Discussing the influence of brand in the healthcare and tech industry.

Healthy branding for health.

Has the merging of healthcare and tech influenced the importance of brand in this industry?

In the past, healthcare has not focused a lot on branding. As we move into the merge of healthcare and tech (wearables, new elements of healthcare, concierge services, etc.) has branding become crucial to its growth and ongoing evolvement in society? Does COVID19 have to do anything with this? Where does telemedicine fit in this trend? 

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Recorded on March 31th, 2021

Transcript

Brad Breininger: 0:00

Hi, everybody, and welcome to this week’s podcast for Everything is Brand. This week, we want to talk about how important brand is to healthcare, and how the merging of Healthcare and Tech has really influenced that change. So let’s get going. So, in the past, healthcare has not focused a lot on branding. I mean, as we’ve seen, mostly pharmaceutical companies as they’ve developed new and different drugs, you know, naming those drugs has become important marketing those drugs, branding those drugs, but now we’re seeing it go even farther as we move into the merge of healthcare and tech, primarily in wearables in new elements of health care, new concierge services that are being offered to manage the healthcare systems in various different countries around the world. What do you guys think? How important has brand become to healthcare in something that’s been more about “just go to the doctor, get your prescription move on”. Has branding become crucial to healthcare’s growth and ongoing evolvement in society? What do you guys think?

Marko Zonta:

It’s interesting, I think that you know, healthcare, and like you said, especially in the pharmaceutical world, they always took branding quite seriously. Because that I think that in the last year or so it’s now front and center in terms of everybody being aware of it, right, like, so it’s no longer just going to the doctor talking about what medications you need, and perhaps coming across brands that way, or watching a commercial on TV, it’s much more talked about now, it’s definitely something that people are paying attention to, because of vaccines and things that are being developed. And like you said, Brad, some of the new services that are starting to pop up because of technology, those have to be branded, they have to be communicated to their audience. So there is definitely a lot of growth in that space, and a lot of opportunity as well,

Brad Breininger:

I think the merge of healthcare and tech primarily, like in wearables, and getting feedback on your health has become huge. The other thing that we’re seeing a lot of now is testing for different diseases where you mail in a sample, and they come back to you with old report on what you may or may not have even pseudo healthcare stuff like the ancestry.com, or the 23andme, where you put some saliva in a tube, and it goes in, and it tells you, not only your history, but you know, that’s being adapted now more even into being able to predict diseases or things that might be in your DNA. I mean, our vision of healthcare has expanded greatly, and the importance of it has expanded greatly as well. And I think that there’s a lot more competition from these organizations to stand out and bring a different spin on healthcare.

Marko Zonta:

Yeah, and I think it’s also we as consumers, or patients, or just people in general, we want more information, I think that, you know, we’re relying on technology being linked to medical files to healthcare, in general, to have more information and more access to that information, just as kind of a simple example, going to a lab to do a blood test or get any kind of results for from that blood test, you can download an app. And in some cases, you have to pay like a fee or an annual fee. And that actually links you directly to those blood results. That’s something that just wasn’t available in the past, you know, you have to talk to your doctor and only your that your doctor received those results and kept that information. Now you have all of that at your fingertips, basically. So So that’s just a really simple example how that’s changing. And that company that developed that app obviously needs to think about their brand, how they position, their brand, the entire user experience and all of that, right. So it really kind of changes the way healthcare is consumed. If I can actually use that word in this case,

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC:

Even beyond that, if you think about how we go to the doctor now compared to how we did before: It’s basically telemedicine, unless there’s something bigger that you need to take care of. It’s mostly telemedicine. And if you search for a virtual doctor, or something like that, you’re gonna get bombarded with ads of different companies that are offering these services to for this pandemic, you basically went to your family doctor, yeah, today, you go to Google. And that happened to me last week, I went to Google and search for a virtual doctor, and they helped me and 10 minutes. I didn’t even have to leave the house. Right?

