Playbook for the Health Care Brand Leader in the Covid-19 World

There is currently no playbook to guide the health care brand leader in a global pandemic. So we set out to create one.

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In the spirit of working shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in healthcare, we mixed a healthy dose of listening to our health care clients across the country articulate their pain points + market insights +  an orientation to brand and consumer experience to come up with this: The playbook for the health care brand leader in the age of Covid-19 (at least for the next 3 months, because after that, who knows).

No one knows what the lasting impacts of COVID-19 will be, but one thing is clear: getting back to business is crucial. The big question is how do we, as brand leaders, guide our organization to a new normal? Knowing that resources are strained as we continue to deal with COVID-19, and budgets are shrinking due to revenue challenges, we’ve put together some guidance for quick-turn, efficient actions brand leaders can take now to re-start the revenue engine. We’ve divided them into immediate opportunities for quick wins and longer-term opportunities to get started on now that will bear fruit down the road to recovery.

 

Playbook for Health Care – Section One
Immediate challenge: Convincing consumers that we are open and it is safe for them to seek health care.

Immediate action 1: Conduct quick-turn, efficient research to understand consumer attitudes

  • What is the current state of delay and anticipated timing for re-engaging?
  • What are the barriers of re-engagement?
  • What types of messages reassure consumers the most?
  • What is the expected experience when engaging with healthcare, both physically and digitally?

Result: Quantitative data drives messaging strategy, storytelling, and consumer campaigns

 

Immediate action 2: Develop messaging strategy to guide marketing communications

  • If you are open, tell them. Most consumers aren’t aware of what’s open and what’s not.
  • Change the language used about health care and COVID to reset the tone.
  • It cannot be about the frontlines and surges anymore.
  • Communications should provide straightforward and direct language that shows health care taking control where it can.
  • Messaging is not just about words. Show people what to expect and help them paint a step-by-step picture of the protocols you are implementing to keep them safe.

Result: Strategic framework ensures messaging is data-driven, on-brand, and consumer-focused

 

Immediate action 3: Create a multi-channel campaign to consumers

  • Consider the role physicians can play in relaying the message to their patients. People trust their doctor’s perspective most at this time.
  • Again, go beyond words to help paint the picture of what they can expect.
  • Don’t add to the clutter. Be clear and direct and make sure the message is applicable to those receiving it. We are all sick of receiving COVID updates from the random companies that happen to have our email addresses.

Result: Drives consumers to begin re-engaging in health care

 

Doctor talking to a man

 

Learn More: Celebrating Health Care Heroes: Part 3

 

Playbook for Health Care – Section Two
Long term opportunities: how do we prioritize brand and experience efforts over the next several months?

Long term opportunity 1: Encourage digital behaviors considering the existing safety concerns – leverage virtual health/telehealth

Growth of Telehealth: More people than ever are using telehealth for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 1 in 6 people claim to have used virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 13% using it for the first time.
  • 2 in 5 people prefer telehealth than in-person care at the moment.
  • This is not surprising considering the large amount of people (+30%) who would wait 2+ months to see a physician if they had a non-emergency medical need or concern
  • COVID-19 is the catalyst challenging longstanding habitual in-person care behaviors, and more importantly, the potential unconscious biases/concerns holding back adoption.
  • This scary moment creates a significant opportunity for health care systems to further enable a new digital model for health care services like never before. Understanding and optimizing the telehealth experience can and will transform adoption of telehealth for tomorrow.

Build the best fact base

  • Start with a quick-turn qual research focused on the “uncertainties”, and those ready to embrace digital. What do we need to know?
  • Who are the right patients and people to target?
  • What are the attitudes towards telehealth, biases, preconceptions, and expectations?
  • What are their existing reference points? For instance, what will the patient be using to compare the experience? How do we trigger the right cues and encourage behaviors to quell concerns?
  • Motivations for use: what are the functional and emotional needs we must support based on the type of person / patient we are working with?

Optimize the digital experience

  • How do we best introduce virtual health broadly?
  • How and where do we put the attention around when delivering this experience?
  • How does “physical” interaction play a role?
  • How do we encourage ongoing use and referrals?

Result: Roadmap to an optimized telehealth experience, coupled with segmentation to guide consumer targeting, will effectively drive people to our telehealth offerings.

 

Long term opportunity 2: Create experiences that engage

Growth of Telehealth: More people than ever are using telehealth for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • People are scared to visit medical facilities and they do not know what to expect when visiting. Understanding how their expectations align or differ from reality can help health systems design better experiences and better prepare people for those experiences.
  • Conducting rapid qualitative journey mapping can quickly highlight concerning gaps while also generating new ideas for making people feel safer.
  • Using experience and design-thinking approach, journey mapping insights can be leveraged into new protocols, processes and communications to impact re-engagement and perceptions across the entire journey.
  • Rapid prototyping and testing of these new experiences can help a health system quickly hone their experiences by learning what’s really working.

Result: Roadmap to an optimized telehealth experience, coupled with segmentation to guide consumer targeting, will effectively drive people to our telehealth offerings.

 

Long term opportunity 3: Don’t miss this moment to create a more human health care experience

Growth of Telehealth: More people than ever are using telehealth for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Health care is fundamentally a human-to-human experience. COVID-19 exposed fractures that already existed in the health care experience, but it also highlighted the areas of opportunity. Health care brand and strategy leaders are in a unique position to create more human health care experiences in the era of COVID-19 like never before.
  • Due to COVID-19, you have an opportunity to step up and play a role in providing security, peace of mind and reassurance to a population that’s craving exactly that – according to our multi-year Humanizing Brand Experience research.
  • In the past, as brand and marketing leaders, we have sometimes felt handcuffed by the scale, complexity, and operational requirements that have challenged our ability to make change happen quickly or effectively. COVID-19 has disrupted many behavior patterns, changed expectations, and opened opportunities to re-think the health care experience.

Result: A more human brand that drives usage, satisfaction, and advocacy

 

Learn More: The Real Way Consumers Measure Experience Quality

woman floating in a boat

No one knows what the lasting impacts of COVID-19 will be, and the situation is constantly changing, but one thing is clear: getting back to business is crucial. We hope you can use these action steps to guide you on the road to the new normal.

 

We would love to continue the dialogue – we are actively working and partnering with our health care clients to help evolve and innovate within the quickly changing landscape. Reach out to us here if you want to join in.