Healthcare Brands Are No Longer Immune to the Rules of Consumer Brands
Healthcare brand strategies can no longer get away with a cold, clinical brand. It’s easy to understand why healthcare brands justify their cold, clinical nature when you consider that they need to engage patients within the boundaries of legal and regulatory standards. However, the healthcare economy is giving rise to the empowered patient, and today’s patients are now healthcare consumers. Consumers demand better experiences and they expect brands to be human instead of corporate. To be successful in the new healthcare economy, brands will need to find a way to bring back the humanity of healthcare. Cultivating winning healthcare branding strategies means putting the patient first.
Here Are 8 Ways For Healthcare Brands To Restore Their Humanity
- Tell Your Story
Why does your healthcare brand exist? Give people a background about who you are and what matters most to you. Communicate your mission and vision. Bring your brand story to life in a creative and authentic way for people to get to know you. Think about how filmmakers introduce the audience to the main character and use character development to hook you in. When you know the essential humanness of a person you feel empathy. You have a reason to root for the hero/heroine. Even when you don’t even like the hero/heroine you find yourself supporting them. See how far humanity can take you?
- Work With the Persona in Mind
Create all patient-facing content with personas in mind. This helps the brand stay focused on the target audience. It also helps align marketing with overall company goals and keeps messaging relevant, meaningful, and valuable. For example, if you are trying to reach people between 50 and 60 years of age, you can safely assume rap musicians aren’t likely to resonate with them.
- Speak the Patient’s Language
If you don’t speak specifically to the patient, you risk creating an unreadable patient website or blog. Leave out the jargon and technical speak. By speaking the language of the patient, you are showing you understand and care about the patient. When it comes to understanding, a picture is worth a thousand words. Infographics, videos, animations, and other visual media are perfect for communicating complex information in an easily digestible format.
- Invite Patients To Be Part Of Your Brand
Let consumers contribute to the brand story by giving them the opportunity to share their personal stories and experiences with your product or service. This can be done through a brand-owned landing page where necessary steps are taken to ensure compliance. Personal stories are inspirational and provide powerful social proof. It shows the brand cares about the people who use their products/services.
- Avoid Stock Imagery
Stock photos can be generic and are usually not the best representation of the brand. When possible try to use original imagery. This yields exclusive rights to the visuals and prevents other brands (especially in your space) from having the same look. Original photography also lends credibility and gives a feeling of authenticity. If you faked the core imagery on your website with stock photography, what else are you faking?
Respond to consumers in offline and online communications whenever possible. It’s not always easy, but it’s imperative for healthy customer relationships. And ignoring consumers doesn’t solve the problem either; it just means they’ll go somewhere else to vent their grievances. This creates bad word of mouth and negative brand associations. Social listening and other methods of consumer research can help you better understand your customers and how to serve them.
- Support Patients Beyond The Product and Product Support
Engage patients in a total care approach with valuable content designed for all stages of the patient life cycle. The digital medium provides ample opportunity to create meaningful experiences at multiple brand touch points. You can provide valuable patient education and inspire patients to live a healthier life. Create a brand and patient awareness, generate interest, and equip patients with the knowledge and confidence they need to make decisions about their healthcare.
- Make The Benefit Abundantly Clear
The brand value proposition should be obvious. People shouldn’t have to dig around to figure out what they’re looking at. Try this exercise: imagine your current website without any of the text on it. Would anyone have a clue what you’re selling? If not, you may want to make it more clear what business you’re in. Hint: think about the benefits. The product may be a medical device, but what you’re really selling is quality of life, healing, peace of mind, comfort, restored ability, etc.
At ParkerWhite, we have a growing client base of healthcare and medical device marketing accounts. If you have questions or need help guiding your healthcare brand strategy, contact us.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.