Pexels Trust Healthcare

Trust: The currency of healthcare branding

What a strange place we find ourselves in. Still in the thick of a global pandemic. In some parts of the world there are no vaccines and they won’t be available any time soon. In others, vaccines are in surplus and many won’t take them because they are the “wrong kind – the wrong brand.” How did we even get here?

All the branding experts in the world won’t be able to make “the wrong kind the right brand” quickly enough because of poor planning and communications. Add to that some people still haven’t gotten the memo that when it comes to branding the one currency that matters is trust. And when it comes to healthcare, trust is non plus ultra.

Turn on the lights

When recently asked what “the wrong brand vaccine companies” should be doing to improve their chances of being accepted by the broader public and the scientific community, I found myself repeating what I’ve often times said before. Start with putting the spotlight on building trust. Turn up the wattage – enough to shine a light on all the areas that need to be built or rebuilt. And remember there are no short cuts in doing that.

So, what can healthcare brands in general learn from those who have created the much-needed Covid vaccine in record time and who are sitting on a stockpile with few takers?

It means, for one, they need to go back to the drawing board and focus on building trust from the inside out. It means working towards the goal of regaining consumer and public trust in their product. It means being transparent about successes and failures relating to scientific rigor. It means having an open dialogue with the public, the real owners of all brands no matter what companies or governments like to think. It means designing communications strategies that are informed by value and efficacy. It means having your purpose guide all action and behavior. It means going back to the basics of systematic brand building.

Easier said than done – building or rebuilding trust as the case might be. And yet, if you are guided by the understanding that strong brands are more likely to weather erosion of confidence or a bad news cycle, continually investing in your brand to build trust should be a no-brainer. Especially in a world driven by data, a life sciences or healthcare company should be able to leverage this to their brand’s advantage, by building on numbers. Facts and figures, with a measure of communications savvy, help create confidence and trust.

3 focal points

Whether you’re starting on a journey of building trust or are in the midst of it here are 3 things to focus your spotlight on for maximum impact:

1. Your brand’s roots:

Ask yourself what your brand stands for. What would be missing if your brand were to disappear? What drives your business? How well do your actions credibly deliver on your purpose? In other words, focus on what is at the heart of your brand strategy.

2. Your brand’s design:

Have a look at how your brand is expressed. What does it look like? How does it sound? What’s it like to feel it? Does it have a pleasant taste? Is it fragrant? Pay close attention to the sensory impression of your brand. It plays a big role in how people respond to products and services.

3. Your brand experience:

Does your brand strategy inform design allowing it to unleash a delightful experience? Are you working from the inside out? Are all brand assets creating a coherent brand experience? Are all touchpoints and channels working in harmony? Are you monitoring how your brand is performing and finetuning as required?

Brands are akin to living, breathing organisms. Sometimes it takes is going back a few steps, recalibrating, and then moving forward to regain the trust of your customers, partners and other stakeholders. It's not just during a pandemic, but in general, that healthcare brands are responsible for a lot more than just the life-saving products they deliver. We trust them with our lives, our planet and the future of our children. They need to earn this trust.

The good news is they can.

  • Rupali is Managing Director of MetaDesign US and Head of Growth at MetaDesign Germany
  • Image by Gabby K on pexels