22nd July 2020: Right through March 2020, the everyday life of people changed from normal to extraordinary around the globe. Everyone seems to be more concerned about their health and immunity more than ever before. As such everyone, from healthcare workers to politicians to different brands, has had to become an effective health communicator during this crisis, with consumers looking for consistent, trustworthy information more than ever before. Community Pharmacists and online health and wellness providers are playing an expressively increased role in providing health-related advice. All these factors, in collective, are having a dramatic impression on the role and nature of healthcare communications. There are several healthcare brands who are also significantly participating in the same to leverage the cause. Effective communication is necessary to maintain this sense of awareness to sustain in the post COVID scenario too.
Commercialism and limpidity in healthcare have been increasing over the past few years and consumers – both patients and those seeking preventive/ wellness related advice, are now more apprehensive about the information, they have been receiving, and have become more proactive to confirm they are getting the best healthcare and advice. From wearable technology to smartphone apps on yoga, exercises, diet and weight loss, etc., are increasingly being adopted, enabling people to take more accountability for their own health. These trends now look set to grow exponentially, making healthcare more of a consumer domain then an eccentric domain controlled by certified professionals. This has now made it imperative, more than ever, for healthcare brands to communicate directly with the end consumer and create a long-term relationship through relevant communication campaigns.
Here’s how healthcare brands can leverage the opportunity to create a long-term brand engagement and loyalty with their customers through effective communication:
1. Build Brand Credibility: In times of a global health crisis, credible information is like currency. Especially when it comes to healthcare, which is one of the vital essentials, having a credible and trusted brand image is imperative for business. The right messaging, with relevant narrative, can go a long way in creating connections, and trust among consumers, irrespective of the product being sold. Customers today are also much more aware of the personality and ethics of a brand they endorse and thus, a well-crafted communication campaign can go a long way in building a credible brand image.
2. Increase Awareness: Spreading awareness among end consumers through an educative approach, is the need of the hour. PR and Communication campaigns can help effectively drive home the message through impactful narrative and create a lasting consumer connect. From basic Do’s and Don’ts to in-depth information about basic lifestyle diseases of adopting a more healthy lifestyle, modern healthcare brands can stay connected with their consumers through credible, consistent and relevant information sharing. Given the current the situation, healthcare brands, of all, have the maximum consumer attention and this can be leveraged by brands to the fullest, using relevant narrative which will focus on the wellbeing of the customers, in turn creating a top of mind recall and brand loyalty.
3. Ease of doing business: From building brand loyalty and creating a top of mind recall, healthcare brands can benefit from effective communication to explore collaboration, expansion, import-export, and other business growth opportunities in a smoother manner, given the brand image that has already been established. Further, post COVID-19 there will be a lot of manufacturing units being established in India for pharmaceutical and phytochemical or Ayurveda medicines. These are the opportunities that can be leveraged if there is proper brand recognition and presence through communication in the market. A robust clinical and engineering traction, noteworthy global exposure, an affirmative capital flow balance and attracting the right talent, are all benefits that can be accessed through successful brand recognition.
The Indian pharma Industry has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 15% over the last five years and growth trajectory remain at 10-13 per cent in 2020-21 despite challenges, according to rating agency Icra. The expected growth in the next financial year is on the back of healthy demand from the domestic market given increasing spend on healthcare along with improving access. A robust and well-planned communication approach can help individual brands to not only find a foothold and gain recognition but to also make the most of the growth potential offered by a positive market environment, within the healthcare sector.