Leveraging Authenticity, Advocacy, and Analytics in Healthtech Branding

Building a strong brand is more important than ever for healthtech companies. The key is differentiate by establishing trust, credibility, and emotional connections with target audiences. At the recent Healthtech Marketing Summit, hosted by healthlaunchpad, marketing executives from top healthtech companies shared their insights on the state of branding and the strategies needed to succeed in this dynamic environment.

Developing the Right Thought Leadership Strategy

Establishing brand authority through thought leadership is a meticulous process that requires consistent effort and strategic planning. Karsten Russell-Wood, CMO of Equum Medical, emphasized the importance of cultivating a loyal following by delivering relevant, resonant content across multiple platforms.

“The marketplace for healthcare, healthtech, and health technology is crowded. So we have to work harder to bring clarity to our identity and our offerings.”

To develop a robust thought leadership strategy, healthtech brands must first identify their unique value proposition and the key issues they want to address. This involves conducting thorough market research, analyzing competitor positioning, and understanding the needs and pain points of their target audiences. Once the foundation is established, companies can create a content calendar aligning with their brand messaging and objectives.

Consistency in messaging and quality is crucial to building trust and credibility over time. Additionally, healthtech brands should leverage the expertise of their internal subject matter experts and collaborate with external influencers to amplify their reach and enhance their authority.

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Creating Authentic and Meaningful Content

The challenge is how to create authentic and meaningful messages that cut through the noise. Justin Metz, Content Lead at healthlaunchpad, stressed the significance of moving beyond product features and benefits to craft compelling stories that connect with the audience.

“We like to take a step back, narrow in first on your audience, and what are their challenges, what are their needs and how are you uniquely positioned to solve it.”

To create authentic and meaningful content, healthtech brands should prioritize storytelling over product promotion. This means focusing on the human aspects of their solutions, such as patient outcomes, provider experiences, and the overall impact on the healthcare ecosystem. Case studies, testimonials, and real-world examples can help bring these stories to life and demonstrate the tangible value of the brand’s offerings.

Moreover, content should be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the target audience. This may involve creating different types of content for various stakeholders, such as healthcare providers, payers, and patients. By understanding each group’s unique challenges and motivations, brands can craft messages that resonate on a deeper level and foster genuine connections.

Leveraging Corporate Citizenship and Employee Advocacy

Purpose-driven brands that align their values with customers are more likely to foster long-lasting relationships. Trina Claggett, VP of Marketing at SpinSci, highlighted the role of corporate citizenship initiatives and employee advocacy in building authentic brands.

Corporate citizenship initiatives demonstrate a brand’s commitment to making a positive impact beyond its financial goals. This can include supporting community health programs, promoting diversity and inclusion, or advocating for environmental sustainability. By actively engaging in these efforts, healthtech brands can differentiate themselves and attract customers with similar values.

Employee advocacy is another powerful tool for building brand authenticity. Employees genuinely passionate about their company’s mission and values become natural brand ambassadors. Healthtech organizations should invest in employee engagement programs that empower team members to share their experiences and insights with their networks. This can include providing training on social media best practices, recognizing and rewarding employee advocacy efforts, and creating a culture that encourages open communication and collaboration.

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Identifying and Cultivating Authentic Spokespeople

While clinicians are often the go-to thought leaders in healthtech, companies must also identify and cultivate other authentic spokespeople. Karsten Russell-Wood suggested leveraging professional trade organizations to develop peer relationships with clinical end-point buyers. 

To identify authentic spokespeople, healthtech brands should look beyond job titles and focus on individuals who have a genuine passion for the industry and a deep understanding of the challenges faced by their target audiences. These spokespeople can include patients, caregivers, researchers, and other subject matter experts who can provide unique perspectives and insights.

Once identified, brands must invest in cultivating these relationships by providing opportunities for growth and development. This can include offering media training, connecting spokespeople with relevant industry events and publications, and fostering a sense of community among brand advocates. By nurturing these relationships, healthtech companies can build a diverse network of authentic spokespeople who can help amplify their message and establish trust with their target audiences.

Creating Compelling Brand Narratives

A clear and compelling brand narrative is essential for connecting with audiences across various touchpoints. Patty Enrado, Senior Director of Client Content Development at HIMSS Media, advised ensuring that a company’s mission and vision are consistently communicated across the top three information sources: websites, in-person events, and webinars.

