For digital marketers across sectors, this dynamic may sound frighteningly familiar: “Instead of seeing an opportunity to use new techniques to create a great brand, most companies just adapted the shiny new tools to their stodgy old strategy of interruptive marketing.”
In a recent Fast Company article, that’s how digital marketing expert and author Jeff Rosenblum describes the wasted potential embedded in the marketing approach adopted by too many organizations—which likely include healthcare, too.
Rosenblum underscores the importance of understanding that digital advertising isn’t merely a replacement for analog, but a unique opportunity with great potential to change the relationship with consumers.
In this context, Rosenblum says the “secret ingredient” that too many brands overlook is empowerment.
“With each new technological advancement—artificial intelligence, augmented reality, the metaverse, to name a few—corporations keep spastically lurching forward, missing the bigger picture: Great brands make people’s lives better, one small step at a time,” Rosenblum writes. “Great brands use all the tools at their fingertips to empower people. Mediocre brands squander these tools on interruptions and frivolous messages, never changing their underlying strategy to acknowledge that technology has completely changed the relationship people have with brands.”
Three Strategies for Building a Great Brand
Citing various success stories, Rosenblum describes three strategies for companies looking to build great brands.
- Shift the relationship from transactional to emotional. “When brands make the shift from interruption to empowerment, they fundamentally change their relationship with their customers from transactional to emotional,” Rosenblum writes. He compares the short-term “rational” experience consumers have with “transactional” brands with those they have with “emotional” brands, which create positively “irrational relationships” that foster die-hard loyalty and infectious enthusiasm for the brand.
- Think beyond interruptions and superficial messages. People “simply want their own lives improved, one small step at a time,” Rosenblum says, which may include things like offering educational and inspirational resources that draw consumers in and increase exposure to brand offerings.
- Give customers what they want. In the context of the shopping experience, Rosenblum says, “perhaps the most overlooked form of empowerment is simply making shopping easier and more informed.” The same could be said for the healthcare experience, in which patients and prospects appreciate easy access to the resources they need.
Rosenblum says a common thread among great brands is that they find an “authentic and valuable place in their customers’ lives.”
“When brands create content that makes people’s lives better, they can stop worrying about whether enough people are watching their 30-second ads,” he writes. “They can get fans to invest 30 minutes, or even 30 hours, by engaging them with immersive, compelling content that they actually want to consume.”
Empowering Consumers with Great Content
This theme of consumer empowerment also emerged in Monigle’s recent report, Humanizing Brand Experience: Healthcare Edition – Volume 5, in which the brand consultancy says “self-care is empowering new health behaviors.”
Citing the influence of the pandemic, Monigle describes self-care as taking on “a whole new
“As people scrambled to cope with changing guidelines, advice, and socio-cultural dynamics, many turned to self-care as a way to take control of their health and wellness,” report authors write.
They also note that today’s consumers define self-care as both “preventive care to stay healthy” and “reactive care using online resources to diagnose and treat symptoms on one’s own.”
Among the 28,831 individuals who responded regarding self-care behaviors:
- 41%—”Researched my symptoms before making an appointment with a healthcare provider”
- 31%—”Researched my symptoms and/or diagnosis after an appointment with a healthcare provider”
- 22%—”Followed up with my healthcare provider after successfully self-treating my symptoms and/or illness”
- 17%—”Sought out alternative and/or holistic medicine to manage or treat my health”
- 16%—”Avoided making an appointment with a healthcare provider for a major illness I’ve had before”
- 15%—”Followed up with my healthcare provider after unsuccessfully self-treating my symptoms and/or illness”
- 27%—”None of these”
In light of this shift, Monigle recommends brands embrace a “more partnership-oriented role, leaning more heavily into content and programming that supports and keeps consumers safe as they ‘doctor’ themselves.”
Like Rosenblum, Monigle says providing trustworthy educational content is one way brands can deepen the connection with consumers.
“The role of content is to provide patients with support, create trust, and establish reputation
and credibility,” Monigle says. “Done right, a content studio can build a wealth of brand equity, while
generating stronger connections between provider and community. It’s also a great way
to deliver unique, engaging brand experiences at key moments in the patient journey.”
Contact us today to find out how we can help level up your healthcare marketing strategy.