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Patrick Saussay: How Brands Can Lead Wellbeing

Patrick Saussay believes wellbeing is a way to live for the ages.

Patrick Saussay believes wellbeing is a way to live for the ages.

“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.” —William Wordsworth

I was reminded of this William Wordsworth quote after interviewing this week’s Face of Wellbeing Leadership Patrick Saussay, founder and CEO, GPSA (Global Project & Spa Advisory), a wellness industry consultancy based in Paris. Patrick is working on a spa concept with Evian that uses water and nature to shape a guest’s wellbeing experience. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

What does wellbeing mean for you?
What’s interesting is that wellbeing, in many countries, is just a way to live. It’s not about a treatment that you buy or a product. I see a deep trend of wellbeing as a norm—a way to live for the ages. So, for individual people, it’s about taking care of yourself during your activities, when you are at work, when you are at home, when you are sleeping, when you are eating—just taking more care of yourself inside and out.

How does wellbeing align with what you’re doing in business?
In terms of business, wellbeing is very interesting because it has to do with everything from leisure, wellness, and tourism; it’s related to how you design your offices, how you share information, your productivity, and how you live on the job day to day. Because of this widespread interest and impact, we’re looking more and more at how businesses can lead wellbeing through their brands.

What’s an example of a brand leading wellbeing?
Very often a spa industry wellness brand starts with a product, for instance, gives body or facial treatments, and then they block a guest’s time and experience around it. With Evian, we try to go further. Evian has been involved in the wellness market for a very long time (first opening of the thermal baths in 1824), and already has a very strong brand image based on the values of health, purity, and youthfulness. As of 2012, the brand decided to develop a full spa concept with a team including Atelier GH (development of global design for the spas), and GPSA, with the objective to ensure a real, global wellness experience. We are building on Evian’s awareness and credibility in wellness to provide people with a new kind of service that matches Evian’s values and DNA.

Can you talk about what the new spa concept looks like?
Some of it is still under wraps, but Laurent Houel—Global Brand director, wanted to create a compelling wellness experience for guests that is strongly connected with the nature and aligned with the water lifecycle as a backbone. Water is one of the most important elements in nature and even in our bodies. So this connection with nature is vital in the concept we’re developing and rolling out now. I can’t give you too much detail but the idea is to literally transport the guest—no matter what spa they visit—into Evian’s birthplace in the Alps Mountains.

The core concept we’ve defined has “must haves” anchored in Evian’s identity. Around these core components, we have guidelines to balance with the local environment and requirements. Wellness traditions of the country we’re in along with hotel frequenting will lead to some adjustments as well. This ability to adjust to the local market while ensuring a consistent look and feel is key in this license proposal we’ve embarked on with our partners. And it ensures that as we bring this spa experience to life, we are truly creating an environment for the wellbeing of those who use it.

• Todd Walter: Building a Culture of Wellbeing at Red Door
• How the Spa Industry Can Lead Wellbeing: The Voice of CEO Susie Ellis
• On the Road to Thriving: Motivating the Next Generation


renee-cutoutRenee Moorefield, PhD
A deep and early belief that the values of health and sustainability would remake the way we live, lead, and work in the 21st century led Renee to launch Wisdom Works with her husband David Moorefield in 1999. Ever since, she’s helped forward-thinking clients—including Apollo Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, Merck & Company, Centura Health, Western Union, and The Coca-Cola Company—embed wellbeing strategies to create inspired workplaces, develop caring relationships with citizens, and produce results that matter.