Gabi Gomes:

Yeah. And I think COVID-19 really spawned that. I think what we saw before COVID hit was people’s appetites. They were taking a more vested interest in their health. And with that came tracking your fitness levels or a meditation something around That, and I think COVID really just sprung it all forward tenfold in, in an industry that is traditionally slow. In terms of adoption of technology, if we think about the medical industry up here, at least in Canada, it is slow it, you know, generally, and I think COVID really just sped everything up. And I think it also opened up the appetite for people to be interested in their health a lot more, right? What What am I taking walks in? Am I taking too? What am I eating and tracking? And what’s my exercise, what’s my blood pressure, all of that, then we can look at the wearables. I mean, we know the Apple Watch came on on the scene quite a while ago to and it’s really making progress in terms of the healthcare space, I’ve got a quote, even from Tim Cook, basically saying that they’re hoping that health will be its greatest contribution to mankind. So that I think tells you where Apple is going. And the fact that they’re going in the health care space and continuing to make inroads that way, but it has all come about as a result of people taking more of an interest in their health, right? monitoring blood pressure, or diabetes and sugar monitoring or irregularities in your heart, or, you know, mentally, how you’re feeling doing, etc. Right. So, it has all spawned from that interest that we have as humans to take more of an active role in our healthcare. And I think we’re seeing now technology companies really tap into that and offer up services.

Jeremy Linskill:

I think it’s a little bit of chicken and egg here. I don’t know if it’s actually people being interested, or we now have the technology to allow people the information, I think I personally think it is that way more, the fact that we can check our pulse or our heart rate on our watch, that allows us to be more interested in that stuff versus before. Yeah, it was too much work in a sense, you know, at the end of it all, people are lazy.

Gabi Gomes:

It goes back to Apple’s “did you really want 1000 songs in your pocket?” Way back? When? No, right?

Jeremy Linskill:

That’s exactly like you don’t know what you don’t know. Right. And I think that that’s a bit of what’s going on here. A little bit more, I think. I definitely think COVID accelerated it, I think. But I think COVID accelerated everything. I don’t think it’s just that that’s a medical health thing. I think that that’s, you know, the way the world has evolved in the last year. It’s been crazy across the board. So in regards to health care, I just think that yeah, it’s the technology is allowing us these insights into into our health and well being.

Brad Breininger:

Well, you know, Jeremy just said something that I think is key to this discussion. And that is we’ve been saying health, but it’s also wellness, right? It’s also that whole wellness part of it. And there’s been this merge between health and wellness, where I think before there was a separation between the two, wellness was more about exercising, eating right, doing those kinds of things. And health was much more focused on this idea of, you know, if something’s wrong, let me go get it taken a look at or, or let me get a drug that will help me solve it. But I think that the merge has happened a lot more. And to your point. Here’s the other big question, you know, does the fact that we can have an EKG done by ourselves on our wrist, Is that helpful to humanity? To your point, Gabby, I mean, Tim Cook is saying he wants to help humanity. But is that helpful to be able to do your own personal EKG on your wrist? Shouldn’t you be out enjoying life and not worrying about, you know, doing an EKG on your wrist every couple of days? I don’t know, personally, I think I would be a little bit stressed. And I’d be doing EKGs all the time. Every time I felt a little bit anxious or something I’d be doing another EKG. So I’m not sure that that works. Well, for me personally. But I mean, what do you guys think? Is this is this a good thing that we’re this focused on our health? Or is it distracting? What’s the right answer? Yeah. You know,

Jeremy Linskill:

I think it’s a good thing. I think that we have access to it. And then it’s our choice, whether we use it or not. But I still think it’s it’s good that the technology is allowing us to move forward in the health space, for sure.

Brad Breininger:

But it’s allowing everybody to move forward. The people who are most at risk probably can afford an Apple Watch, right? Most of the people who are wearing Apple watches, maybe are biking, they’re working out they’re probably already fairly healthy. Not everybody. I mean, that’s, you know, I don’t want to put brushstrokes across everything. But the people who are most at risk are not necessarily wearing Apple watches on the wrist. So are we monetizing health in a way that’s not really equitable?