“I’ve been to some websites and you don’t really know what they really do?”

To create a compelling brand narrative, healthtech companies must first define their core values, mission, and vision. This foundational work will guide all subsequent messaging and ensure consistency across touchpoints. The brand narrative should be emotionally resonant, highlighting the human impact of the company’s solutions and the broader purpose behind its work.

When crafting the narrative, it’s essential to consider the audience’s perspective and address their specific needs and concerns. The story should be easy to understand, memorable, and differentiated from competitors. Using clear, concise language and avoiding industry jargon can help make the narrative more accessible to a wider audience.

Once developed, the brand narrative should be woven into all aspects of the company’s communication, from website copy and social media posts to sales presentations and customer support interactions. Consistency in messaging is key to building a strong, recognizable brand identity that resonates with target audiences.

Ensuring Consistency and Clarity of Brand Messaging

Maintaining consistency and clarity in brand messaging is crucial for building trust and recognition. Karsten Russell-Wood emphasized the importance of influencing indirect markets through third-party endorsements, such as media, PR, and analyst organizations.

“Customers want simpler ways to buy, and that means partnering where you can to increase the velocity of interest by your customer.”

To ensure consistency and clarity in brand messaging, healthtech companies must develop comprehensive brand guidelines that outline key messaging, visual identity standards, and communication protocols. These guidelines should be easily accessible to all employees and partners, and regular training should be provided to ensure everyone understands and adheres to the standards.

In addition to internal alignment, healthtech brands must focus on consistency across external touchpoints. This includes maintaining a cohesive visual identity across all marketing materials, using consistent messaging in media interviews and analyst briefings, and ensuring that third-party partners accurately represent the brand’s values and offerings.

Monitoring and measuring brand consistency is also essential. Regular brand audits can help identify areas where messaging may be misaligned or unclear, allowing for timely adjustments and improvements. By maintaining consistency and clarity in brand messaging, healthtech companies can build a trustworthy reputation that resonates with their target audiences.

Leveraging Partnerships and Collaborations

Strategic partnerships and collaborations can help healthtech brands demonstrate their value and interoperability while building credibility. Patty Enrado noted the significance of collaborative partnerships, especially when showcasing interoperability solutions.

“You want to be able to say, ‘Hey, we partner with a lot of people out there.’ So we have collaborative partners.”

Partnerships and collaborations can take many forms, such as joint research projects, co-branded content, or integrated solutions. By working with established industry players, healthtech startups can tap into new markets, expand their reach, and benefit from the credibility of their partners.

When evaluating potential partnerships, healthtech brands should look for organizations with similar values and complementary strengths. The partnership should be mutually beneficial, with clear objectives and metrics for success. It’s also essential to ensure that the partnership aligns with the brand’s overall messaging and positioning to maintain consistency and clarity.

Once a partnership is established, healthtech brands should actively promote the collaboration through various channels, such as joint press releases, co-hosted events, and shared thought leadership content. By showcasing successful partnerships and the value they bring to customers, healthtech companies can differentiate themselves and build trust with their target audiences.

Measuring Brand Authority Through Engagement and Retention

While awareness and reach metrics are important, health tech marketers should also consider engagement, sentiment, and retention to gauge the true impact of their branding efforts. Trina Claggett emphasized the need to measure adoption rates and customer satisfaction.

“Understanding if they are truly using the product, consuming the product. Is it delivering the value that was expected? As marketers, we love to focus on acquisition, but we equally need to focus on retention and measuring that metric.”

To measure brand authority effectively, healthtech companies should track a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics. Quantitative metrics may include website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates, while qualitative metrics may involve customer feedback, sentiment analysis, and brand perception surveys.

Adoption rates and customer satisfaction are particularly important metrics for healthtech brands, as they provide insight into the real-world impact of their solutions. By tracking how customers are using the product and gathering feedback on their experiences, companies can identify areas for improvement and optimize their offerings to meet user needs better.

Retention metrics, such as customer lifetime value and churn rate, are also indicators of brand authority. If customers continue to use and derive value from a healthtech solution over time, the brand has established trust and credibility. On the other hand, high churn rates may indicate a disconnect between the brand’s promise and the actual user experience.

To gather these insights, healthtech brands should invest in data analytics and customer feedback systems. Regular surveys, user interviews, and sentiment analysis can provide valuable qualitative data, while integrated analytics platforms can help track quantitative metrics across various touchpoints. By combining these data points, healthtech marketers can gain a holistic view of their brand’s performance and make data-driven decisions to improve their branding strategies.

