How healthcare/OTC marketers can get their market to do the marketing for them

The world of marketing and communications has changed dramatically. Consumers are no longer willing to be marketed to but instead, demand to be entertained and informed, or advertisers run the risk being ignored entirely.

This change affects healthcare brands even more so because there is the added effect of many consumers not acknowledging their health problems. Many would rather not pay attention to signs and symptoms than treat them; and many diseases are asymptomatic so they’re not feeling anything any way. 

How can healthcare marketers and their agencies engage consumers and encourage them to participate in their own health and well-being?

We can work together to build Participation Brands. These are brands that play a vital and vibrant role in a consumer’s life. There are five key pillars to creating a Participation Brand:

  1. It must have a Passionate Purpose.  It must stand for something that is meaningful to all the healthcare stakeholders involved and is something that is a driving force for all brand behavior.
  1. It’s also Culture Shaping which means it brings something genuinely fresh to people’s lives, passions, and conversations. In healthcare, this means someone is not embarrassed about the disease or about the desire to do more for their well-being.  They’re proud of having taken action.
  1. Ideally, it also offers something that is Category Innovating.  It does something that no other brand has been able to do before to improve a consumer’s life.  This brings new people to the category or even creates a new category.
  1. It is People Powered which means it not only is insightful about what the consumer wants and needs, but it gets consumers talking about the brand for the marketers.  This is very relevant for healthcare brands because often they may not want to use a brand or think they need it.  Once they acknowledge the need, start using a treatment, and experience the benefits, they may share this with others. 
  1. And finally, it must have Distinctive Character.  It must help people feel affinity quickly and instinctively for the brand and realize that it can uniquely help them.

How we helped revitalize Purdey’s to become a Participation Brand

Britvic, a major UK food manufacturer, had a drink brand, Purdey’s Multivitamin Fruit Drink, that hadn’t been marketed in years, and we were asked to revitalize the brand.  We capitalized on the changing needs of a maturing energy-drink audience by positioning Purdey’s in the white space between traditional energy drinks and a new wave of potent liquid health.  We identified a desire for an energy drink that was mature, not for youth, and that didn’t just answer short-term needs, but supported long-term ambitions.  We tapped into a growing need for self-improvement and embarked on a mission to help millions of people to realize their dreams. 

We formed a strategic partnership with Idris Elba, the actor, DJ, and polymath who embodies the aspiration of helping people to shape their own success and make the most of life’s possibilities.  We leveraged his endorsement into a series of thought-provoking short films where he asked people “What do you want to be when you grow up?”   This created credible, shareable content that we turned into an integrated campaign entitled “Thrive On” that was rolled out across retail, digital, social, PR and OOH driving a 25% increase in market share in UK with a 50% increase in the key market of London as well as a 20% increase in household penetration and 68% increase in favorability. 

The “Thrive On” campaign ignited Purdey’s passionate purpose that was innovative for the category, was unique and distinctive, helped shape culture, and got people talking about pursuing their life-long dreams.  Overall, a success.

The world needs more Participation Brands in Healthcare.

 Healthcare brands can help transform lives, not only functionally but emotionally.

Our goal is to use this insight to help healthcare marketers turn their brands into Participation Brands and ultimately create a healthier world.