Shapers see needs the way others can’t and create brands and products that others don’t even know they want until they become part of our everyday lives.
I think Dr. Mark Hyman, the director at the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, is one of them. He’s filling a need recognized by smart marketers, an opportunity to become part of a movement that will fundamentally change and improve our culture.
Dr. Hyman believes that we all deserve a life of vitality. He also believes we have the potential to create it ourselves. His work involves tackling the root cause of disease with food and functional medicine. He is transforming healthcare and empowering people to heal themselves. It’s pretty powerful stuff.
In his new book “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?”, he digs into how the right foods for the right person can literally change your gene expression, regulate your hormones, affect your immune system, reduce inflammation in your body, and balance the microbiomes in your gut. He also explores how eating foods like green leafy vegetables, berries, beans, and nuts, and avoiding foods like red meat and fried food, actually protects the body from Alzheimer’s and dementia, while creating a detox system to help eliminate cancer.
What if he’s right (which I happen to think he is)? Imagine how that could change the way we think about and buy food. How much more would you pay for a functional drink that could help you prevent major illness? What would a supplement or meal that helped prevent cancer be worth? That’s the question brands should be asking themselves now. Mark Hyman is leading a movement to change behavior in a way we are just starting to understand and while consumers are dipping their proverbial toes in the functional medicine waters, smart marketers might want to think about the role they can play.
Recognizing a shaper as they are shaping is actually a huge opportunity for those who see it. Think about what it would have been like to be part of the coffee movement as Howard Schultz was envisioning the future where consumers would pay $4.00 for a coffee and sit down and enjoy it. He imagined a coffee store that was the American equivalent of the English Pub. And in the process, created the multibillion-dollar industry we all now take for granted.
Functional Medicine is more than a topic about healthy eating. It is a solution to a problem that needs to be solved and a potential transformation of an industry that needs to be transformed. This is going to be big. And important. What role can your brand play?