By Croom Lawrence
Head of Healthcare Strategy, Americas

23 Jun 21

Two major trends will shape the next few years between consumer behavior and brand response. The first is the sense of ‘universal activism’ among consumers, especially post-COVID 19 pandemic crisis. Influential consumers, and those who seek care, will increasingly drive their brand decision making based on a new range of influences and causes from climate change to improved nutrition and the burgeoning desire for disease eradication, life extension and simply living better longer.

As a result, we predict every brand will become a health brand. Beyond just appealing to health interested consumers, brands must align with the values that drive brand choice. Brands that don’t see themselves and their impact on the environment, to clothes we wear to the food we eat, much less the medications we take, will miss out on the #1 trend in consumer branding over the next decade. 

Health activism expands beyond traditional ‘patient’ activism. In most health conditions, an activist segment has long been seen as key influencers within each disease state. These sophisticated, information-infused opinion leaders regularly endorse or critique the medical breakthroughs steaming from Rx and health tech pipelines. Often complemented with non-profit leaders – think NMSS or KOMEN who have brought millions together to advocate for improved treatment and care – receiving their endorsement is a key plank in the CMO survival guide.

Health Brands as Lifestyle Partners. As progress is made in eradication of disease, and preventative care mitigates traditional chronic illness, living better longer means your chronic care brands must achieve ‘partner’ status to secure loyalty and brand choice. Brands will do a better job of selecting the best customers-patients for them, and likewise with an explosion of choice, consumers will select the best health brands that aligns with their values and wellness goals. 

Can this be predictive?  We think yes. Nearly half of people globally believe that over the next five to ten years, they will use technology to predict what will happen to their health. As a result, we believe all brands must acknowledge their role in facilitating or negatively impacting health, and be prepared to prosper or face increasing scrutiny, and disruption from innovators offering more healthful alternatives. This applies to all categories, well beyond the siloed domains of pharma, hospitals, payers, and pharmacy.

Securing long term health and well-bring will be an increasing goal in purchase decisions for many consumers going forward. An increasing use of predictive tools and wearable devices will also help consumers gain insights into future health risks and to help preempt future care needs. All brands will be subject to these additional filters on how all brands will impact personal health.  

A strong health opinion and brand voice must be developed by brands to harness and align with the needs of Health Activists, to harness them in a positive way, and to build trust among actual patients and consumers of care.  Good news is many ‘new to health’ brands successfully defined their brand voice during the COVID era.  Extending this voice and continuing to lean into these unstoppable trends will help increase engagement, build relationships, and ultimately trust and satisfaction with true medical breakthroughs and consumer ‘health’ brands alike. And that’s good for business.

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