Gabi Gomes:

Hey, listen, it’s not perfect. And you know, I Think when things accelerate at this pace the way they have been. Equality, equity has always come into play. You know, when you when you talk about self serve, we’ve seen the self serve model come in other industries, you know, let’s not look further than financial industry and, you know, at one point stockbrokers were the only ones that could trade on the market now anybody has access to the stock market and trading stocks, etc, right? So

Brad Breininger:

Can we get GameStop? Gamestop is the result.

Gabi Gomes:

Right. So I think that, you know, that it equality for everybody will come, obviously, you know, an Apple Watch years ago is was way more expensive than it is today that we’ll eventually get there. And that should always be a question about, you know, making a fair and equitable for everybody, just like I think we, we made a comment earlier, the web started off and Google started off very, and Facebook and all the other platforms started off very, you know, equitable in terms of opening it up to everybody, right. But at the end of the day, that’s where they all started. But that’s not where they are right now. And we will get to a point at least with health where the dollar matters, right? And how do you turn, you know, something good, that is for your health, into a profit somehow.

Marko Zonta:

Yeha, and some of that technology is really there to to enhance life, right? Like it’s not, you know, to your point earlier bread, like, I don’t think that it’s there to, to make you worry about your health, it’s basically supposed to be in the background, just kind of monitoring things like really simple example, or old people who are, you know, potentially in a situation where they may fall, and you can actually get devices to detect that somebody fell, and they can actually call an emergency number wonder lying on the ground kind of thing that was all kind of incorporated into a simple watch, like a wearable that can actually do that, plus do a few other things. I think that that’s where the value really comes in. Right? Like it’s, it’s, it kind of gives you peace of mind, and family member’s peace of mind that, you know, if you have let’s say, an elderly parent or some other situation, that perhaps there is a device there that will alert you that there’s something wrong, right. So and I think that that goes a long way. And I really think that people are actually quite willing to spend some money in that space. But to Gabi’s point, like I think, as it becomes more available, it will get cheaper in price and more available to everybody.

Brad Breininger:

But from a marketing and branding perspective, kind of bringing it back to what we know and what we do. what’s clear is that brand and marketing has to be used to get that messaging across. I mean, and to your point of what you were just saying, Marco one of the most famous marketing phrases of all time is held by fallen and I can’t get up like it’s, it’s it’s part of the it has become part of the vernacular in when people talk about it. And then people kind of make fun of it. But the reality is, is that that used to be a big problem that has been solved by technology and solved by a lot of foray into the healthcare space. But are we using branding and marketing? And and I guess profit making in the healthcare and healthcare Jason industries? Is that pushing us forward? Or is it causing a bigger rift in what is available? Or is it driving the future of technology? I mean, I think that there’s good and bad to everything. But you’re right, these organizations still have to be able to make money. If I’m developing technology, or I’m developing a new drug, I need to know that I can I make money from it? Or do I? Is it about creating profits? Or is it for the betterment of humanity? Or where do you think that we need to go when it comes to brand in health care? What do you think is more important,

Gabi Gomes:

I would always want it to be exactly that trust, health, and not the almighty dollar.

Jeremy Linskill:

Like I was just I was just thinking about it, too. Like if we’re talking you know, it, I think it’s a responsibility of these brands to build that trust. Because if I’m sorry, just Blue skying it but if you’re thinking about that whole thing of like where you’re checking your EKG on your phone all the time, and you’re doing that, well over time, if that brand, build enough trust, what it may be able to do is actually be allowed to monitor you and let you know, when you need to be concerned about your health. Right now we’re in a place where we have to check it because we’re not comfortable giving all of our privacy away to everybody. But these brands and the development of that that trust, maybe one day, it’s like I put that watch on my wrist. I don’t check it at all. It tells me when I need to be concerned. Right. So and I think

Gabi Gomes:

