A good story takes us on a journey. It engages our curiosity. With a well-told story, the audience can imagine themselves as part of it. Stories help us make sense of our world and how we function in it. Crafting a well-told story in health care is both an art and a skill. More importantly, it’s a necessity. Telling authentic and oftentimes human-centered stories helps you drive relevance and inspire action among those you want to reach.
“Telling stories about the experiences of patients and health care professionals is well-established as an effective means of engaging others …”
When you tell your brand’s story through a compelling narrative, you help others understand the driving force behind your business — why you do what you do — and why they should care.
Brand stories give customers reasons to choose you over others.
As in many markets, health care is a crowded space. New entrants, new ways of doing things and new paradigms challenge existing norms daily. Your audiences deal with a cacophony of brand noise and confusion. Elevating your brand takes more than shouting, “Pick me.” Instead, it’s important for your audiences to see and understand how their needs and values align with your products and services and, most important, your values as well.
As defined by Aristotle centuries ago, the elements of a good story arc are essentially unchanged and translate well to a health care story:
- Plot – Your brand story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Why you exist, your origins, how those elements have led you to where you are, and how you meet health care challenges and opportunities.
- Character – What are your traits, your differentiators? How are those reflected in your values, products or services and the experiences that your health care audience will have with you?
- Conflict or theme – Your audience must see themselves and their need as the central element to the story. Their search — the conflict — draws the audience to seek you. This is true whether the audience is a patient searching for a provider, an employer seeking solutions to manage health care costs, a health plan looking for innovative technology solutions, or a health system seeking improvements in care delivery.
- Dialogue – How do you represent what you do, how you do it, and why you do it through your words and actions? In health care, trust is key. Is your brand merely talking the talk or are you also walking the walk? This is your opportunity to demonstrate proof of brand action.
- Melody or Chorus – To be compelling, your brand story must resonate on many levels with your audiences. A robust health care brand story stirs emotions and motivates action. It breathes life into convictions and creates believers and brand champions.
- Décor – No longer the setting or physical environment as in Aristotle’s time, décor now also equates to experience. Décor, or experience, spans the entire journey, every touch point. All of them fold into the impressions, perceptions and value of your organization’s brand story. What are the obstacles or opportunities available to your users, and how are you helping them to navigate those?
- Spectacle – With today’s fraught health care environment, plot twists and turns seemingly abound. Health care organizations must demonstrate the ability to translate the complex into the simple to create meaningful interactions. Framing that ability in a story arc gives your audience something they will remember. And it demonstrates your insights into their needs and their lives.
“Messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just the facts.”
Building and telling your story is an essential element of your health care brand.
Creating the brand story for your health care organization helps humanize and make you relatable. Showing people why you exist, what you stand for and why they should care creates a compelling invitation for your audience to be a part of that story.