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Chasing Cool in Healthcare: When the Industry Embraces It, Consumers Will Too

Posted by: Nicole Diamant on June 30, 2014

If Virgin were in the healthcare space

From digestible colon cameras to bionic hands to 3D printed organs, the healthcare industry is exploding with scientific discovery, technological achievement, and impossible visions made possible. And yet, when we look at the majority of the creative work done for the healthcare sector, it rarely captures the sense of excitement that often accompanies these cutting-edge developments. The way the industry communicates and represents itself visually is often safe, cliché, or just tries too hard to win us over. Are opportunities being missed?  

“Cool” may not be the first word that comes to mind when most people think of healthcare, but, in such an innovative field, cool things do, in fact, happen. Maybe it’s time for the sector’s creative work to reflect that.     

At the inaugural Lions Health festival at Cannes, InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director, R. John Fidelino, explored this cognitive dissonance in his talk “Chasing Cool in Healthcare.” In his provocative presentation, R. John tackled the concept of cool, the current language of healthcare, and how communications and creative professionals can shift their thinking and elevate the groundbreaking work being done in this field.     

Should healthcare be cool? If so, how can we push the boundaries to more effectively communicate with consumers in this increasingly patient-centric world? The inherent nature of something deemed cool is the effortlessness of it. Cool things, people, and places inspire us and make us want to be associated with them. When we think about healthcare, we need to ask ourselves, are we achieving this same thing with our brands? Do we strive to hit the three qualities that characterize cool: meaningful, authentic, and immersive?    

And is cool even appropriate for healthcare? It may be that we are uncomfortable with “cool” in healthcare—it may trivialize the seriousness of disease and sickness. While the category does demand a high level of respect, we do it a disservice by not recognizing and promoting innovative work and exciting breakthroughs. Are we diving deep enough and helping people understand all aspects of our category? 

Great consumer brands craft relationships with people—through websites, apps, social media, in-store experiences, and more. In healthcare, are we creating that same 360-degree experience? We need to start thinking about how words and images create full and complete worlds for consumers. That is what makes a great brand. What if Virgin ran a hospital? What if Apple sold pharmaceuticals? What if Nike made medical devices? Consumer brands are already dabbling in the healthcare space. Imagining the future of healthcare and the types of brands that may eventually play in this space can be inspiring and eye-opening.

Healthcare enriches life, even saves life. What could be cooler than that? We need to stop being bashful about the category. We need to recognize all the great things happening in our industry, celebrate them, and help people appreciate the wonders of this rapidly evolving field. When we acknowledge how amazing our category really is, we won’t have to chase cool—we’ll naturally embrace it. And others will too.     

Here are a few questions to help us assess our brands' cool factor:   

  • Are we crafting brands that are authentic, meaningful, and immersive?
  • Are we creating 360-degree experiences for consumers?
  • Are we properly communicating the awesomeness of our category?
  • Are we thinking outside of healthcare and appropriately adopting the best practices of great consumer brands?  

Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter: @NicoleDiamant

For more information on the Chasing Cool presentation, please contact InterbrandHealth. A video clip can be seen here.   

 





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