The lifestyle branding imperative in healthcare
Healthcare companies, such as insurance providers and hospital networks, are missing an important opportunity to make a more authentic connection with customers. Typically, people only think of health when they have to such as when they are sick. Talk about negative association.
So, how can you move from a place of sickness to a destination for health? CVS made the news when it announced that it would cease to sell cigarettes and tobacco products because it does not align with the core purpose of CVS. The move will cause an estimated loss of $2 billion in revenue, but the expected value that comes from a commitment to health will grant a deep competitive edge as a leader in wellness.
That one announcement transformed the CVS brand from a drug store into a destination for wellness that encourages healthy lifestyle choices. Consumers are now more likely to shop at CVS because of the positive symbolic value associated with the brand.
Healthcare companies should be paying attention. It is no longer enough for these organizations to offer small tips about healthy living or managing a particular disease and expect to make a genuine connection with customers.
The power of a lifestyle brand lies in its ability to make authentic connections through rich storytelling and immersive digital experiences. To succeed in healthcare, it’s time to turn a subject that is traditionally sensitive into a consumable product by adopting a consumer-focused model. Place your user’s aspirational lifestyle at the heart of your marketing strategies. These connections will work together to engineer a more positive healthcare experience and more loyal customers.
One pressing need is to empower consumers to connect all their wearable devices and make sense of their personal data collections. Taking a cue from business intelligence platforms, healthcare brands can solve this need by creating specialized experiences that make health insights more visual, engaging, and useful. For instance, packaging up personalized insights to help families come up with tailored meal planning ideas based on this data. There is large potential for health apps that enforce habit changes, tailored by users’ own data, to help them achieve their goals. Or finally, brands can empower online communities that can offer support and motivation regarding health topics, allowing the brand to provide peer to peer value. In this way, brands can foster a thought share that creates valuable social connections.
The foundation for a personal well-being platform is already there, innate in the core of healthcare brands. A few small wins could be all it takes to build a vibrant community of health advocates, giving advice for many interested consumers as a brand evolves from healthcare provider to lifestyle brand.
One thing is crystal clear: lifestyle branding is the future of marketing in healthcare, and it will be interesting to see which brands will make the leap. The challenge is on the table.