And to your point here, I think one of the things that is absolutely key in this particular industry, when it comes to technology is that privacy and security. This is a slippery, slippery slope in this particular industry, who owns your health information on that watch, who owns You know, that lab test if that lab test is connected to some hospital or your health practitioner or whatnot, how is that securely transmitted or virtual care? You know, and the information that you have with your doctor there over video, where is that information is secure all that and that’s one thing that I personally will be keeping an eye out on. I’m not one to I’m not an early adopter. I think all of you guys know what I kind of wait for the second iteration to have anything to kind of come out with got your own right? That’s right. So I’m always like second iteration, because I’m always looking for those particular loopholes. Whatever has is the secure is this, you know, going to protect my privacy, who owns my information to that point.

Brad Breininger:

But to that point, you know, Jeremy, you bring up a really good point, these brands could easily take us forward and give us something that would be very helpful to our lives. So we can be monitored in the background, if there’s a problem, they let us know. I guess the question is, is anyone ever going to trust a for profit corporation with that information? Is that something that is even possible? And what do you think these brands can do to build that trust so that it can get to that point? Because you’re talking about an opportunity to really push humanity forward and have something that is actually beneficial. But can we do that in the current structure of the way we we build brands and corporations,

Marko Zonta:

I think it’s absolutely possible for a brand to be trusted to that level. And I think that there are some brands out there that when it comes to security and privacy, they are absolutely trusted, because companies proven that they really stand behind that. And they are willing to fight even governments to protect their privacy and that data, because really, the the kind of the flip side of that is a theater companies for developing that we have to trust or learn how to trust because really, there is a lot of mistrust in governments as well, right? Because there are breaches of data or all kinds of issues on the government side. Because you know, in some cases, the government is behind when it comes to the technological developments and keeping things up to date and all that. So I think that when it comes to that part of it, people will trust brands to a certain level, but brands have to think about, you know, how they actually come across in terms of messaging, it’s not just about having a great looking brand. It’s it’s about messaging. And it’s about the user experience, I think the user experience here is a huge part of branding, whether it’s an app, or the overall customer journey, or patient journey, that I think is truly where brand comes into play in health.

Brad Breininger:

So we’re in a situation right now, where there is a huge segment of the population who doesn’t want to get a vaccine, and not even including where we were prior to some of the new knowledge that we have on side effects and things going on with certain vaccines. But even before that, there was a whole group of people that basically said, Sorry, I don’t I don’t trust the system to get my vaccine. So I’m not sure that brands are currently doing a good job at getting across, or building that level of trust and security. I mean, Gabi, you even said it yourself that you’re wary of some of the security issues? And who’s going to be, you know, in charge of that. But But what can brands do to overcome that? I mean, I think what you’re painting Marco is a very beautiful picture of brands with integrity, kind of taking over certain space or areas in the space. But for every one of those kinds of brands, there’s going to be another brand that is going out and lying are saying that this is what we’re trying to do because they’re trying to make money. So how do we manage that? And what can we do in order to build that very positive outlook for the future?

Marko Zonta:

You know, it’s interesting, because when we talk about privacy and concern about all of that, like, I find it so interesting how a lot of times people who are so concerned about privacy issues and all that stuff, they have no problem creating a Facebook profile and putting their life on the Facebook account, right? So it’s quite often the same people that are quite willing to actually give up everything for that entertainment value or, you know, being able to connect with their friends. But when it comes to something that actually matters, they are questioning everything. And I’m not saying that they shouldn’t question things. I’m not saying that at all. It’s just that I think that people need to put that in perspective.

Brad Breininger:

Okay, so perfect example of that. Kinder eggs are illegal in the United States, but you can buy your child a gun. That’s all I’m gonna say on that. So logic is not always an integral part of people’s decision making.

