Healthcare is invasive, and its brand is fear.
Neither of these things make it fun for anyone to think about. But in a public overwhelmed by increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, healthcare is an important topic that deserves conversation. According to a panel moderated by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the way to change the conversation, is to rebrand it.
As Ryan Howard, Colin Lawlor and Dr. Dean Ornish spoke, a common solution arose, to do away with centering healthcare on the avoidance of death. Instead, brand health as a way to celebrate and fully enjoy life. They argued if people realize health is pleasure based, it’ll become a sustainable part of their everyday lives.
According to Lawlor, the way to make this change, is for the healthcare marketing to close its mouth, and open its ears. In doing so, they’ve been able to learn that people don’t think about preventative healthcare until someone they know, or they themselves have been recently touched by death, or the negative impacts of their lifestyle habits.
Though the panel’s members develop a wide variety of products, they found these new ideas of branding to be effective across their markets, and have begun implementing changes to reflect this new insight.
For Howard, this meant designing his product, that monitors heart health, to be sleek and look like an everyday watch. He said bulky, obvious monitoring systems stigmatize people. Instead, he wanted this technology to empower people to fearlessly explore, knowing they have a backup in case an emergency was to happen.
Dean has developed a series of lifestyle changes that reverse heart disease and reduce the need for heart transplants. He calls this method, “ultimate high tech, low tech intervention.” The program doesn’t use medication, instead the regimen consists of exercise, group support, healthy eating and low stress. One of the most important aspects behind this method, is developing a community of support. Dean says that the health epidemics of today are not obesity or heart disease, instead, it’s depression and loneliness. Creating a health culture that is holistically supportive creates a positive, more effective results. This has been supported by the fact that 90 percent of participants continue their lifestyle changes after a year in his program.
In his work, Lawlor fights against ignorance and denial of sleep deprivation. Lawlor has developed technology to track sleeping habits and use them as predictors to later health problems. He calls sleep a “performance enhancing drug,” and attempts to educate people on its importance in their lives. Further, using their collected data helps empower people to make better, personalized sleep decisions.
They believe if we are to create a positive health environment, it’s going to take all of us working together. They say that this creates an immersive health culture that acts as a positive kind of peer pressure.
If the advertising and healthcare worlds can collaborate to bring people together in aspiration, they can change the ideas and narratives surrounding preventative measure. According to the panel, this won’t only improve business, it’ll also improve the world.