Healthcare brands are a veritable smorgasbord of tangible and intangible attributes. Manage them effectively and you can create:

  • Value
  • Relevancy
  • Influence
  • Equity

One of the biggest pitfalls I see is when marketers focus solely on a brand’s features. In order to compel audiences to change their behavior or take an action, it’s crucial to crystallize those features into functional benefits, which ladder up to emotional benefits. Only then can you hone in on what the real value of the brand is to customers.

Write the story

The best way to invite audiences to go on a journey with a brand is to involve them in the brand’s story. It starts with proper positioning, which should ensure that there is a compelling emotional end benefit. Proper positioning helps:

  • Distill how the brand will achieve its vision
  • Craft the brand essence

The brand essence is everything you want people to experience, think, and feel about a healthcare brand. It is the heart of all that is created and is used to guide positive visual and emotional connections with the brand.

Down to the nitty-gritty: strategic mapping

This is the point where we consolidate all of the learnings from these and previous exercises. This information helps determine:

  • How we will achieve the vision for the brand
  • The strategic imperatives that are needed to bring that vision to life

I’m often asked what tactics should be included when launching a new healthcare brand. Strategic mapping helps determine what tactics are needed to achieve strategic imperatives that are unique to the brand. In my opinion, too many agencies recommend a one-size-fits-all approach to tactics, which can be a road to failure.

Test, validate, and refine

In a perfect world, there should be multiple rounds of market research. That being said, there are creative ways to get what you need when time or cost is an issue. Ideally, I recommend:

  • Insight mining
  • Positioning and message testing
  • Creative concept testing

Ongoing market research after a brand’s launch is useful to see how well things are going and whether subtle tweaks are needed or the course needs to be adjusted completely. It can also be beneficial at the point when it is time to evolve the creative and the messaging.

Key takeaways

Healthcare brands are a means to enhance a customer’s experience and are not a collection of characteristics and benefits. A brand should create a trust-based, value-driven relationship between a company and its target audience.

What’s the true measure of success? When a healthcare brand becomes a part of the target audience’s life.

Ken is a great deal more than just the president of a medical communications company. He is something of a hybrid. He’s part marketing manager, part creative director, and part copywriter. To the chagrin of his peers—but to the delight of his clients—Ken is a consummate perfectionist. As a former creative director for a high-end consumer agency, he challenged his creative teams to go beyond the mundane to produce work with real creative impact, something he’s just as fervent about today. From producing and directing TV commercials, to launching DTC and Rx-to-OTC switches, Ken brings his clients a world of experience in OTC pharmaceuticals as well as business, lifestyle, and high-end consumer products and services. Whether huddled with clients behind a mirror in a market research center in Houston, facilitating a strategic workshop in Madrid, or developing a global campaign either in the New Jersey or California office, Ken is always fully engaged, bringing “bestness” to all areas of his hectic but full life.