There’s a lovely YouTube video compilation that trended over the holidays, showing dads saving the day. Just as a baby is about to tumble from a sofa, dad prevents the fall. In another segment, a child flies off a wild swing and lands in dad’s arms. In both instances, dads are positioned for preemptive action. Instead of giving instructions to their children, dads simply showed up at the right moment with the appropriate intervention and helped avert disaster.
Most brands today claim to be, or want to be, patient-centric. And yet, time and again, content offered as a proof point of that patient centricity ends up looking like a standard-issue toolkit. Similar content produced many times over by competing brands demonstrates little in the way of patient empathy, support, or centricity.
So can brands learn to emulate dad for better patient engagement?
Observant like dad
Patients are like families. Brands invest considerable time and energy in getting to know them. So what if instead of taking a “more-of-the-same-information” approach, brands demonstrated new action based on their knowledge of patient journeys? What if they showed up at the right time with an appropriate intervention? An authentic response in the moment could be anything; an act, an app, or even an attitude.
Empathetic like dad
As human beings, we learn to read intimate cues within our social units. We learn how to tell when a friend or family member is happy, unhappy, confused, down, or when a situation needs a helping hand. We don’t always ask that person what they’d like from us. We learn to respond creatively in order to help. We suggest seeing a movie together, playing a game, talking about interesting things, or just offer a hug. But we do things that demonstrate empathy, not just provide information on how to feel better. Like dad saving the day, brands must respond with creative action.
Imaginative like dad
What if brands showed up with content that went beyond patients’ basic physiological need? What if brands delivered creative and unique content and ideas that demonstrate empathy and deep emotional insight into their patients? That would make claims of patient centricity genuine and connected more deeply with them. In turn would help brands differentiate and stand out in a cluttered content environment.
So what could that look like?
A few years ago we worked with a breast cancer patient who turned her chemo visits to New York City into a game to get to know the city better. Each time she went for treatment, she paired her visit with something new to do in “this magnificent city.” We thought it would be lovely to offer others a way to live this experience through her eyes, and for a brand to provide that digital content. This way, the brand could respond with fresh, patient-centric, user-generated content. This approach didn’t just focus on informing patients further about their disease, but reflected a deep empathy for them.
It’s time to act
Brands are sitting on a treasure trove of patient knowledge. Like dad, they have an opportunity to act and demonstrate deep empathy. In the example above, the brand invested less in past practices and more in something new that hadn’t been tried yet. By doing this, brands can find ways to be unique in their responses to meeting real patient needs. And by responding creatively in their patient’s moment of need, brands can be like dad who saved the day.