Creative And Medical Science Communications: An Unexpected Pair

Historically, there has been a noticeable divide in the kind of work we do for healthcare professionals (HCPs). It’s either highly creative with compelling concepts that are translated into arresting visuals that inspire emotion. Or it’s largely scientific with text-heavy content and data-focused visuals that lack much, if any inspiration. Can there really be a happy marriage between medical science communications and creative?

Creative has an essential role in medical science communications — to elevate the appeal of the deliverables so they make strong connections with our target audiences, and move them to action.

As you build physician-targeted communications for your clients, here is a blueprint for ensuring they are based on a scientific foundation, while leveraging creative best practices to create powerful and engaging finished pieces.

Customer Insights: Knowing your audience is the first step to success. Understanding key insights about who they are and what motivates them will help you appeal to their rational and their emotional sides. For example, we learned that orthopedic surgeons are “fixers”; they like to put things that are broken back together. In an advisory board setting, getting a group to physically assemble pieces of a scientific platform could appeal to their innate fascination with the process of construction. 



Communication Objectives: Does your physician core slide deck or that advisory board that you’re preparing for in a few months have a creative brief? It should. Every project needs a brief that defines the communication objectives and how you’re going to accomplish them. Whether the communication objective is to unveil compelling new data or to create a sense of urgency around a certain condition, make sure everyone on the team understands what you want the recipients or attendees to think and feel after the communication. Then ask whether every component of a program, from an invitation to a single slide, is helping to achieve that communication objective.

Collaboration: Creative writers and art directors should work with medical scientists throughout the entire process, as they all bring different and important perspectives to the table. Despite data-focused communications, creative team members are not just PowerPoint designers; they can bring a new vision for the delivery of a message and elevate the visual appeal of a piece. At the same time, medical science experts are more than fact checkers; they must ensure the key messages are coming through loud and clear. Let your medical experts uncover surprising opportunities for scientific differentiation, and encourage them to partner with the creative team to present those complex discoveries in visually simple yet powerful ways. 

Creative Storytelling: Every good communication piece should have a captivating beginning, intriguing middle, and powerful end. A slide deck is no different. Start with a surprising statistic. Include compelling trial data that builds the unique case for your product. Then use compelling visuals and ask some thought-provoking audience response polling questions throughout to get physicians challenging the status quo. Tell a good story from start to finish.

Compelling Visuals: Don’t miss opportunities to create beautiful data. Clinical data, MOA/MOD graphics and informative statistics can all be displayed in attention-grabbing ways. Instead of a flat chemical structure, include a 3-D molecule that rotates. Rather than a static line chart, have the data populate in a dynamic way. Always tie back to the concept and ladder up to the key takeaway, making sure key points don’t get lost.

When developing materials for physicians, there’s an essential role for creativity. Medical science communications can and should be creative, too. These five C’s are good reminders of the most important steps along the path towards the creation of brand-building, market-defining materials that not only deliver important, credible data, but also appeal to the emotions of your customers to motivate them to take action.

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