like the color pink.

Andreea Borcea:
Oh, that’s perfect!

Tanita Sandhu:
Right?

Andreea Borcea:
Yeah!

Tanita Sandhu:
So, and so that’s where, you know, coming back to your point of really understanding local needs means having local insights and never, never drawing on assumptions because that is a very expensive pitfall. So, taking that time to do the research and getting the insights is extremely critical to any local global campaign.

Andreea Borcea:
Definitely, and it sounds like their brand didn’t have to be pink. Like I like that you brought brand back to human, because there are humans are everywhere, regardless of country, but making those local assumptions is where you have a pitfall. But if you go back to brand, you can still be on brand and be local.

Tanita Sandhu:
Absolutely, yeah, yeah, and then that comes back to having a secondary color palette that might be a little bit more, I would say flexible, so that you can still apply different color palettes, but it’s still within your brand color wheel, for example.

Andreea Borcea:
Definitely, how often do you think a company should go back and check in on their brand or reevaluate their brand, kind of make sure that they’re still on brand and the brand’s appropriate?

Tanita Sandhu:
Totally, so I think it’s necessary to do it yearly in the sense of being able to audit because we are, you know, the worlds of the physical and digital are colliding, right? And they’re, and so being able to have your pulse on how the brand is viewed or experienced or is engaging and doing a yearly audit, I think will help you to kind of gauge where you are today, where are the gaps, what’s the opportunity. So I would recommend yearly audits and reviews.

Andreea Borcea:
Nice, and then a deeper brand dive. What does that entail? You’re saying bring the whole team together, make sure that you have every aspect. But if you’re new and starting out, you know, how do you recommend starting? Like what are the questions you should ask yourself?

Tanita Sandhu:
So I think the first question to ask yourself is your why, right? And coming back to that, that’s going to be to determine what would potentially be your purpose, right? And so why do we do what we do, right? And then to, for whom?

Andreea Borcea:
Right.

Tanita Sandhu:
And what is the value offer, right? And also benchmarking, right? So not being very insular in the approach of saying, well, you know, we’re going to offer the best possible service there is. And so not being vague, you know, being as clear as possible on what is it that you’re offering, right? And identifying then what the opportunity is within that scope of what you’re offering. And looking at your benchmark is such a healthy way to understand your market, your peers and also doing social listening. You know, one of the things is not just looking at someone’s website, like that’s, that is done. You just go to their social media channels, right? And actually take the time to read what are they posting, what kind of feedback are they getting. Stalk them, basically, but really to get a very deep understanding of who you’re up against, right? And then being able to go, okay, I would also say that besides the benchmarking, if you have existing clients or customers, you know, invite them to be part of your discovery, and that way, they’ll appreciate the fact that you want to improve, right? Hey, we want to, we’re looking to revisit our brand and what we do. We’d love to get your feedback and your support. So giving some of that autonomy, right, of that brand building and inviting the community to be part of it is actually very, very powerful and hugely impactful.

Andreea Borcea:
Yeah, I feel like one of the biggest mistakes I see when people first start is they try to be everything to everyone. But you’re not going to do that. You’re, never going to happen.

Tanita Sandhu:
And that’s always the biggest challenge when you are trying to steer the direction, right, and you’re trying to create the North Star amongst your stakeholders. And it’s like, yeah, we’re smart and we’re efficient, and you know, and we’re affordable, and we’re better than the rest. You’re like, we got to pick one.

Andreea Borcea:
Definitely. With health and wellness marketing in particular, how do you see the market evolving over the next 5 to 10 years? Is there anything that companies should be focusing on as they evolve their marketing?

Tanita Sandhu:
I would say that the company or anyone should really be focusing on the brand and the brand touchpoints. I really feel that if you take care of the journey, right, in which you want your brand to communicate what it offers and then you want people to experience that, creating a bit of a mapping journey online, offline, whether you’re in a direct channel, indirect channel, recognizing that, what are the pain points that you need to solve so that the journey becomes seamless, the journey is integrated. I think it’s really going to be a key differentiator.

Andreea Borcea:
Absolutely, I love that. Well, Tanita, is there any last advice you give to someone when they think through brand and marketing, especially in this space?

Tanita Sandhu:
I would recommend be fearless. You know, it is a process, but it’s a journey. And I know that brand building is a very dynamic process, and I think if you embrace it from the long-term perspective, then you will be able to put the right building blocks to build the right brand for you.

Andreea Borcea:
Yeah, long term, you’re not trying to build something that’s a fly-by-night. Perfect. Well, that’s been our episode. Thank you so much, again. That was Tanita Sandhu from Zepp Health. Where can they find out more about Zepp Health?

Tanita Sandhu:
Oh, they can go to www.Zepp.com. Z E P P.com

Andreea Borcea:
Perfect, and thank you, everyone. Once again, I’m your host Andreea Borcea CMO of Dia Creative, and hope to see you again next time.

Andreea Borcea:
Thanks again for listening to Marketing Mondays. If you have any marketing questions at all, feel free to reach out to me directly at DiaCreative.com. That’s D I A Creative.com.

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Things You’ll Learn:

  • Zepp Health offers three different products: Amazfit, a smartwatch to track and measure the metrics of how many steps you’ve taken; Zepp Clarity, a hearing aid solution; and Zepp Aura, a mindfulness sleep-powered app.
  • Brand building is about creating a long-term relationship with your stakeholders
  • The power of a brand is in the hands of the people. 
  • As a Brand, you can’t make a promise and then not deliver on it because you will be immediately called out and held accountable for it.
  • Everyone who represents your brand is your brand ambassador, so take the time to introduce the brand to them to create that brand culture in your company.
  • A company should review its brand yearly.
  • For the brand-building process, find your company’s true purpose, benchmark thoroughly, and invite your customers to participate.

Resources:

  • Connect and follow Tanita Sandhu on LinkedIn
  • Follow Zepp Health on LinkedIn.
  • Explore the Zepp Health Website!
  • Visit the Dia Creative Website for solutions to any of your marketing needs.