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Healthcare Brands Must Refocus on Quality of Life

Healthcare Brands Must Refocus on Quality of Life

Kelly Lundquist

Kelly Lundquist

November 21, 2019

Havas Media's Kelly Lundquist on how consumers are being affected by and adapting to today’s healthcare landscape and what brands need to do to keep up.

"What does 'quality of life' mean to patients today and what role can brands play?"

The health landscape in the US is defined by dichotomies – on the one hand, more than ever wearables and biometrics enable us to monitor, manage, and detect our health, and yet chronic conditions are affecting record numbers of patients as our population ages. R&D pipelines are filled with new therapies, and yet access, education, and quality of life continue to challenge large patient populations. Digital technologies are disrupting the ways patients and HCPs understand and manage diseases, and yet, patient-physician and peer-to-peer conversations remain the most influential engagement in treatment and adherence decisions.

Amidst these tensions and noise, patients are looking for brands to play a bigger role—in fact, 79% of US patients believe healthcare brands should play a role in improving quality of life and yet, only 51% believe healthcare brands today are doing this. Which begs the question – what does “quality of life” mean to patients today and what role can brands play?

To understand how consumers are being affected by and adapting to today’s healthcare landscape, the 2019 wave of Havas’ Meaningful Brands ® study included over 50 health and personal care brands. The results bring these macro-industry trends to life, adding color to the tensions that consumers are feeling and facing and importantly, chart a path for healthcare brands to build more meaningful connections with the patients & physicians they ultimately serve.

An Opportunity for Brands to Be More Meaningful

In order to assess meaningfulness,  Meaningful Brands® calculates a Meaningful Brand Index for each brand included in the study. This metric quantifies a brand’s level of trust, relevance, and credibility among consumers familiar with a brand. The 2019 study reveals that only 4 of the health brands surveyed have strong, meaningful relationships with consumers, while most health brands fall within the average range.

These results also indicate that paid media budgets do not necessarily correlate with meaningful relationships. When looking at some of the pharma industry’s biggest spenders in the Immunology and Diabetes categories, the study shows that many of the industry’s largest spenders received average to weak Meaningful Brand Indexes.

Expecting More than Function

While consumers expect health brands to create products that work, 64% of what makes brands meaningful to them actually comes from the personal and collective benefits they deliver. These are beliefs like: gives me peace of mind; makes my life easier; helps me find satisfaction in life; is ethical and transparent, and is socially committed.

All of this shines light onto what defines “quality of life” for patients today—in addition to product quality, value, safety, and symptom relief, patients are evaluating brands by how they make them, and society, feel.

"The feeling of inspiration remains a white space opportunity in the health category that few brands have managed to tap."

Inspire to Engage

This expectation places a tremendous task and responsibility in the hands of health brands today. How can health brands communicate their commitments to improve patients’ quality of life in ways that are meaningful, relevant, and authentic?

Meaningful Brands ® confirms the importance of branded content—there is a strong correlation between effective content and building brand perceptions on Personal Benefits. Or as my colleague Kim Abend, SVP Group Client Leader at Havas Media, puts it: “Content is a way for brands to show consumers their commitments and intentions and has the ability to go beyond approved taglines and labels. In order for content to be effective, it’s not just being in the right piece at the right time but connecting the consumer with their end goal while providing and aligning with meaningful content along the way.”

Moreover, results found that while consumers expect health brands to help them in their daily lives and educate them about conditions and treatments, the feeling of inspiration remains a white space opportunity in the health category that few brands have managed to tap.

“I think this is the ultimate challenge—and jackpot—for health brands today. What solutions can your therapy bring to patients that help them address how a condition impacts their life and empowers them to see their future potential?” says Rich Gagnon, Head of the Health Media Practice at Havas Media.

Foster Relationships with and through HCPs

Marketers must also be mindful of the “quality of life” dichotomy that exists between patient and treater, and the physician’s role in delivering meaningful brand experiences to patients. Paulette Mccarron, SVP Group Client Leader for HCP at Havas Media explains further, “The healthcare professional is foundational for the brand experience to be optimized for the patient. Keeping HCPs fully apprised of the promotional efforts to their patients is key, as is building a meaningful brand relationship for them as well. The best care outcomes are seen when these two critical parts of the healthcare continuum are connected in conversation.”

What this means for healthcare marketers

  • Healthcare brands need to clearly communicate how they improve quality of life to build more meaningful relationships with patients today
  • Quality of life goes beyond functional product claims, and is better communicated through the personal and societal benefits a brand delivers
  • Healthcare brands that can be more creative and agile in their content development & consumer engagements will have the most success in building more meaningful relationships with patients today
  • Brands must consider the full range of ways to deliver more meaningful quality of life benefits to patients at the right moments in their decision journey
  • Measuring brand performance must be multi-dimensional, considering both business impact and quality of life patient outcomes

"What does 'quality of life' mean to patients today and what role can brands play?"

