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Why we need to bring empathy back into medcomms

Medical communications requires you to bring more empathy to your communications

Although empathy with customers is essential in every industry, it is especially true in healthcare. This is simply because healthcare is needed, rather than wanted. 

For this reason, medical communications require sensitivity. In almost all cases, we need to continually remind ourselves (I know, I cannot believe I am saying this) that patients are vulnerable to the fears and concerns of people who are, to varying degrees, suffering. It goes without saying that tact is required, and no brand should be foolish enough to use the ‘hard sell’ or ‘silver tongue’ approach.

If we look closely at members of the target market group (both patients and healthcare professionals), we see individuals with not only fears but hopes, dreams and stories to tell. Unlike an industry which caters for one ‘type’ of person (i.e., ‘millennials’ – groan!), trusted pharma brands cater for humans from all walks of life. The diversity in this group is bottomless, so the ability to reach out must be bottomless too.

So, how is it possible to reach out? The simple answer is to respect the unique stories of individuals, but at the same time focus on what brings these individuals together.

The Breathless Choir campaign, created for Philips, is the perfect example. In uniting a group of sufferers with breathing problems and forming a choir led by Gareth Malone (of Military Wives fame), they put humans before products and, as a result, won Gold at the Cannes Lions Health awards. 

To begin with, the ad focuses on one young lady in the group, Claire. We hear about how, as a gifted singer and performer, respiratory illness has robbed her of the ability to do what she loves. But rather than pitch the benefits of Philips products, the ad then tells the story of how Claire found new hope with the Breathless Choir. Not only was she able to sing again, but she also made lasting friendships with the group – and had great fun in the process. As did everyone else in the choir, and Gareth Malone too!

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16th February 2017



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