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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Monday, February 24 2014 05:05 PM | Comments (0)
    R. John Fidelino

    The Life Science Brand Reputation & Communications Conference was held last week in Atlanta, Georgia with attendees from a host of healthcare companies including AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare and UCB Inc. InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director R. John Fidelino addressed the crowd on the role of corporate brand for communications professionals.

    A corporate brand is traditionally the most under leveraged business asset within the health and life sciences industry. When used strategically, the corporate brand in healthcare has the power to drive economic value for the company, create demand and build loyalty for a business. Historically, the corporate brand has been relegated to corporate communications and investor relations. 

    As we see the health industry transform, a strong corporate brand is a key tool for communications professionals. Using the corporate brand thoughtfully and consistently on products, services, and initiatives that matter can bolster your business's reputation and add value to your relationships with your consumers, investors, and employees.

    Fundamentally, brands can influence how people understand their world, and healthcare brands can shape people’s perceptions about disease, treatment, and even themselves. If your corporate identity is well-defined, then it can be the lens by which you innovate and also make business decisions.

    Communications strategists can reap four key benefits from honing in on the corporate brand:

    1. Defining your company’s distinct point of view is critical. Once you do, you and others within the company will have clarity around what matters most at your company and that will ensure coordinated and consistent messaging across your business.

    2. As mentioned previously, corporate brands often get “stuck” at corporate communications and investor relations. To grow influence, corporate brands need to be built around commercial dynamics and needs. The more aware you are of what is needed for commercial success, the more credibility you will have in mandating the use of the corporate brand across the business in a prominent way.

    3. You should be proud of your corporate social responsibility activities. They can boost corporate reputation, marketplace perception, and give employees something to be proud of. The equity and good will you build around the company as a result of your CSR activities can benefit your product brands. Getting credit for the good that you do also helps further your cause as it raises more awareness about why you invested in the first place.

    4. Your corporate brand can help you can connect to specialty customer groups in new and meaningful ways that product brands cannot. The corporate brand can aggregate products in your portfolio that share the same mission, therapeutic focus or technology. In this way the corporate brand can help support commercial objectives at the product level.

    R. John closed the presentation with best practices from some well-known healthcare brands, and gave attendees a few things to consider: everything counts, carry the torch, be proactive, and give them proof.

    All communications, relationships, and interactions make up your brand experience. Using corporate brand as a unifying force has an impact on every aspect of your business and, ultimately, on your company’s bottom line. By carrying the torch for the corporate brand across the organization, you’ll ensure clarity and consistency through all departments and business units, from research and development to human resources. 

    The best brands give their employees a reason to get up in the morning. They make sure that the people who work for them know what they are doing and why. They give them something to believe in and empower them with the tools to make things happen. 

    Lastly, you should create proof points for communications activities around the corporate brand and establish the metrics needed to demonstrate value. For a brand to be strong and meaningful, it must be embedded into every level of your business and measured.

    The Life Science Brand Reputation and Communications Conference, in addition to branding, covered topics such as optimizing social media, managing communications during mergers and acquisitions, and developing the role of patient advocacy relations.

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  • Posted by: Orna Navon on Wednesday, February 12 2014 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

    Orna NavonStock photography can be incredibly frustrating at times for designers. The image we formulate in our minds is rarely what we get when conducting a search. We may want a woman of a certain age, involved in a certain activity, or within a specific environment. 

    We’re ultimately looking for something that is on brand, nicely styled and relevant. What we often get is a reflection of how things have always been, not a projection of where they are going, and the images associated with a brand can play a pivotal role in the messages we convey.

    This is particularly true in health marketing where we almost always see traditional gender roles at play. When an image depicts a child and a caregiver, it’s usually the mom we see dolling out a bandage or medication. The female nurse takes our temperature, but the male doctor performs our surgery. As a designer, these image options are challenging to work with. Rarely do they satisfy our vision of our client’s brand, and they don’t always connect in a real, authentic way.

    Sheryl Sandberg has some ideas about how to give us an alternative.

