How to Stand Out in the Wellness Space as a Pharma Brand


Key steps in relationship-building beyond just treatment options.

Jay Patel

Jay Patel
Executive vice president
of experience strategy
Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Wellness has gained significance in society today. Individuals are seeking more personalized and holistic approaches to their well-being, particularly as dissatisfaction by some with current healthcare approaches rises. Against this backdrop, pharmaceutical brands have the opportunity to embrace wellness, fill care gaps, and foster long-lasting relationships with consumers. This article discusses how brands can better understand their audiences and create offerings that are tailored to their needs.

How does wellness apply to pharma brands?

Brands have important roles and opportunities in today’s integrated health and wellness world. Besides the most important role of providing support to patients and healthcare providers (HCPs), there are many benefits to brands embracing wellness. These include setting themselves apart from the competition, fostering deeper relationships with their consumers, and establishing themselves as more aspirational and ethical brands.

To understand how to be an effective wellness brand, companies must understand what makes an effective HCP (as they operate similarly). A great HCP might recall important details about patients’ lives, proactively schedule appointments, and make people feel understood. They might even know about adjacent—but relevant—parts of people’s lives that impact treatment choices and their approach to health. In short, they give people time and attention without making them feel burdensome. It’s not just about the service but how they make patients feel when they provide care. Wellness experiences operate similarly.

Developing a wellness-minded brand

Successful healthcare and wellness brands use experiences to bring their messages to their audiences. In the best cases, these wellness experiences are tailored to benefit customers in various aspects of their lives. As more brands offer wellness experiences, consumers have come to expect it. Though brands are expected to provide these, it’s well worth the effort—doing so creates deep, lasting relationships with customers. The following are ways to get started in creating these wellness experiences:

1. Decode the audience. The audience must be understood at a very deep level to create a strong wellness experience. To do this, brands will need to mine comprehensive and reliable data. This might include customers’ health histories, personal behaviors, and segment-based affinities. The data must capture audiences’ healthcare circumstances, needs, and perspectives. By blending insights garnered from clinical and consumer data, brands can create strong foundations to build products or services that complement patients’ needs along their evolving wellness journey.

For example, the app Deaf 911 exists to help deaf individuals communicate in emergency situations. To create this app, the brand had to identify the holistic pain points of its customers and fully understand the unique situation facing its target audience.

2. Code the experience. After using data to decode the experience, brands must think about how to move their customers through every stage of their journeys using interconnected systems instead of siloed channels. Think about the before and after of every stage of the process and how they are all connected.

An experience, such as a supporting app, might be the incentive a customer needs to move from reading about a product or service to trying it. But it must also lead somewhere, coaxing the customer further in their journey. For example, to prompt the customer to recommend the brand and achieve the advocacy objective, a brand might offer a reward incentive for sharing the app with friends and family. Other interconnected experiences may include smart devices, implants, peripherals, digital assistants, home medical devices, etc.

3. Recode for wellness. Recoding requires a continuous improvement cycle. Brands must digest and implement customer feedback. This could look like using reviews as input into iterations of experiences and paying close attention to feedback in behavioral and solicited form. The goal is to identify patterns and additional pain points that can further improve and develop products or services.

By keeping patients’ and customers’ needs top of mind, marketers can transform their brands into ones that transcend mere treatment options to become trusted partners in the pursuit of wellness for patients and physicians. Over time, if a brand does this right, it can recode its relationship with its audiences and become a crucial part of their wellness journeys.

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