Jennifer Cooley

Three Simple Design Principles for Effective Healthcare Marketing

By Jennifer Cooley on April 7, 2016

Over the years, healthcare marketing has grown tremendously when it comes to delivering messaging and brands to our communities. Whether it be billboards, television commercials or social media, we see our local health systems delivering messaging to us much more frequently than decades ago.

As health systems continue to market themselves more, the need for effective design becomes a critical component to successful advertising. Here are just a few design principles which are at the core of what we do to achieve the best design results for our clients:

Design principle 1: Connect with our audience

Recently, our agency was asked to create an oncology campaign for our client Owensboro Health. Early in the brainstorm phase, I asked myself some questions in order to help see things through the eyes of our audience:

When I’ve seen oncology television commercials, how do they typically make me feel?

  • Depressed? Yes.
  • Scared? Absolutely.
  • Or maybe even disinterested because they’re too clinical/sterile? Most definitely.

By thinking this way, we were able to create something completely different. Not simply for the sake of doing something different, but to truly connect with our audience in a deeper and more honest way. I believed if we could create something that made our audience feel the beautiful honesty behind what the human spirit feels once they have to fight cancer, they would be drawn into the concept.

The key feelings in the campaign would center around determination, empowerment and strength. This fighting spirit of the human soul in the campaign was magnificently honest and raw — something we could relate with when faced with life’s challenging times.

Design principle 2: Tell a story

Storytelling is a powerful message delivery tool for healthcare marketers. It’s the honesty and relatability behind patient stories that draw your audiences in and make them want to learn more. These stories also help expose additional health system features and benefits — things like your unending compassion and determination to make your communities strong and healthy.

In many cases, these stories are relatable. Some bring laughs, some bring tears with the ultimate goal of driving action. Storytelling also creates authenticity. For example, an ad featuring a real patient with a real story is much more impactful than an ad with a generic message and stock photo. Stories most definitely exist in your health system. The beauty behind telling them is that your patients and employees become your brand messengers.

Design principle 3: Stay current

Simply put, a healthcare brand should look and feel current. It’s very easy to put this task on the back-burner … maybe it’s too expensive to update your visual identity, there’s no time, or what you have seems to work fine. Ignoring the value behind staying current is ignoring what your audience might think of you.

The field of healthcare is forward-thinking and people-focused, therefore design selections should reflect this. An outdated brand identity doesn’t exude the spirit behind what the industry should feel like, which is fresh, vibrant and innovative. In some cases, being outdated can make consumers feel less confident in your system and that possibly you don’t provide the highest quality of care.

Whether it be redesigning your website, tweaking or reworking logos, choosing photography or updating branded colors and fonts, understand the value behind making sure you look and feel current — so your audience always feels confident in selecting you as the best provider for their wellness needs.