Relationships Need To Adapt, Too

  • by June 5, 2015

We live in a multifaceted and complex time for healthcare. It seems like more people are getting ill with chronic and terminal conditions, and there are more challenges to getting the proper care. So the need for creating healthcare communications and experiences that respond to these challenges has gotten more complicated as well. 

Countering the complexity dilemma 

Our industry has been stuck with creating ways to drive brand relevance instead of thinking about the best ways to engage with our customers. It’s critical to understand their struggles and challenges and think about solutions that will connect with the visceral reality in which they live. 

Individual truths have a way of becoming universal ones. The more people you speak with, the more you realize that their situations are often similar. Far from almighty or defiant, patients are often scared, vulnerable, and in need of support and care. And they need a very special creative kind of engagement that gets to the heart of their matter. If you push to do what’s right for the end user, you’ll also drive brand relevance, brand engagement, and brand loyalty, ultimately building relationships.



We live in a customer-centric world, not a brand-centric one. (This has been the fact in packaged-goods advertising for over 10 years, yet healthcare is just adopting this mind-set.) These customer relationships follow the same journey that human relationships do, with trust and bonds built over time. If you support the relationship and continue to care for and nurture it over the long haul, you’ll create loyalty. By mimicking the patterns of human relationships, we can crack the code in relationships with brands, especially in healthcare brands, where relationships can suddenly become more crucial than ever.

Creative that engages

When we create communications and/or products to drive engagement, we need to apply these same principles. Ideas must come out of insights and fill basic human needs. They must be authentic and speak to these needs in a way that not only strikes a chord but also drives an action, the kind of action that ignites a relationship with a brand, a disease education platform, or a product. If it’s done well and is omnichannel so our customer can engage with it, we will have begun the relationship, and started building a bond for the long haul.

Driving eye exams with a powerful omnichannel experience 

One recent example of driving action and building relationships was an educational platform called Diabetes Sight Risk.

The idea of the campaign is based on the fact that many patients with diabetes tend to focus on their weight or other issues, and ignore the very real threat diabetes poses to their vision. In fact, around 45% of patients with diabetes will have diabetic eye disease, which shows no symptoms at first but can lead to vision loss or even blindness. The idea here was to drive the patient to the eye doctor before this vision loss snuck up on them. Rather than depicting vision-impaired patients in the visual, this campaign instead personified the disease to create an educational experience that is both friendly and urgent. 

Education drives awareness, which drives new mind-sets

The more we educate our audiences, the more their mind-set will both adapt to the new information and change. Relationships evolve over time, and this holds true here as well. We need to adapt our ideas to engage with customers in ways that suggest that we hear them, we understand them, and above all, we are committed to them.

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