Healthcare brands find themselves more relevant than ever but also struggling to be heard. Andrew Hally advocates the use of branded educational content and social content – with a personal touch.

It’s been arguably the most challenging year on record for healthcare brands, which have had to rapidly adjust their marketing strategies to cope with new demands spawned by pandemic. In just a matter of weeks, the entire market had global interest and importance. The digital landscape became so oversaturated that healthcare brands faced major challenges to be heard. So as they strived to carve out their identities in a crowded space, healthcare ad spending grew exponentially, making up 10% of all B2B ad spend this year.

With more noise to cut through, greater brand awareness becomes the ultimate goal. In fact, Bynder’s recent research found that following the COVID-19 outbreak 38% of healthcare marketers see brand awareness as their main concern, highlighting that many organisations are struggling to keep their brands in people’s thoughts and conversations.

The report also revealed that 35% of healthcare marketers see user experience as their biggest brand differentiator, with almost 40% intending to use it more to their advantage. This corresponds with the priorities of other industries; all marketers, regardless of the sector they work in, are challenged to make sure every interaction with their customers counts – a key theme discussed at this year’s Studio OnBrand event.

For healthcare brands especially, branded educational content and social content with a personal touch can help drive unique experiences that accelerate brand awareness.

Creating a branded customer experience

Start by developing content that customers enjoy interacting with. Forrester’s recent research found that millennials, who make up a growing portion of consumer and business decision makers, read 11.4 pieces of content on average before making a purchase decision. Regardless of what the content is about, and whether it’s for a blog or social media, it needs to be thought-provoking and visually enticing to keep people coming back for more. It’s why almost half of healthcare brands are looking to increase their investment on branded visual assets, as having dull content won’t make them shine. This certainly indicates that they’re heading in the right direction, as a further 40% plan to boost their overall content production by as much as 50%.

To meet the demand for content and further improve the user experience, healthcare marketers should consider embedding user-generated content (UGC) into their content creation efforts. UGC makes for more impactful content than your traditional marketing assets, providing personal accounts from real people using or supporting an organisation’s product or service.

With 42% of healthcare brands seeing social media as having the biggest impact on their brand visibility and perception, UGC could be the ticket that fast-tracks brand differentiation on online channels. For example, healthcare companies could repost content from patients on Instagram Stories as part of their marketing campaign. Not only can this help connect their brand to their audience in a more human way and boost their accessibility, but it meets the demand for more content in a cost-efficient and resourceful way. Using UGC, however, requires organisations to have solid infrastructure for managing digital assets and their associated permissions.

The most effective way to get customers to click, read or subscribe to content, and ultimately move further down the funnel, is to make sure there’s a constant stream of relevant and interesting content for them to consume. This should be consistently branded in the same way across every channel – that way, customers will associate your brand with the content they like and recognise it whenever they see it.

Creative automation is here to help

Ensuring customer experience is seamless is no small feat. It takes creating different iterations of the same content to resonate with various target audiences. While this can be done with in-house creative teams developing and testing different variations, they can easily burn out and kill their creativity in the process.

Fortunately for them, technology is better equipped to solve this exact problem. According to Bynder’s survey findings, over a third of healthcare marketers believe that automation can be used to successfully create and scale branded content, ultimately getting it to market faster. Creative automation simply cuts the number of creative-burning hours that it takes to repurpose the same content for different platforms – such as resizing and reformatting the same banner for every social channel the brand exists on.

As a result, marketers can dedicate more time and energy to focus on developing better branded content and improving the customer experience, while creatives can get back to doing what they do best: hatching creative ideas.

This challenging year might be nearing its end, but it’s still possible to implement these strategies into the healthcare marketing mix to empower brands to be heard in a loud and busy digital landscape. Brands can then better prioritise the customer experience and create more memorable and impactful customer interactions.