Healthcare marketers: what’s the big idea that defines your brand?

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Imagine a world where consumers (not patients) can purchase their healthcare the way they do their consumer products – across a variety of “retail” channels.  And similar to consumer products, many (usually way too many) brands are fighting for attention across more devices and networks.

So in the context of this environment, what’s the big idea that defines, and distinguishes, your brand? Or, similar to the fate of many consumer products, will your healthcare brand descend into comparative advertising and everyday low prices with consumers therefore looking for the best deal (e.g. Cleanse your body, not your wallet. Get 15% off every Thursday at The Colonscopy Center *). This “commoditization” signals the beginning of the end for a brand.

Creativity is the only way to break through the clutter. And real creativity is not guided by rational prompts. It’s not about more da Vinci’s, more five star awards or even better doctors or nurses – because unfortunately, everyone is promoting the same things. Rather, breaking through the noise is about thinking and acting differently.

At the end of the day, regardless of all the different models that exist of a “brand”, what they all have in common is that they address these four questions:

1. why do you exist (a compelling purpose that really matters to people)
2. what do you do for people (how does your product or service solve a particular challenge)
3. how do you make them feel (beyond obvious product or sector-related benefits in ways that reflect their aspirations)
4. how do you do it differently (to cut through the competitive noise; or at least in your “traditional’ service areas)

Across every category, even “supposed commodity types” like cement and water (remember when water was just a commodity), there are brands that create real differentiation by declaring and demonstrating a higher purpose and by being more essential to people’s lives. Healthcare is no different.

* for the record, my (thankfully) fictional line

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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