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The interactive healthcare environment

Atilla Cansun

It's no secret that communications in consumer health are changing. Consumers are increasingly keen to interact with brands they know and trust - posing a challenge to traditional ways of conveying brand values and messages.

As a company, we aim to offer the right values to consumers via our brands. Aspects such as sympathy, support and health are all important drivers of our brand communications. We wish to improve all aspects of consumers' health through our brands and services and that includes emotional and psychological wellbeing. For example, Bion Equilibre is a vitamin and minerals formulation designed to deal with the stresses of modern life. Through this brand, Merck Consumer Health offers people the opportunity to talk about stress online and how they deal with it. This is an important conversation, as stress impacts everyday life and is something many consumers want to talk about and share as part of the healing process.

Of course, a key part of offering consumers more is understanding what makes them tick. Merck Consumer Health has doubled its market research budget in order to better listen to doctors, pharmacists and consumers and generate valuable feedback. Dialogue regarding our prenatal supplement Femibion, for example, has helped us understand that consumers don't just want information during pregnancy but also emotional support and reassurance during this vulnerable time.

A key part of offering consumers more is understanding what makes them tick

Cultural or geographical trends must also be taken into account; emerging economies such as Turkey, Indonesia and Thailand have a very high uptake of social media, requiring companies to interact on these platforms. There is also the influence of demographics, as an ageing population increasingly drives the development of the OTC marketplace.

As pharmacy plays a greater role in the provision of healthcare advice and support, it's increasingly clear that brands need to offer something more than simple product communications. At Merck Consumer Health we recognise and embrace this trend through our brand values and by offering consumers the opportunity to interact and share their experiences. Working in partnership with professionals to offer people the right support and environment will define the future of the sector.

• This article first appeared in Evolution or Revolution? by Merck Consumer Health

Article by
Atilla Cansun

Chief Marketing Officer, Merck Consumer Health

27th May 2015

From: Sales, Healthcare

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