Which 2015 Super Bowl commercial do you remember most? The one for asthma medication with the rambling list of side effects or the one with the cute puppy and its arduous journey back to his anxious owner? That determined lost pup made for a more impactful, emotional story, didn’t it? Since the days of campfires in the desert, people have been enthralled by provocative storytelling.
The audience is much more likely to remember interesting stories than cold, hard facts because of how the story made them feel. When people make an emotional connection with an organization or a brand, they are more likely to take the practical step of becoming a patient or a consumer of that brand.
A compelling story is engaging, and an engaged audience is more likely to act. It’s simple: an engaging story converts prospects into patients. It is true that in the healthcare field, we are obligated to provide certain facts, but there is no reason why those facts can’t be a part of a fascinating drama that captures the attention and imagination of the audience and moves them to action.
Authenticity matters. Using real people like patients, doctors, researchers, or caregivers in your marketing campaign allows your audience to place themselves in their shoes. There are satisfied patients and dedicated physicians within your system right now who have amazing stories to tell – seek them out and let them tell the world about your brand.
Facts are important, but facts are boring. Your audience doesn’t care about numbers as much as about how those numbers impact them. They need to relate to the real lives behind the numbers in order to understand why your brand is the best choice for them. A rich, genuine narrative is far more motivating then statistics.
Conflict raises the stakes and makes us invest in the characters. There is plenty of innate conflict and drama in healthcare and good storytelling is truly about saving lives. From the scientists behind the medication or engineers behind the diagnostic machines, to the nurse taking extra time with a nervous patient, to a mother placing her faith in her son’s team of doctors, drama “makes that little pill sitting in the palm of your hand more than just a brand. It highlights will, determination, and effort to bring this pill to market—something of a modern miracle,” explained Buddy Scarela of Ogilvy CommonHealth.
Compelling stories have the power to move. When the audience cares about how the story ends, about what happens to the “characters”, the connection it feels to the patients in your story will motivate them to action. A good story can be the difference between ignoring that lump or that ache and seeking the advice of a physician. Powerful storytelling can get them in the door. Today’s healthcare marketers are starting to grasp the importance of a good story. Be at the forefront of this movement and engage potential patients by telling your story.
As a healthcare marketer, you have a tremendous opportunity to positively impact the lives of patients and caregivers. Creating a successful campaign and capturing their attention can do more than pad your resume, it can save lives.
Storytelling goes beyond patient testimonials. A marketing story should be about relatable people, their equally relatable problems and how your brand solved them. What storytelling strategies do you use to create an emotional connection with your readers?