Last week I had the honor of participating in the second “Pioneers in Digital Health” meeting — a thought provoking event put together by Chandler Chicco’s Ritesh Patel and his colleagues. (Morning and afternoon recaps are available on CCC’s blog, Vital Signs.)
Unlike most health-focused conferences, Ritesh and his team made a point of bringing in a number speakers who provided perspectives that were not specifically related to health. The intent was to inspire the audience to look at health communications differently — and to bring thinking from other industries into the healthcare space. And it worked. As the day unfolded, a recurring theme was that, whether professionals or patients, people demand content they find compelling and captivating and that healthcare communications don’t have to be stiff and formal.
This point took hold from the very beginning. To kick off the day, Pranav Yadav of Neuro Insight provided a glimpse of tools that measure brain waves to identify what messages and images resonate with the audience. Pranav gave an example of how by understanding consumer reactions to content, he and his team were able to help improve an advertisement to drive a positive consumer experience. While much research goes into the creation of healthcare advertising and promotional materials, I feel that too often the materials miss the mark. They are either too polished or too formal or too much of a sales “push” lacking in subtlety or sophistication.
Yadav’s presentation reminded me — and hopefully others in the room — that in today’s multichannel digital environment we aren’t just competing with market competitors for the attention of our target audiences. The battle for eyeballs and actions is also being waged against an army of creators that includes other consumers who are creating content and experiences that delight and invite engagement.
Today’s digital tools empower people to redefine their relationships with others — including established institutions like manufacturers, governments and academic institutions — on their own terms. Companies and brands need to not only understand these new rules of engagement, but also to recognize what elements will entice customers to view, read and, hopefully, spread word of company-created content with their networks. In health, as in other industries, content needs to be compelling, useful, entertaining and, perhaps most of all, “human” in tone and approach. Just because it is about health, doesn’t mean the content has to be bland.
As the day came to a close, Ritesh underscored this point, showing a video that caused a chorus of laughter in the room — a recap of a clever campaign Bayer had created in the UK to raise awareness of ED. Funny stuff, but a great example of how the healthcare industry CAN create content that not only informs but entertains — all while achieving the goals of the business.