    After shaking things up with her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Sandberg built a brand out of it with her website, blogs, and strong social media presence. Her recent collaboration with Getty Images is just another step towards changing perceptions about women and how we portray them in marketing and advertising. It’s an attempt, and a good one at that, to help designers and clients break away from these dated misconceptions and do something fresh and forward thinking with their brands’ visual identities.

    Brands that connect authentically with customers tend to be very successful, and image plays a large role in that relationship. When we take in something visual we have an emotional reaction prior to an intellectual one. That power to affect with image puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of designers and communicators. Having a more modern, pioneering gallery of stock photography elevates the role of design in marketing and branding and gives us more effective ways to communicate.

    If a brand truly has a long-term vision, it needs to stay one step ahead in its consumer interactions. At InterbrandHealth we believe that brands that have that foresight and take ownership of visual messaging have the power to inspire, to change perceptions, and to truly change the world.

    Orna Navon is the Associate Creative Director for InterbrandHealth.

    Connect with InterbrandHealth, the only full-service global branding consultancy with an exclusive focus on healthcare.

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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Wednesday, February 5 2014 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

    In a dramatic move today, CVS/Caremark announced that by October 1, its stores will no longer sell cigarettes or tobacco products. (The company has not made formal decision regarding e-cigarettes, but does not currently carry them.) CVS noted that the change could cost them $2 billion in sales, but that it is well worth it to avoid aligning their brand with the chronic illnesses that are a result of smoking and second-hand inhalation. The decision is sure to delight anti-smoking advocates, parents and health practitioners, but will it alienate customers who smoke?

    Maybe. But CVS has made the tough call that it can no longer supply a product that is demonstratively damaging to people's health. Embracing "health" as a crucial element of its identity, may help CVS position itself for the future and pave the way for other brands. It will be interesting to see if other "healthy" retailers follow suit. This change may also help CVS grow with the changing healthcare marketplace.

    Post by CVS.

    With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the US this year, healthcare providers anticipate a huge influx of patients, many of whom may not have had insurance in the past. Small walk-in facilities expect to accommodate many of these new patients. CVS currently hosts 800 MinuteClinics that cater to this very dynamic.

    And the company plans to add 700 more by 2017. The New York Times reported that CVS Chief Executive Larry J. Merlo wanted to correct the cognitive dissonance between selling cigarettes and providing health, but that the decision also allows them to position the company for future expansion and growth.

    It's a strong demonstration by CVS of the authenticity that we think should go into business goals and then be adapted strategically for brand development. Despite the $2 billion hit, CVS may find its revenues increase based on this decision, which reflects not only CVS's core values, but our culture's own changing behaviors. The decline of smoking overall, ubiquitous government bans and growing popularity of e-cigarettes, all point to a shift in our own thinking about smoking and its role in our lives. 

    By marrying business strategy with brand strategy, InterbrandHealth believes CVS is well on its way to being both an industry trailblazer and company to watch in the new world of health.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Tuesday, February 4 2014 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

    Health TechNew developments in health tech and smartphone apps are giving patients more power than ever in the palms of their hands, allowing them to do everything from book appointments and keep in touch with physicians to track medication in their bodies and even produce personal EKGs.

    At InterbrandHealth, we consult with healthcare companies on how to best position and shape their brands to drive loyalty, perception, and premium. Successful brands recognize that brand experience strengthens a customer’s emotional relationship to their product. What better way to integrate your brand into consumers’ lives than with relevant smartphone tools? A consumer doesn’t need to have a serious condition to find these exciting and innovative apps pertinent to their lives.

    For example, Quest Diagnostics has three apps: one for scheduling, one for physicians, and one where patients can track their own health information. GE Healthymagination’s platform has nine apps and growing, ranging from weight loss and fitness tools to pregnancy and sleep monitoring programs. They even offer a game called Patient Shuffle, which tests the user’s ability to run a hospital. The health craze is extending to consumer brands as well; Nike has been pioneering life data devices like FuelBand for a few years now, and Under Armour just made headlines with its purchase of the exercise app MapMyFitness.

