With healthcare innovation accelerating and diversifying every day, more healthcare brand owners and product marketers are asking a crucial question: What makes building a brand for a technology different from creating one for a biopharm product, an OTC therapy, or other health products?
A client of ours once asked a room of brand owners what the answer could be. Why did medical technology marketers like them face a different set of challenges from other healthcare brands?
Having launched a few technologies ourselves, we knew medical devices like his had a unique set of brand priorities and needed a different kind of strategic marketing approach. So we asked him what his theory was:
His answer: “No one asks how to use a pill.”
A therapy in a device, in an interface, in a code
Our client knew what many healthcare marketers have come to realize. A new generation of technologies — from medical devices, to digital diagnostics, to specialized telehealth platforms, to apps and wearables — has created complex new challenges for brands, their owners, and their agency partners.
His insight was simple but powerful. An innovative pharmaceutical product may contain an astoundingly intricate molecular structure, biochemically designed to modify cellular signaling pathways — and be as easy as one pill, once a day. Creating a technology brand requires marketers to connect a completely different set of dimensions: from design and experience, to medical science and computer science, human factors engineering, UX, and ultimately, human wellness.
Few other products link that many layers of complexity, and healthcare marketers face the challenge of integrating them all into compelling brands. Brands with their own unique complexity: their users’ expectations.
The intuitiveness paradox
In a little more than a decade, technology has reshaped the way we live. We use it in countless ways, every day. It’s an integral part of the most essential daily activities: we talk with it, create with it, connect to our friends and family with it. It brings everything to our fingertips: from directions, to instructions, to affection. And increasingly, it plays a critical role in our health: from microprocessor-enabled prosthetics, to HIPAA-compliant voice search, to virtual reality pain management, and advanced intraocular implants.
Just as disruptively, technology hasn’t just made these activities simpler; it has often made the solutions next to effortless. Today it seems like there’s no service or solution that can’t be delivered with an elegantly frictionless interface. No problem that can’t be solved with one click on “Enter >”. A few taps, and voila: an expert car mechanic with flawless reviews and a mouthwatering pasta amatriciana with pasture-raised guanciale. Seamless intuitiveness is today’s baseline user expectation.
The technologies of health face unite complexities unlike any other healthcare product or service brands. These innovations — and their brands — are the intersection of life science, computer science, user experience, clinical application, and human health.
That poses a new kind of challenge for healthcare technologies. In this unique field, medical innovation and user expectations are moving in opposite directions. Increasingly complex health and medical challenges are demanding ever more sophisticated integration of medical science, big data, biology, physiology, economics, and communication.
Meanwhile, technology users expect solutions with a tap. Increasingly, the same experiences — the same seamless intuitiveness — we expect from our iPhone, Nest, Alexa are the ones professionals and patients expect from technologies designed to address body-altering injuries, lifelong therapeutic needs, and the infrastructure needs of healthcare enterprises.
And that, for the marketers behind these technologies, is the paradox that a pill never had to solve.
Healthcare marketing for technology: Distilling complexity to clarity
So what’s the solution for healthcare marketers working with today’s innovative medical devices, diagnostics, and digital platforms? What defines a brand that successfully integrates medical science, clinical application, product design, user experience, and patient needs — and unifies them in an unforgettable story?
We believe the answer is simple: simplicity.
Sounds simple, of course.
But as brilliant minds have observed, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Achieving it requires strategic thinking, inspired creativity, and disciplined communication. And that’s what you’ll find at Distill Health.
We’re an independent team of healthcare marketing veterans who are fascinated by the technologies of healthcare: by the many ways they support human health, and by the way they connect so many different physical, biological, and digital dimensions of our lives. Technology is creating a new future for healthcare, and we’re excited to be part of it — and to help our clients create compelling, human-centric stories for the brands that will shape that future.
The Distill Health Approach
How do we create those stories? We use a unique, systematized approach optimized for the technologies of health: one we call the Science of Simplicity. It’s a continuous, collaborative process designed to help our clients navigate the unique complexity of developing a brand for a healthcare technology, to align those complexities with a strong and focused strategy, and distill them into a simple, intuitive, human brand story — one that can be told across channels, scale with evolving technology, and start captivating conversations.
Bring us the unique complexities of your healthcare technology — your innovative engineering, breakthrough designs, life-changing clinical application, and your passion for improving peoples’ health. We’ll help you unite them all in a brand, a strategy, and a story that spark instant, lasting connections with your technology.
It’s as simple as that.
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