December 12, 2016

The difference design can make in communicating trust, safety and health

Medical and healthcare practices branding and marketing strategies

In today’s competitive healthcare market, the importance of having a brand that communicates trust, safety and health is paramount. All three are essential – yet nonphysical – aspects of your healthcare brand’s equity, and all three can be established and supported by the way your brand is designed (its look and feel).

Design can refer to the design of physical spaces, but today we’re focusing on graphic design across print and digital brand touch points. We have provided graphic design, branding and communications solutions for a range of healthcare brands over the years and what we’ve learned is that it’s impossible to underestimate the power that strategic design can have on a healthcare brand’s reach and resonance, especially in regards to building those three essential brand elements. Beyond that, sophisticated design can go a long way in supporting a healthcare organization’s reputation as an industry leader, especially as it relates to appearing cutting-edge, modern and forward-thinking. Communicating that your technologies or treatments are advanced will only be effective if your brand elements support that claim and appear equally as sophisticated.

Marketers often underestimate the importance of color and font selection. It’s no secret that our minds interprets different fonts and colors differently. Jarring, bright colors translate as intense and alarming versus the calming effect of soft and neutral shades; bold, sans serif typefaces in all caps can appear aggressive while serifed, lower case typefaces feel friendlier. Font designers strategically consider the emotional and psychological impact of their letter shapes, and a good graphic designer knows the importance of color psychology and font selection, especially when establishing something as important as patient trust.

Layouts and information organization are involved, too. A deluge of technical information is not what any visitor wants to encounter when looking at a brochure or a website, especially as they may be feeling distressed and are looking for help. Thoughtful information architecture is essential for even the smallest item; text and data must be presented efficiently, with just enough to communicate the essentials but not enough to overwhelm. That’s why it’s important for designers to be considerate of a healthcare organization’s key clients, so they can put themselves in the shoes of the audience in order to envision the most seamless, pleasant user experience.

Copy and text choices must be considered when looking at an organization’s graphic design, as well. Many healthcare marketers err on the side of sounding clinical to convey knowledge and experience, which unfortunately can feel cold and unfriendly to the viewer. Striking a balance between dry, technical information and friendly copy is important, so that your audience feels engaged and safe while also getting the facts.

The right graphic design has the power to counteract client stress, convey competence and sophistication and communicate friendliness, warmth and welcoming. Any brand element, whether its a website landing page, a rack-card, a neighborhood flyer, a billboard or a digital advertisement, can convey these feelings, which together establish a sense of trust in your brand. The options for establishing an immediate emotional connection with your target customers are endless, and it all begins with the right look and feel.

Last, it’s important to truly know the audience that your healthcare organization serves; you can tailor your brand experience to your target patient with this knowledge. The design, voice and photography (in fact, all creative brand elements) of a healthcare brand should differ greatly depending on whether it serves urban Boston families or a rural Virginia community; the branded experience offered to patients should be customized to put them in the focus. Demonstrating that your healthcare company has unique insight into their concerns and can be attentive to their unique needs can help your audience to feel safe and understood from the get-go. This feeling of initial trust helps build long-term brand loyalty.

Think about the words that you want a visitor or patient to associate with their experience at your organization; then, apply those words to the way your brand looks now. These words could include pleasant, reassuring, efficient, organized, clean. Does your brand support and enhance your ideal customer experience? It should. If there’s a gap between the appearance of your brand now and the way you want it to look, we encourage you to get in touch with us here – we’d love to talk with you about what you’re looking for and how our team may be able to help. To explore some of the work we’ve done for healthcare organizations, please visit this page!