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By Abdalla Yousef, Senior Account Manager, Serviceplan Experience
In the age of constant communication, brands are no longer expected to remain silent on issues outside of their perceived scope of expertise. Many of today’s most successful brands take a stand on topics ranging from global warming to political conflicts.
Look at Nike’s “Dream Crazy” advert featuring Colin Kaepernick, which took an unwavering stance on racial justice, or P&G’s commitment to establishing gender equality. How about Ben & Jerry’s clear public position on voting rights, climate justice, and more?
Even though these brands’ products have little to do with the issues they are advocating for, they still choose to use their platform to highlight their brand identity in a way that is grounded in real-world issues. This not only helps raise awareness about these issues, but it also shows their customers who exactly they are and what statement they want their products to be making.
Thinking in the same vein, brands can also use their platform to raise awareness about life-threatening diseases and other important healthcare topics. Any brand, regardless of whether or not they are directly related to the medical field, can choose to raise awareness about or advocate for a particular healthcare concern that they feel passionately about.
How can a brand find the right strategic approach to stepping into healthcare marketing even if their product focus is not in the medical field? A number of brands already use their voice to raise awareness about healthcare issues – showing their customers that they truly care about their wellbeing. There are two key approaches that brands take to healthcare communication.
First, they create their very own healthcare-related campaign, and include experts on the topic to convey accurate information to their target group.
Let’s look at MINI Middle East’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign as a masterclass in how brands, regardless of their products, can help save lives through this first approach. For two weeks during the month of October, MINI Middle East partnered with Dubai-based breast cancer survivor, Dina Aman and invited women to a special test drive with Dina. The women would drive the official test drive car, an unmissable pink MINI with the words ‘Circle around. Look for unusual bumps’ written on the side, around different roundabouts in Dubai. This clever campaign not only reminded women of the life-saving task of checking for early signs of breast cancer, but it also gave them the opportunity to learn about Dina’s experience and how she remained strong in the face of unimaginable adversity. Although on the surface cars have little to do with breast cancer, MINI Middle East exemplified their ethos of Big Love by finding a creative way to keep their audience safe while also promoting their products.
Second, brands collaborate with diverse entities, from business communities to mental health centers, to address pertinent issues their audiences are struggling with.
A perfect illustration of this technique is Dubai Science Park’s ‘Hostages of Depression’ campaign. Serviceplan Middle East collaborated with Dubai Science Park and Thrive Wellbeing, a leading mental health clinic in the U.A.E., to raise awareness about the symptoms of depression and encourage those who are suffering to seek help. With the intention of tackling the stigma against mental illness in the Middle East, the key message of this campaign was that depression is not the fault of the person struggling. For example, oversleeping is one of the clearest signs of chronic depression, and yet over 66% of cases of depression go undiagnosed. As a result, the depressed individual falls further into self-doubt and away from recovery. ‘Hostages of Depression’ aimed to show people that what they may be mistaking for personal flaws could actually be symptoms of a debilitating mental illness and emphasize the importance of seeking help. Though Dubai Science Park, a community for healthcare and business professionals, does not explicitly work on mental health related issues, this campaign aligned with the company commitment to creating lasting, positive change in people’s lives.
The campaigns of MINI Middle East and Dubai Science Park illustrate just two of the many ways your brand can help save lives by supporting the awareness of serious illnesses; by creating your very own healthcare-related campaign or by collaborating with diverse entities to address pertinent issues These campaigns also showcase how brands can go about saving lives: by running an awareness campaign about a specific illness, more people will become aware of the disease, which may in turn lead to patients getting diagnosed and treated more quickly and accurately.
Both approaches clearly demonstrate that brands don’t have to be limited to the confines of their products and how their goods can add value to people’s lives; there are a myriad of opportunities for brands to showcase that they truly care about their customers’ wellbeing, beyond sales and profits. Nevertheless, a campaign that focuses on something else other than the brand’s profitability can simultaneously increase your customer loyalty, the positive reputation of your brand amongst both your target group and potential new audiences, and support from the general public for your brand.
We encourage your brand to seize these opportunities and either start or continue spreading awareness about healthcare topics that will change the course of people’s lives for the better.