    While these programs can be entertaining and useful resources, could the technology ultimately be lifesaving? Physicians are now regularly using apps like Epocrates, a meticulous drug reference system; Isabel, a symptom synthesizer that offers possible causations; and AliveCor, a portable heart monitor that can produce EKGs. There are also apps to see how clean a hospital is, to turn your phone into an otoscope (a device that examines the ear), and to view x-rays and MRIs on your phone anywhere in the world.

    More apps are coming down the pike—some are even being produced via crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, truly demonstrating the public demand for health and wellness apps and information. A new program called Skulpt Aim measures fat percentages and muscle quality for better fitness. Chronic Wellness Tracker helps people with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions tract symptoms and progress over time. Healthcare companies are even working on developing an ingestible GPS sensor, which can be swallowed with medication and relay information to your smartphone about your intake schedule and how the drug is affecting your body.

    As the healthcare industry continues to develop corporate and product branded apps, questions will be raised about the efficacy and efficiency of these technologies. Some may see the one-size-fits-all model as problematic, especially if consumers begin to diagnose themselves incorrectly. But most will see them as helpful, if not essential, to healthy living. As technological improvements are made, strong healthcare brands can recognize and harness the power these tools have in shaping brand experience for their consumers and in increasing loyalty, perception, and marketplace share. Future customers may just be a download away.

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth.

    Connect with InterbrandHealth, the only full-service global branding consultancy with an exclusive focus on healthcare.

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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Tuesday, January 28 2014 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

    Google contact lensesGoogle is the latest powerhouse consumer brand to dip its very large toe in the healthcare pool, specifically in the medtech space. And they’ve created a great deal of buzz, even though many of us are still coming down off our CES-high, where we saw gadgets and gizmos galore that could monitor our muscle quality, track a baby’s sleep patterns, and even tell us when to put on more sunscreen. 

    In the wake of all that tech-citement, sometimes we forget just how impactful these advancements are. Brands have the power to change lives in extraordinary ways, and nowhere is that more true than in healthcare where innovation can not only transform lives, but save them. 

    Google’s latest device may very well do just that. The pioneers at Google X Lab are developing a contact lens with biosensors that would monitor glucose levels for people with diabetes. This would be a life-altering piece of technology for those dealing with this condition. They would no longer need to subject themselves to daily needle pricks to test their glucose levels, and, if Google X Lab has its way, the contact lens will also alert them when their insulin levels hit the danger zone. 

    We were excited to hear about the launch of Google’s aging-research company Calico this past fall and can’t wait to see where Google goes next in the healthcare space. It’s another example of consumer brands shifting into the healthcare world- a movement we’re now seeing on a daily basis and experiencing in our own lives with the Affordable Care Act, uprising of wearable health tech, and more. 

    All healthcare companies can have a place in this shifting ecosystem should they choose to. Medtech devices may not be on brand for your company, but there are still many ways to drive your team towards innovation. 

    However, just because you’re a great technology brand, it doesn’t mean that entering the serious healthcare space will be without its pitfalls. It’s a challenging market with an array of stakeholders and dubious consumers. Google, which consistently ranks as one of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, has shown great versatility in navigating an array of categories and customer groups. 

    But not every technology or engineering-based company has the depth of experience to navigate across new and different segments seamlessly. And more importantly, what makes a strong technology brand may not translate into making a strong health technology brand. 

    You'll be introducing your product to new and unique audiences and the criteria for success will be altered. You'll be competing against a group of brands already established in the category, and you’ll be expected to maintain your brand's standard against this new competitive set. 

    A Brand Strength analysis can help you meet these challenges. Brand Strength is one of the three core elements that informs Interbrand’s Best Global Brands annual ranking. InterbrandHealth has used Brand Strength to help a number of companies identify brand characteristics that should be retained, adapted, or strengthened to meet the unique needs and, often, skeptical reception of the healthcare audience. 

    Brand Strength will provide you with the tools you need to understand your brand as it relates to healthcare consumers and to the healthcare market at large and how to successfully navigate it. Once you have a solid blueprint for entering the healthcare space, the next revolutionary, life-changing product could be yours.

    Connect with InterbrandHealth, the only full-service global branding consultancy with an exclusive focus on healthcare.

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