22 Feb 22 | 10:48:10
Or is your branding just a little outdated and in need of some TLC?
At Podymos we know how important a brand can be for a company, so we have written this article in order to help answer a few questions that we often hear from our clients.
A brand isn’t just made up of a logo and colour scheme, it’s so much more than that and these elements are simply the tip of the iceberg. A brand encompasses everything that a company is. It’s an external expression of the internal vision and mission which runs deep into the core of a company.
Medical Device companies can often find themselves competing with similar companies with products that achieve similar results. The immediate urge when posed with this dilemma is to focus solely on the differences between the devices, but branding offers an alternative.
Whilst addressing physical differences is important, branding can help companies to be differentiated in the mind of the customer in a way that isn’t necessarily expressible. It’s more of a feeling – a loyalty that is created as the customer feels they know who the company is and what they stand for.
Think of a brand as being like a person. It has likes and dislikes, beliefs, and a vision of what the future will look like, and this is what potential customers can relate to and connect with. Logos, colour schemes and tone of voice are just the tools used to convey this.
When strategic branding underpins all marketing activities it forms the foundation that everything else is built on, providing direction on what a company should talk about and how they should interact with customers.
Without branding leading marketing decisions there is a risk of becoming a ship lost at sea with no real direction.
Consumers want more from brands than ever before, in fact nearly two thirds of consumers seek connection with a brand.
Connections breed trust, which in turn creates customer loyalty, the importance of which can’t be overstated. Look around your home at the brands you buy and consider why you buy them.
Your brand gives your customers a reason to intentionally buy from you over others. It’s far too easy for potential customers to compare multiple companies at once to decide which one to buy from, so when one stands out as having values and beliefs that are relatable, it makes a big difference.
Having a strong set of brand guidelines that includes everything about a brand, from tone of voice and logo to who the brand is, will ensure that all materials, whether online or physical, are consistent.
Consistency is the key to being recognisable, which leads to being memorable.
Ensuring that potential customers can look at something your company has produced and instantly relate it to you increases the chances of being remembered, and them getting in contact when you solve the problem they have. Beyond that though, having a consistent look and feel will seem more professional, and therefore more trustworthy to potential customers.
A brand encompasses everything about a company, from company culture to how employees answer the phone, how they act and maybe even what they wear. This ensures that every touch point has an impact.
This also builds employee loyalty as the brand they work for aligns with their beliefs and values, providing direction and motivation.
It enables them to feel that they are part of something special!
It’s vital to start with the internal brand to really understand the company and ensure the external expression is authentic.
It’s important to note that branding is not who a company wants to be, but who they already are. If a company tries to portray themselves as something they aren’t, it can do more harm than good as it comes across as inauthentic.
Consumers are extremely savvy these days and will disregard you quickly if they do not believe you are being truthful.
For instance, Apple and Tesla are two extremely well-known brands and companies often want to strive to be like them, but if it isn’t authentic then customers may lose that connection and trust.
The focus should mainly be on the present, but if for example a company is planning on doing community outreach in the future, the branding might nod to that.
This is the company’s goals beyond monetary gain. Not all companies necessarily have a purpose, but often medical device companies do have a strong purpose for existing, such as making it possible for patients to live longer and more fulfilling lives with their friends and family. This purpose can really help to identify a brand’s main characteristics.
A company’s vision is where they are planning to be in the future. It is what they are striving towards. For instance, phrases like, ‘in 10 years, we will be…’ demonstrate the vision.
A company’s mission is how they will achieve their vision. It’s what they do every day to get there. There are often the company’s strategic pillars.
Mission and vision are interconnected and need to work together, for instance you can’t have one without the other. Without a vision, you will struggle to guide your daily activities (mission), but without a mission you have no way of achieving the vision.
Positioning consists of getting to know the customers and how to appeal to them and then getting to know competitors, so that companies can differentiate themselves and stand out. It’s about finding a niche. What are the customers’ needs and wants and how can you, and you alone, address them? External interviews and competitor research can help to consolidate positioning.
It’s important there isn’t a disconnect between what a company believes their brand is and what the customers think their brand is, because at the end of the day its customers that companies should be trying to appeal to more than anything.
Companies must understand their customer, their likes, and dislikes and how they would want to digest information. This is where a brand really starts to gain substance as they seek to form an emotional connection with their potential customers by addressing their needs, but more importantly their emotional wants. This attention to detail helps companies to stand out from the competition.
Understanding the current market and competitors is just as important as understanding the customers. Companies need to know not only know who their customers are, but they also need to understand their own unique selling points, so that they can find what makes them separate from competitors.
There is no point in trying to go head-to-head with competitors, instead it is better to create a competitive difference that is something to shout about.
A useful tool when creating competitive positioning is looking at brand categories and ladders. Companies should always strive to be in a brand category where they are in the top position. A great example of this was FedEx, who dominated the overnight delivery category.
Once a company understands their customer, it’s time to decide how they will appeal to and interact with them. The easiest way to do this is through developing a brand persona. A brand should be like a fully-fledged person that you can picture in your head. This will help to establish a clear brand voice, chosen based on the internal branding.
The book ‘Brands and Bullshit’ perfectly exemplifies this. It discusses the internal branding of Amazon who felt their brand characteristics were best represented by a boutique concierge who would always remember their customers’ names and provide amazing service.
Having this persona guided the team at Amazon on brand elements such as one-click purchase and remembering customers each time so that they never had to re-enter their login details. It’s fair to say that Amazon changed the game, and it was all guided by branding.
Archetypes can be used to help companies consolidate their brand persona and create a set of guidelines for external expression. They are a set of common personality types that are considered innate and hereditary.
It’s believed that every person fits into 1 of the 12 archetypes that were laid out by Carl Jeung to simplify archetype groupings. When using them in branding, they can give a company consistency and make them compelling to their audience.
Once a company has identified their brand’s characteristics and traits, they can look for the archetype(s) that they align with (1 archetype is always stronger than 2, but if a company is best represented by 2, ensure no more than a 70:30% split or the powers of archetypes will become diluted).
Some of the common archetypes we see in medical device marketing include:
Choosing one of these categories will give a company a clearer image of their brand and therefore how to convey it. If you would like to learn more about archetypes for branding, we recommend The Hero and The Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson. This is an excellent introduction into the almost magical world of archetypes.
If you want to learn more about Archetypes, we recommend our article on Archetypes in Medical Device branding.
This should comprise of the company’s tagline, their core messaging, their stories, and the way in which their copy is written. Is the tone always formal? Is there a playful element to it? These are some of the things to consider when creating guidelines for verbal expression of medical device branding.
This is when the logo finally comes into play, but it isn’t simply about looking good. All a brand’s visual elements should be an expression of the company and what it stands for. It should add to the brand story and appeal to the target customer. All elements of effective visual branding should link back to the core message in some way. For a deeper dive into external expression of your brand, check out our article on how to digitally present MD brands.
Branding messages can be distributed across all channels, including social media, websites, emails, and congresses. This is how a company becomes recognisable, and more importantly, memorable.
Although there are more stages and lots of detail that go into creating a successful brand, we have outlined the main structure of brand development. If you have any more questions about medical device marketing that you would like us to address, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Podymos is a healthcare marketing agency, specialising in downstream Medical Device marketing. We’re more expensive than non-specialised agencies and freelance teams because we only work in the Medical Device space so we have specialist knowledge and experience that other agencies may not be able to offer you.
If you want high-quality, compliant campaigns that help achieve your business goals, we’d love to hear from you. Simply leave us your contact details below and we’ll get back to you very soon for a no-obligation chat.
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.