Whether you are trying to sell shoes or providing healthcare services, all well-known brands have found success by telling a consistent brand story that provides a sense of credibility and comfort with their audience. Marketing is the art of storytelling – and by crafting a compelling brand narrative, you can build a patient population that is truly invested in your clinical research site. People innately want to feel attached to their surroundings, and clinical research sites can tap into these ingrained human emotions by telling their own story. By humanizing your research site, you allow patients to feel like they are a part of and invested in your site’s success versus just having a simple, transactional relationship. This is where brand loyalty comes in, and brand loyalty can help grow your site’s reputation and revenue.
When thinking about your brand and building your credibility, start by asking yourself what your research site is truly trying to achieve. How does this align with your patients’ wants and needs? Finding the connection between those two things will help you begin building a relevant and authentic brand. When doing these things, keep in mind the five essential elements of branding: authenticity and consistency, knowing your audience, communicating the problem you solve, building your character, and connecting with your community.
Authenticity & Consistency
When discussing health information, people want to feel safe and comfortable. This is why humanizing your site and being authentic and consistent is so important in the clinical research space. It is essential to have a solid idea of what your site’s core values are, and to display them to your patients. Ask yourself, “What does my site offer and how is it different from my competitors?” Think about what drove you to start your research site to give yourself ideas about how to answer this question. After asking yourself this question, make sure that your answers are clear to your community. They should be clearly stated on your website, social media pages and marketing collateral. There should be clear, concise, and easy to understand literature that your patients can find across all your media sources. This messaging should be authentic and provide a story that your patients are able to engage and connect with. A story that resonates is remembered more frequently and will provide the best results. Having a simple phrase that helps illustrate this point will help keep this messaging consistent across all platforms. This includes social media pages, tangible marketing collateral, and your website.
Know Your Audience
To ensure your brand story will impact your patient population, you will need to research your patient population to understand what will resonate with them. The use of research doesn’t have to be costly to your site and you can use resources that are already available to you. Gather information by asking your patients directly through social media or email blasts to your current patient database. Ask them what matters most to them when it comes to healthcare and what studies they are most interested in. You can also obtain patient data from previous studies in which you enrolled patients. Pulling data from your past studies can be a good indicator of what types of patients have already expressed interest in your site. There is a good chance that more people like them would be interested in your site as well. Looking at the demographics of the city or area where your site is located can also be useful. It’s important to know the demographics that surround your site so you can better target the right population.
Once you have created your authentic story and identified who your target audience is, you need to get your messaging out into the world. If you have a great narrative but no way of telling it, then what is the point? When it comes to consumer marketing, it is important to play into the selfish nature of humans. People only buy or try something that is applicable to them. Through messaging, you must explain how you can benefit your patients and what they have to gain from participating in your trial. Tell your patients what they will gain from it, if there is compensation involved, if they would be assisting in cutting-edge treatment, etc. Don’t forget to include essential information about when, where, and how they can participate. Keep the messaging clear and concise. Having too much text in one place can deter people from reading it all, so keep the information more scarce on platforms like social media, and then include all necessary details on your website. Having a good website, even if it is only a simple landing page, is crucial. It is a great place to easily store and give information to your patients. If you haven’t already read our blog on website redesign, we highly recommend taking a look.
Build Your Character
At this stage, your brand story should already be developed, and your patient population should be narrowed down. If your character and tone do not resonate with your target audience, it won’t do your brand any good. Your tone should portray a sense of credibility and trust. It is important to use language that is clear and concise, without being too scientific or confusing.
Brand character is not limited to the tone used on your website, but it is a comprehensive package that includes everything from the imagery on your marketing collateral to the way you answer patient phone calls. You should be cognizant of the language being used on your website, print collateral, social media posts, and in person. Not only will this help drive consistency, but it will also help control the experiences your patients have with your brand.
Connect with Your Community
There are many ways that you can tie social media into connecting with your community. Make sure your social media pages are up to date with information including your logo, hours, location, contact information, information about your clinical research site, and regular, refreshing posts.
Posting information about clinical trials and relevant industry news is great content, but there are many other ways to connect with your community on social media. Post photos of your staff both at work and outside of work. Promote other businesses in your area, and talk about what is going on in your community. Post questions that are engaging and will start positive conversations. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising, and the single biggest predictor of whether people will buy into your brand is if they have heard of you before. Staff members should also be aware of keeping a positive demeanor when they are answering the phones or if they run into patients in the community; their work does not always get left at the office.
In the world of clinical research, trust and brand credibility are crucial. By following these five essential elements of branding, your site can begin to build a relevant and authentic brand. Building brand credibility isn’t easy, but if your site takes the time to do it, it can pay off in a big way.