The health landscape in the US is defined by dichotomies – on the one hand, more than ever wearables and biometrics enable us to monitor, manage, and detect our health, and yet chronic conditions are affecting record numbers of patients as our population ages. R&D pipelines are filled with new therapies, and yet access, education, and quality of life continue to challenge large patient populations. Digital technologies are disrupting the ways patients and HCPs understand and manage diseases, and yet, patient-physician and peer-to-peer conversations remain the most influential engagement in treatment and adherence decisions.

Amidst these tensions and noise, patients are looking for brands to play a bigger role—in fact, 79% of US patients believe healthcare brands should play a role in improving quality of life and yet, only 51% believe healthcare brands today are doing this. Which begs the question – what does “quality of life” mean to patients today and what role can brands play?

To understand how consumers are being affected by and adapting to today’s healthcare landscape, the 2019 wave of Havas’ Meaningful Brands ® study included over 50 health and personal care brands. The results bring these macro-industry trends to life, adding color to the tensions that consumers are feeling and facing and importantly, chart a path for healthcare brands to build more meaningful connections with the patients & physicians they ultimately serve.

An Opportunity for Brands to Be More Meaningful

In order to assess meaningfulness,  Meaningful Brands® calculates a Meaningful Brand Index for each brand included in the study. This metric quantifies a brand’s level of trust, relevance, and credibility among consumers familiar with a brand. The 2019 study reveals that only 4 of the health brands surveyed have strong, meaningful relationships with consumers, while most health brands fall within the average range.

These results also indicate that paid media budgets do not necessarily correlate with meaningful relationships. When looking at some of the pharma industry’s biggest spenders in the Immunology and Diabetes categories, the study shows that many of the industry’s largest spenders received average to weak Meaningful Brand Indexes.

Expecting More than Function

While consumers expect health brands to create products that work, 64% of what makes brands meaningful to them actually comes from the personal and collective benefits they deliver. These are beliefs like: gives me peace of mind; makes my life easier; helps me find satisfaction in life; is ethical and transparent, and is socially committed.

All of this shines light onto what defines “quality of life” for patients today—in addition to product quality, value, safety, and symptom relief, patients are evaluating brands by how they make them, and society, feel.

"The feeling of inspiration remains a white space opportunity in the health category that few brands have managed to tap."

Inspire to Engage

This expectation places a tremendous task and responsibility in the hands of health brands today. How can health brands communicate their commitments to improve patients’ quality of life in ways that are meaningful, relevant, and authentic?

Meaningful Brands ® confirms the importance of branded content—there is a strong correlation between effective content and building brand perceptions on Personal Benefits. Or as my colleague Kim Abend, SVP Group Client Leader at Havas Media, puts it: “Content is a way for brands to show consumers their commitments and intentions and has the ability to go beyond approved taglines and labels. In order for content to be effective, it’s not just being in the right piece at the right time but connecting the consumer with their end goal while providing and aligning with meaningful content along the way.”

Moreover, results found that while consumers expect health brands to help them in their daily lives and educate them about conditions and treatments, the feeling of inspiration remains a white space opportunity in the health category that few brands have managed to tap.

“I think this is the ultimate challenge—and jackpot—for health brands today. What solutions can your therapy bring to patients that help them address how a condition impacts their life and empowers them to see their future potential?” says Rich Gagnon, Head of the Health Media Practice at Havas Media.

Foster Relationships with and through HCPs

Marketers must also be mindful of the “quality of life” dichotomy that exists between patient and treater, and the physician’s role in delivering meaningful brand experiences to patients. Paulette Mccarron, SVP Group Client Leader for HCP at Havas Media explains further, “The healthcare professional is foundational for the brand experience to be optimized for the patient. Keeping HCPs fully apprised of the promotional efforts to their patients is key, as is building a meaningful brand relationship for them as well. The best care outcomes are seen when these two critical parts of the healthcare continuum are connected in conversation.”

What this means for healthcare marketers

  • Healthcare brands need to clearly communicate how they improve quality of life to build more meaningful relationships with patients today
  • Quality of life goes beyond functional product claims, and is better communicated through the personal and societal benefits a brand delivers
  • Healthcare brands that can be more creative and agile in their content development & consumer engagements will have the most success in building more meaningful relationships with patients today
  • Brands must consider the full range of ways to deliver more meaningful quality of life benefits to patients at the right moments in their decision journey
  • Measuring brand performance must be multi-dimensional, considering both business impact and quality of life patient outcomes

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