by Josh Kimball

In 2009, Iconoculture identified a trend we call “Health Portfolio.” Our research examined a growing link between consumers’ health and their wealth — tracking how people apportion their time and money to try to stay fit.

One of our five Top Trends for 2012 is an evolution of that Health Portfolio phenomenon. The health-wealth link is still emerging for the mainstream cohort of consumers. But many factors – political, economic and demographic ­— mean that it has now, in many cases, become a Health Liability.

In the US, our collective health — especially in areas like obesity — isn’t getting better, and healthcare reform already has many people reassessing how they manage their health (and therefore, their finances). Across Europe, aging populations are changing the demographic mix, bringing health questions to the fore for both families and polities.

The bottom line? For a few years now, a leading-edge cohort of savvy consumers has understood the link between health and wealth, and that cohort has begun to actively manage their health portfolio just as they would take responsibility of their financial portfolio.

Some marketing implications of this health trend?

If consumers’ health is part of your business, recognize how your brand affects his or her overall health portfolio. Explore how your products, services and messages need to change in an environment where the consumer has more control and more responsibility over health management.

If consumers’ health isn’t part of your business today, explore how it could become so through innovation, partnerships or better information.

Mobilize people with the reminder that doing something for their health is better than doing nothing; and it’s never too late to get started.

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