Like the clients we serve, most people on the front lines of a healthcare advertising agency have a true passion for helping others. And many of us, as healthcare consumers ourselves, are passionate about living with the best health possible. There are so many great stories embedded in these experiences. So why is it that healthcare marketing often relies so heavily on clinical and corporate jargon, while completely ignoring the positive, emotional connections that people associate with the idea of “care”?
Many clients today are focused on telling their story through outcomes, hospital readmissions and abstract concepts like the Triple Aim, when there is much more to the story of quality healthcare. That’s where a good healthcare advertising agency comes in–to push customers further, and make their stories more compelling. At Activate Health, we have an in-depth understanding of these concepts, but that’s just our starting point. Some of our best work has come about when we can transform our client’s value proposition into a personal, meaningful story for their audience.
We all know that effective marketing isn’t just about speaking, it’s about listening. In this case, we should be listening to the people who are impacted by efforts like the Triple Aim of healthcare reform—right at the front lines of care. These individuals aren’t talking about outcomes and hospital readmissions. They are focused on the things that matter outside the four walls of a hospital, or in the “white space” between doctor’s visits.
Quality healthcare helps us spend more time with the people, places and things we love. It’s not just about reducing hospital admissions to better manage costs. Patients don’t want to be in the hospital. They want to be at home, living a fulfilling life. Or traveling around the globe, enjoying new experiences. There is a lot natural synergy between what the healthcare industry wants to achieve and what we all want as individuals. But for some reason there is still a disconnect with regard to this issue and one that you’ll see in most marketing and advertising efforts. Instead of focusing on these real-life, emotional needs, a hospital focuses on its expanded ER, or how many beds it has or it’s state-of-the-art imaging equipment. It uses words like “multidisciplinary care” which doesn’t mean a whole lot to patients. Maybe that’s because words like care, health and wellness are so over-used today that they seemed to have lost their inherent meaning. However, there is a different path to get at this same meaning, while still telling a compelling, simple and elegant story. That’s where your partner (and it should be a true partnership) with a strong healthcare advertising agency comes in.
A successful healthcare advertising agency and client relationship is critical to begin making those connections. Only then can we arrive at meaningful messages that explain why your organization matters. Because whether we’re speaking to physicians, consumers or other healthcare entities—we’re talking to people with the same basic needs and wants. Security, happiness, prosperity, and love. What’s not to like about a story that captures all of those aspects of living?
Maybe this disconnect is why the negativity about the healthcare industry tends to outweigh the positive right now. And maybe, just maybe, the people who devote their careers to serving others deserve to get a little credit for what’s right about healthcare. We all have positive feelings about the neonatal nurse who spends her nights caring for the littlest patients. But what about the hospital administrator who makes sure that she can do her job effectively?
One company taking these positives and turning it into an interesting, emotional and thought provoking campaign is Dignity Health. With the introduction of its “Hello human kindness” campaign, Dignity (one of the nation’s largest health systems) turned traditional healthcare marketing on its head. The company acknowledged the issues people have with healthcare, and it spoke about these challenges in an authentic, thought-provoking way. And it encouraged the idea that it was time for a change. And of course, Dignity did this in partnership with a leading healthcare advertising agency, one that understood that healthcare marketing is still just consumer marketing with a bit more heart. That’s the essence of truly successful hospital and health system advertising and communications.
People may argue about high healthcare costs, long physician wait times and benefit plan restrictions—but we all tend to agree that a world without healthcare would be unthinkable. All of us interact with the healthcare system at some point in our lives. Whether it’s related to birth, death, sickness, prevention, recovery or healing.
If you’re in the business of healthcare, whether you’re a nurse working at a hospital or a creative director at a healthcare advertising agency, you are either directly or indirectly saving lives. That’s a pretty amazing story to tell. That’s why we love what we do, and the heart of why we’re in this business.
What’s your story and how can we help you tell it in a unique, interesting and compelling way?