If you’re looking at Sonic Boom, you should check out these vendors too…

by | Nov 5, 2018

5 min. read

So, you’re looking for a new wellness program – wondering which of the hundreds of available vendors is right for you.  This first stage of the vendor-selection process – before any proposals, demos, or reference checks are made – is the most critical to your program’s success, because you can’t find your perfect vendor if you don’t bring them to the table in the first place.

This can also be the most-difficult stage, because vendors’ websites aren’t always clear in terms of what they do best.  And they definitely don’t fill you in on their closest competitors.  We’re here to change that, and to help get your vendor-selection process started on the right foot with the following three steps…

Step one:  Identify what’s important

Step one in clearing through the wellbeing-vendor clutter is to identify exactly what’s important to you (or to your client) and rank it.  You’ll likely have more than one item on your wish list, and those items may span from clinical programs like biometric screenings, disease management, and health-risk assessments, to health-habit-improvement programs like walking contests and nutritional challenges, to administrative services like incentive management and communication support.  Wellness programs are more effective when they include a holistic variety of activities, so it’s essential to put everything down on paper in order of importance, and use it as the guide to your selection process.

Step two:  Identify which “category” is best for you

Before you can narrow your list down to specific vendors, you need to determine which category of vendor is right for you.  We like to keep things simple, so we’ve narrowed it down to three main categories:

  • Specialty vendors: Some vendors specialize in one key area of wellbeing (like Healbright is an industry leader in mental wellbeing, and Quest and eHealth lead the way in biometric screenings).  There are specialty vendors for financial wellbeing, short-term walking challenges, diabetes management, and just about anything else you can imagine.  These vendors are fairly easy to find and compare apples-to-apples.  They focus on one thing, and they typically do it well.
  • “Add-on” specialty vendors: Some vendors specialize in a few key areas of wellbeing – typically within the same overall genre.  For example, some clinical vendors focus on health assessments, biometric screenings, and disease management or coaching.  They might also offer a small menu of healthy challenges and communications as an add-on service.  These vendors are still relatively easy to find, although comparisons are no longer apples-to-apples – it can often be difficult to determine which service is the vendor’s core competency, and which is the add-on.
  • Comprehensive vendors: Some vendors are attempting to do it all – typically through various partnerships and integrations.  These are the most difficult to find and compare because even though they’re doing “everything,” they each have different areas of focus and do different things better than others within the same category.  So, all of a sudden, you’re comparing apples to papayas to kohlrabi.

Step three:  Do your research

You have your wish list, you know your category – now it’s time to talk to your consultant/broker (or use the magic Google machine) and start making a list of potential suitors.  We can’t possibly cover all of your wellbeing options in this one quick article (we did mentioned there are hundreds of vendors, right?), but we can clarify what we (and our closest competitors) do best to help you determine if we might be a good fit for your needs.  The remainder of this article looks exclusively at the Comprehensive category of wellbeing.

Comprehensive vendors:  We’re similar in many ways

If you’re looking at Sonic Boom, you should also be looking at Virgin Pulse, Vitality, Aduro, WellRight, and Vivarae (recently re-branded as SimplyWell).  And there’s a reason you hear these same names over and over again.  We’re all premium wellness-engagement vendors with a focus on contests/challenges, trackers, incentive management, communications, etc.  We also provide the more-clinical stuff like screenings, health assessments, coaching, and can integrate data and provide robust reporting.  And we’re all quite similar in terms of platform capabilities and overall look-and-feel.

With this category starting to blend together, it has become more difficult to ascertain the true differentiators of each vendor.  The good news is that with the massive consolidation of the past two years (hello, Virgin Pulse), it’s getting easier to pare down the list – there are simply fewer quality vendors to choose from.  At the same time, this consolidation has created MORE differentiation, making it even clearer that there may be a standout vendor that’s right for you or your client.

Hello?  Is it you I’m looking for?

To find your winning vendor, we need to go back to your list of priorities.  What’s at the top?  Is it global capabilities, incentives, or hard-core social engagement and gamification?  Are you looking for engagement first and clinical second, or vice versa?  Sure, the biggest players in the comprehensive/engagement category can cover all of these bases – but each has its focal points, strengths, and weaknesses.  Here’s a quick rundown of where we think each vendor shines:

Aduro

Formerly a specialized screening-and-coaching organization.  Now, a comprehensive platform powered by Limeade.  Focused on human performance built around assessments followed by personalized journeys, self-guided learning and content, goals, and coaching.

Sonic Boom

Pioneer of the “engagement” category of wellbeing.  Focused on social engagement to improve daily health habits through contests, challenges, intelligent incentives, personalized action plans, coaching, and peer-to-peer recognition. Known for highly stimulating, engaging challenges – plus white-glove service, customization, and flexibility.

Vitality

Offers a four-step member journey: 1) Assess 2) Improve 3) Track 4) Reward. Offers features such as Vitality Age™ and Active Rewards with Apple Watch.  Appeals to incentive-minded clients looking for integration with wearables.

Virgin Pulse

Through multiple acquisitions and partnerships, the Virgin platform is among the largest in the wellbeing space, with thousands of customers, global capabilities, and a comprehensive offering.  Offers five different program levels depending on budget and focus.

Viverae/SimplyWell

Offers simple, configurable workplace wellness programs.  Screenings help members build a personal health profile with access to programs and coaching.  Known for claims analytics and risk-stratification to create personalized action plans.

WellRight

Known for having 200+ templated challenges, a health assessment, and coaching included in its standard package.  Meant to be easy to set up and administer, with flexible configuration options.

Final takeaway

Sonic Boom Wellness isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a premium comprehensive wellness program and you’re considering Virgin Pulse, Vitality, Aduro, WellRight, or Vivarae, you should check out Sonic Boom too.  The reverse is also true – If you’re checking out Sonic Boom, be sure to look at these vendors to make sure we’re your best fit before we commit to a long-term, fruitful partnership.

Danna Korn

Co-Founder / CEO / Chief Energizing Officer

Questions/comments (or want to learn more)?