Adapting to the Evolving Buyer’s Journey

As the buyer’s journey continues to evolve, healthtech brands must adapt their strategies to meet customers where they are. Patty Enrado highlighted the top three information sources buyers rely on: websites, in-person events, and webinars. Brands must ensure their messaging is consistent and compelling across these touchpoints to guide buyers through their journey effectively.

To adapt to the changing buyer’s journey, healthtech brands must first understand their target audiences’ unique needs and preferences. This involves conducting regular market research, analyzing customer data, and gathering feedback from sales and customer support teams. By understanding their buyers’ key challenges, motivations, and decision-making processes, brands can tailor their messaging and content to address specific concerns and guide customers toward a purchase decision.

As digital channels play an increasingly important role in the buyer’s journey, healthtech brands must also invest in robust online experiences. This includes optimizing their website for search engines, creating engaging and informative content, and leveraging targeted advertising and email marketing campaigns to reach buyers at various stages of their journey.

However, it’s essential not to overlook the importance of human interaction in the buying process. In-person events and webinars provide valuable opportunities for brands to connect with potential customers, demonstrate their expertise, and build trust through face-to-face interactions. By combining digital and in-person touchpoints, healthtech brands can create a seamless, omnichannel experience that guides buyers through their journey and positions the brand as a trusted partner.

Being Bold, Interesting, and Genuine

Healthtech brands that are bold, interesting, and genuine are more likely to capture attention and build lasting connections. Karsten Russell-Wood summarized this sentiment succinctly:

“The world’s oversaturated. So be interesting. And we have to be personal. The story that’s winning today is being genuine.”

To stand out among competitors, healthtech brands must be willing to take bold, creative approaches to their marketing and branding efforts. This may involve experimenting with new content formats, leveraging emerging technologies, or taking a stand on important industry issues. By pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo, brands can differentiate themselves and capture the attention of their target audiences.

However, being bold doesn’t mean sacrificing authenticity. Healthtech brands must remain true to their core values and mission, even as they explore new and innovative ways to engage with their customers. This requires a deep understanding of the brand’s identity and a commitment to transparency and honesty in all communications.

Interesting content is also key to capturing and holding the audience attention. Healthtech brands should strive to create content that is not only informative but also engaging and entertaining. This may involve leveraging storytelling techniques, using humor or emotion to connect with readers, or exploring new media formats like video or interactive content.

Finally, being genuine is perhaps the most important aspect of building a strong healthtech brand. In an industry that deals with sensitive topics like personal health and well-being, customers are looking for brands they can trust and relate to on a human level. By prioritizing transparency, empathy, and authenticity in all interactions, healthtech brands can build lasting relationships with their customers and establish themselves as trusted partners in their health journey.

Key Takeaways and Actionable Recommendations

The healthtech marketing leaders at the summit provided valuable insights and actionable recommendations for brands looking to thrive in the current landscape:

  1. Develop a consistent, multi-channel thought leadership strategy to establish brand authority.
  2. Create authentic, meaningful content that resonates with your target audience and addresses their challenges.
  3. Leverage corporate citizenship initiatives and employee advocacy to build purpose-driven brands.
  4. To build trust and credibility, identify and cultivate diverse, authentic spokespeople beyond clinicians.
  5. Craft a compelling brand narrative that communicates your mission and vision across all touchpoints.
  6. Ensure consistency and clarity in brand messaging to build trust and recognition.
  7. Form strategic partnerships and collaborations to demonstrate value, interoperability, and credibility.
  8. Measure brand authority through engagement, sentiment, and retention metrics, not just reach and awareness.
  9. Adapt your strategies to meet customers where they are in the evolving buyer’s journey.
  10. Be bold, interesting, and genuine in your brand storytelling to capture attention and build lasting connections.

By embracing these strategies and recommendations, healthtech brands can navigate the complexities of the current landscape and build authentic, purpose-driven brands that resonate with their target audiences. As the industry evolves, marketers must remain agile, data-driven, and focused on building genuine human connections to succeed in the long run.

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Posted by Adam Turinas
Posted in Brand Marketing, Healthtech Marketing Show on May 14, 2024

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About the Author Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Healthlaunchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam (This is page 0 of many)