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There is no such thing as good medical communications

By Toby O'Brien

Toby O'Brien

There is no special dispensation with regards to good communications standards just because we work in healthcare; we must strive for the best, just like in any other industry.

Research shows that there is often a large disconnect between the communications provided by a healthcare company and the needs of the target audience. It’s important that messages build to form a consistent story that will connect with the audience and influence their behaviour. They will engage with content across multiple channels for different reasons and the delivery of communications needs to fit into that model seamlessly, importantly around the habitual needs of the audience themselves.

There’s a lot we can learn from the traditional advertising world in the execution of successful user- centric communications – just look at some of the brand campaigns you have experienced – how did they know that you had purchased those running shoes and you might now be interested in a Fitbit? Yes, the robots might be coming and it’s a bit ‘Big Brother’, but it can’t be denied how seamless it is.

We should be incorporating those lessons (within reason) into how we design our communication plans. We need to work in multidisciplinary teams to deliver this properly, completely revolved around audience understanding. From an agency perspective there’s an amazing opportunity if we are willing to not only improve our intra-agency focus, but also to work alongside each other and sing from a single hymn sheet to achieve success; to hold hands and share (like our parents taught us) for the good of the outcome.

Think about it like this: next time you write a piece of communication, physically draw out your target user, give her a name (let’s call her Tracey) and ask where Tracey goes to find out her information. Then find someone as close as possible to Tracey’s profile and actually ask her. Don’t just rely on what you think while you’re sitting at a desk, miles away from your target audience. Work with your stakeholders to properly find out for yourself. Then every time an idea/ tactic/approach is designed, ask yourself what Tracey would want (or better yet, ask the real Tracey if you can) and focus on that, rather than communicating what you want and how you want it to be done.

Toby O’Brien, Head of Multichannel Communications, Bedrock Healthcare Communications

In association with


20th May 2019

From: Marketing


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