Gabi Gomes:

I will bring it back to this. So, me being the skeptical person. So parents got her vaccine. If anybody has got it up here, there’s two checkboxes that you have to check off on the form. One is that you share your information with the drug company, the pharmaceutical company, whoever the vaccine manufacturer wasn’t the other one was the government. The government one was an easy one, because the government one was to keep in contact with you, etc. Right? So can they reach out to Yes, obviously, that makes sense if something happens that they need to communicate on this, that that absolutely makes sense. But on the drug one, I was a bit skeptical and did not check that off for the sheer fact of what was that movie that we just saw it? Was it the social network, I can’t remember what it was. But if you’re not a social dilemma, right, where you are the product, and in this case, we are the product, right? They need our information. Well, that comes at a cost. We’re talking about billion dollar companies, you know, and I get that it’s all for the greater good, and getting a better vaccine or whatever, whatever, whatever. But at the end of the day, that brand is reaching out to me because they need something from me. And as such, they should, whatever pay for it, it kind of goes in line with I kind of Harken this to when you know brands reach out and they want my input and surveys, whatever. But there’s no like benefit to it. So you want me to take my 15 minutes of my time to give you feedback on your company so that you can make more profits. But yet, there’s nothing in it for me. I don’t know about that.

Brad Breininger:

So that’s a really good point, Gabi, obviously, the focus needs to be on trust, the focus needs to be on on building these brands. And I think that this is more important in healthcare than any other place, when you start to talk about people’s health, their well being cheering, because it’s one thing to put your pictures on Facebook, it’s another thing to have your blood in some database somewhere, what you know. So we’re that’s kind of your basic DNA. And I think that from a brand and messaging perspective, what comes to light is this idea that brands really need to understand, first of all, the issues that people have with sharing this kind of information. And also the level of trust that’s required for them to trust that I know, I personally putting my picture on Instagram is is one level. But sharing my blood and DNA information with an organization is another level. And I’m not saying that I wouldn’t do it or that I don’t understand the greater good. But one of the things that would be important to me, is understanding what’s going to be done with it. A lot of transparency in the messaging, a lot of understanding of what the bigger picture is. And I think that there are brands out there who are doing that, like if you look at Apple and their whole foray into the healthcare space, they are being very open with what they’re trying to achieve and what it is that they’re trying to accomplish. But I think for every Apple, there’s going to be another corporation that kind of sees a money making opportunity and jumps in and hopes to feed off of that trust that Apple has spent the time building and just goes in it for the money. So I think that’s one of the areas, right? I’m not saying that, but but I am saying that, you know, I think that there are opportunities for brands to create these relationships and have a lot of integrity and a lot of value and a lot of trust built up in society. But then there’s going to be others who swoop in and and it’s not going to be so simple. And I think that’s something that we’re gonna have to be very cognizant of, and very careful. Like you said, Christian, when you did that search for virtual health care, you know, a plethora of results came up, how do we determine which of those are the brands with integrity and the brands that understand what we’re trying to do and will guard our information in a good way, and which others are just buying ads in the hope that you’ll sign up and they’ll make some money off of you, you know what I mean? So that’s what’s going to be difficult for not only us to navigate as consumers, but for these organizations to navigate as brands if they’re trying to build that trusted persona out in the marketplace.

Marko Zonta:

And from that perspective, I think branding a company in that space into healthcare and wellness, transparency is a huge part of messaging, transparency, in terms of what they’re actually doing with any of that data. And the other part, I think is the user experience, he terms of how easy it is to actually navigate whatever the brand is offering and understand what they’re actually doing and where they’re going with that.

Brad Breininger:

Yeah, I think I think you’re right, Marko. I think transparency will be the more difficult one because corporations that hasn’t necessarily been a part of a corporation’s DNA to be transparent. When you look at patents and maintaining intellectual capital and all those kinds of things, transparency doesn’t necessarily lend itself to that. So in a way, as these health care organizations become more and more complex, and as they have access to more and more information, we’re going to have to figure out what new elements have to be put in place to allow for that trust to be built externally, but also for them to be able to kind of go out to the public in a way that the public is going to trust them. And that skeptical folks like Gabi aren’t going to go, No, no, Show me the money. Show me the money. I’m gonna share something.

