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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

Using video as part of a healthcare marketing strategy

Information and entertainment are not mutually exclusive in the moving image

Video to make you thinkMalcolm Gladwell, journalist, speaker and best-selling author says the following: “Good communication doesn't succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think”.

On considering this in the light of video communications in the healthcare sector, it just seems to me inconceivable that we impose on the same viewer of Breaking Bad and The Honourable Woman the sort of bland diet of talking head content that is all too prevalent in the pharmaceutical sector. Yes, I know that this is about information rather than entertainment. But are the two mutually exclusive? I believe not. And I think that the healthcare sector is waking up to this fact despite the challenges of its regulatory strictures.

The pharmaceutical industry has become more empathetic – and not before time. Up until about three or four years ago, the industry seemed to overlook the very basic tenet of its existence: to promote that most important of qualities in human life – health, which along with happiness (and some might say wealth) are the triumvirate that make for a good life. It's all about bringing concepts, cures, possibilities to life.

The industry is now firmly applying heart to head. It has woken up to the opportunities that our times allow and address selling techniques not just through the written word but that layer on top – the emotional benefit: humour, sympathy, empathy. For those that dare, healthcare provides rich pickings for talented writers and directors. It strikes at very basic but strong emotions.

Golden rules for commissioning moving image

Write a brief with the key objectives and messages and who will be the best people to deliver these

Give one person the project to oversee

Keep it short: few viewers will spare more that 2 – 2.5 minutes of their time

Be open to using the full gamut of moving image tools – 2D; 3D animation; simple graphics effectively designed to compliment live action

Have an eye to the future and see in what way the footage you commission can be re-purposed across various delivery platforms - iPhone, tablet, computer etc

Think ahead if a project is to be delivered globally. Different edits might be needed for various languages.

A particular drug's attributes and unique selling point have to come across and nothing beats the written word for detail – but branding is also about 'owning' a discernible benefit – a product that mends, sooths, assuages, attenuates – even cures. And nothing beats moving image to get this message across.

However, the way that moving image can interface with a viewer is changing through the onset of online communications. No longer do we sit and feed information through the traditional methods. The development of interactive websites and mobile device applications means information can be delivered through ever-inventive, multi-layered ways.

Connect with customers through an emotional action

Especially where the healthcare sector is concerned, education is crucial in delivering concise instructions for drug ingestion, exercise, or perhaps the correct way to self medicate etc. And because we, the viewers, are in control of the speed and way the information is delivered, the likelihood is that the amount of information registered is much greater than that of traditional, purely video methods. Also, with the advent of 4G, the amount of data and speed at which it is downloaded or transmitted means there really are no restrictions on the size of the application or level of interactivity.

It doesn't seem that long ago that moving image, particularly online, seemed to be a 'like to have' rather than a 'must have', and this not just in consumer communications. The innovations in communications with healthcare professionals have been innumerable. Training apps for healthcare professionals, audio-visual testimonials, case studies proliferate. Sales aids all now tend to feature an audio-visual element.

There are sound scientific reasons for this. The report Forrester Research Online Display Advertising Forecast, 2013 To 2018 (Western Europe) shows that European Internet users spent 68% of their online time in 2012 watching online videos, and we expect more than 90% of the online population to watch online video regularly by 2017.

Moving image can connect with customers and stakeholders through an emotional action. Take for example, Coca-Cola's 'Open Happiness' campaign, which goes beyond the category benefit of refreshment to the higher order emotional benefit of joy. This example is a business-to-consumer example but the same can be applied to business-to-business & internal communications.

Coca-Cola's 'Open Happiness' campaign in the Philippines

When creating a video to describe the chronology of bringing a drug to market as a piece of internal communications it might be easy enough to film a series of talking heads followed by images of factories producing the drug – you know the kind of thing. However, by taking the brief a step further and suggesting something that would not just inform, but engage it is possible to produce a drama, starting with every pharma marketer's worst nightmare - a drug being withdrawn from market.

A well-established brand coming off-licence need to boost its brand benefits to HCPs versus its future generic competitors. It is important to ally licensed brands in the minds of HCPs with brand benefits above and beyond the physical attributes and to embue the tried and trusted brand with an emotional benefit – your trusted life-saving drug of choice.

When it comes to getting across detailed drug benefits, infographics can make the complicated accessible in an engaging way. Complicated processes applied to intelligent graphics can break down information into bite-sized content that is stylish and pleasing to view rather than written dry facts and figures.

Finally for those responsible for commissioning content, be open-minded about alternative ways to communicate your message. Talking heads are not the only route. Explore alternative ways to engage with your audience over and above the obvious. Dare to be different and reap the benefits.

Article by
Felicity Gradwell

Felicity is executive producer, Toast TV. Email

16th October 2014

From: Marketing



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