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How to bring your healthcare brand to life: White Paper

Stephanie Hall

Steps to defining a brand personality to engage your internal and external audiences and create a great customer experience

How well do you think the healthcare industry invests in building strong brands with emotional resonance supported by strong insights that are “owned” by internal teams and deliver distinctive customer experiences?

This may be a distinctly loaded question. In our experience, there is much still to be done when launching or revitalising a mature brand to create distinctive brand personalities with a purpose, values, emotional resonance supported by the clinical profile and delivered by passionate internal teams in front of the customer.

So who does this well? The team at Uptake Strategies scoured our archives and there were a few rare stand-out examples: Sanofi’s Plavix, Abbott’s Humira, BI / Pfizer’s Spiriva, Gilead’s HIV portfolio and Biogen’s Tecfidera. There are many consumer healthcare brands that have built a strong brand identity with consistent packaging, target consumer profiles, digital engagement programmes, sponsorship and multi-channel campaigns supported by insight and it is often ‘easier’ for consumer brands to achieve this, but we believe it is equally important for prescription healthcare also. Think of Durex’s rebranding to appeal to the female shopper and new line extensions and Dove’s insight driven campaign, which put the consumer at the heart of the strategy whilst consistently communicating the ‘real beauty’ for more than a decade in a variety of creative ways. Other great examples include Flora pro-active which took the brand benefit (lowering cholesterol) to galvanise nations to get healthier across the globe and Nurofen; targeted relief from pain using strong visual icons that have now become the brand.

So what can we learn from these consumer brands and what they do so well? How would we recommend designing a brand personality for your brand? This should complement the brand’s rational “reasons to believe”: scientific evidence platform, positioning in the treatment pathway and value proposition. Can we really create strong brands in healthcare? We think we can and, more importantly, we think it’s an absolute imperative.

Step 1: review your brand’s equity research, customer preferences / attitudes, emotional and rational insights, internal team engagement and understanding of the brand strategy and identify strengths and weaknesses. Out of this review, you need some creative thinkers to find insight territories for the team to explore, debate and hone, which will then form the basis for any branding.
Step 2: collate your brand’s positioning statement, brand imagery, materials, logo, campaign materials and messages and identify rational and emotional tone, personality and areas of consistency / disconnect.
Step 3: convene a core team and supporting agencies (market research, advertising, PR) and define the brand personality, purpose, values and supporting emotional insight platforms.
Step 4: convene another working session with a core team and managers of any customer facing teams to create guidance on how to “translate” this personality in practice in marketing communications, activities and sales force interactions to create a stronger emotional connection with the customer.
Step 5: roll out the “brand translation” guidelines in a creative way via interactive briefings, workshops, exercises and using support materials, speakers and even a “brand box” of items to express the brand personality using the 5 senses.
Step 6: measurement: as with any endeavour, it’s essential to measure the internal understanding and engagement of the brand with structured attitudinal surveys and to track how the brand values, personality and emotional benefits are resonating with target customers through brand equity research.

What can this deliver? Quite simply a step change in the customer experience delivered by internal teams through use of campaign materials and in all interactions across different teams within an organisation. It leads to stronger motivation internally and stronger engagement and more powerful, sustainable emotional bonding and behaviour change from customers. And in our often, very rational, science-focussed busy, commercial organisations, it can unleash great creativity and genuine focus on the patient / physician.

Please contact if you would like to talk more about how to bring your brand to life and drive uptake using these techniques.

Stephanie Hall