Jeremy Linskill:

Show me the free iPad.

Brad Breininger:

That’s right. That’s right. So yeah. Last question. Last question on this topic, what advice can we give organizations? Because for all of the health care organizations that are popping up in the pseudo health care and the wellness organizations, there’s such a tie? What advice can we give them around building a brand that will be trusted by their consumers? What do they need to be thinking about?

Gabi Gomes:

Lead with integrity, lead with humanity at the forefront lead with best intentions and not profits? Frankly, but I don’t know that that that will ever be the case.

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC:

Transparency. That’s a must. And the other one is that they need to be clear about the value they provide. Because yes, in the end, you know that you’re buying a product from a multi billion company. Yes, they are working for profit. Yes, they’re selling watches, right. But if the value is good enough for them to earn your trust, then that’s something they need to focus on.

Marko Zonta:

The other thing I would add is just keep it simple. Keep your messaging simple, focused, really think about the user experience, because they don’t understand your industry as well as you do. They don’t know all the ins and outs. They just, they’re just worried about their own personal health, their own personal life. They’re busy. Keep it simple.

Jeremy Linskill:

Yeah, I completely agree simplicity all the way through, and taking the time and effort to do it. Right. Make sure your messaging is correct. Like don’t just throw things down, actually take time to shape them and mold them and make sure that you’re you’re getting all of the correct words across and keeping it clean and plain simple.

Brad Breininger:

Yeah. And I think if people understand what it is that you’re trying to do that will go a long way in helping them to trust what a lot of times what people don’t trust is when they feel like they’re being hoodwinked or, or they’re being fed a lot of legal ease that they don’t understand. And it’s kind of like I, I’m not really understanding what’s going on here. So so I need to I need to know more. Traditionally, when it comes to brand and marketing, it’s been about, it’s been about selling, it’s been about choose us over them, it’s been about take a look at our product and how good it is. And here’s all the features and benefits. I think that there are elements of that to healthcare branding, but there are some additional things that have to be considered. One is the transparency we talked about. Another is the security and the safety and the integrity of the information that we’re sharing. So I think that anyone in the healthcare, healthcare adjacent or wellness areas needs to be thinking less about the traditional forms of branding, and making sure that those are covered, but also starting to think about, what does this mean to people on a much deeper level? This is not just putting your pictures up on the internet, this is this is about your blood, sweat, and tears, like literally, how do we make sure that when we’re building brands in this area that we’re getting that across, and that we’re we’re building that integrity, we’re building that transparency, within a structure of a corporation that traditionally has not allowed for that we still have to protect intellectual capital, we still have to protect patents, we still have to allow the organization to make money so that it can pour that money into research and development and keep moving forward. But I think as we build the brands in this area, we need to be very cognizant of the fact that not everybody is looking at these things in the same way, and that there are multiple audiences. If you’re creating a life changing vaccine, there are still going to be people even if you’re on the side of the angels, there’s still going to be people who are questioning whether you’re telling the truth or not. There are still going to be conspiracy theories floating around the things that we’re injecting nanobots into people’s bloodstream, there’s still going to be people who are wondering what is going to happen? And do I have all of the information. So I think the onus is on these organizations to be even more focused on what it is that they’re trying to get across to be much more focused on who they are as organizations and really taking their mission, vision and values and not just putting it up in a frame behind their reception desk, but actually living these things and making sure that people understand what It is about these organizations that will build that trust. So to your point earlier, Jeremy, we can move the needle forward, we can use our forays into technology and healthcare to drive humanity forward and still be able to make money and support people and have jobs and do all of those things that the corporations have done in the past. So there has to be a really strong balance between the economics and the integrity going forward. And I think that that’s going to be key so that we can build healthy brands for healthcare. And in order to do that in the best possible way we have to be focused on those things. So that’s this week of Everything is Brand. Join us next week you topic you discussion. And remember, everything is brand, even healthcare.

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