Lifestyle brand Goop was onto something when it first began to promote crystal therapy, reiki, and other “new age” practices on its blog. 62% of Americans believe in psychics, astrology or the idea that objects can possess spiritual power. Such new age, mystical beliefs are on the rise. Young women are the most likely demographic to hold them, according to the Gartner Cultural Attitudes and Behaviors Survey, 2018.
The behaviors and attitudes of mystic-interested consumers contain contradictions. They are more likely to have a smartphone, use social media and stream video than those who reject mysticism. Yet the mystic-interested are also more likely to say they feel disconnected from society—and to express distrust in big brands, in “corporate” America and in the “American dream.”
This intersection of mysticism, tech engagement and societal distrust suggests that people are embracing new age beliefs, in part, to push against the advance of data, artificial intelligence and technology in society. Ironically, this tension between technology and society is taking place even as businesses selling new age paraphernalia and services leverage social and digital channels to compete.
Take note of this cultural trend and evaluate your brand strategy to make sure it aligns with—or at least respects—consumers’ mystical beliefs. Writing an ad in the form of a horoscope, for example, could be seen internally as a fun creative idea. But astrology relies on imagery and vocabulary that is meaningful to adherents. Use that imagery incorrectly and you risk alienating the people you’re trying to engage.
When highlighting mystical practices in marketing messages, be sincere and accurate about the spiritual practice they reference.