It’s easy to get caught up believing that merely having an excellent medical device product will help your medical device company gain market share and solidify its bottom-line.
However, by being a part of the hyper-competitive Life Science industry where the biggest companies such as Medtronic and GE Healthcare invest hundreds of millions into branding, just developing a great product will not result in automatic profit.
Building a powerful medical device brand is just as important as having a great medical device product. It is not farfetched to conclude that having a great product is only half of the work to be done in the journey to profitability and solidifying a company’s position in the marketplace. Building a strong brand doesn’t only guarantee that a company can launch scalable new devices, it also helps the company build a path to sustained growth through brand trust.
Why is building a powerful brand for a medical device important?
Think of the most recognizable brands that exist, like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola and Google. What makes them recognizable isn’t just the fact that they can deliver great products and services but also because they have turned branding into art that helps them grab attention and drive operational transformation.
Branding is an art, and building a powerful brand is an art form comparable to the most memorable music compositions of all time. Think Bach’s “The 48” or Beethoven’s “Eighth Symphony.”
It is almost a truism that the most profitable brands are not merely with the best products but also the ones with the strongest and most memorable brands who have built trust and customer loyalty over time.
So, what does this mean for medical device companies?
What is a strong brand, and why is it important to back a good medical device with strong art-form like branding?
Why do most people in the US choose an iPhone or install Google Chrome on their PCs that come with Microsoft Edge as a readymade option? The answer is familiarity – familiarity based on trust. People know what they’ll get from these products. Apple has a clearly defined vision “to make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it.” Apple also understands its target audience, and it has a consistent message “thinking differently” that it continually reinforces to its audience to build brand recognition and trust.
It shouldn’t be any different for a medical device company. In a hyper-competitive market such as the medical OEM market, the importance of a company standing out and differentiating itself through branding cannot be overstated. It helps a medical device company escape the pit of the monotonous way most medical OEMs market their devices.
A strong brand story sets a company apart from its competitors and gives it a competitive edge. Every medical device product has a story to tell. Thus, telling these stories to make the brand resonate and empathize with its target audience sets it apart from every other product in the same market.
It stops being about just “what” the device is or reeling out its functionalities, which is the “how,” but fully understanding the “why” and projecting the story behind “why” the company is doing what it aspires to do. Although “what the device does,” and “how it works,” might bear similarities with other offerings on the market, connecting with the target audience with a captivating story of the “why”(its point, its vision, and its purpose) helps the company differentiate itself in the minds of the skeptical potential customers.
Moreover, such a company gives itself an advantage by retaining the customer’s attention long enough to breed familiarity, which further builds trust with diligent reinforcement of its story and the stories of those associated with its brand.
How to build a strong brand for a medical device.
Building a memorable brand in a purported “boring industry” may seem like a daunting task for a medical device company. But that’s the great thing about building a brand. It is anything but boring, and setting your company apart can save your company from the industry tag.
Here are three ways to differentiate your medical device brand and control your narrative:
1. Find your “why.”
The medical device market has witnessed fast growth in recent years. In 2019, the global medical devices market had a market share of about $456.9 billion. Previously unmet pain points of patients triggered this growth. So, every company in the medical device industry will witness an equally competitive landscape where many medical OEMs will combat market share.
This is why it is so important for a medical device company to differentiate itself from its competitors offering the same or similar end product. This can be done by the company telling its own story and tying emotion to its brand. Legendary American salesman Zig Ziglar said, “People don’t buy for logical reasons; they buy emotions.”
While it is tempting for a medical device company to elaborate on why its device is better, or added functionalities, it is better to for the company itself to provide a brand experience to its potential customers by telling its story – its vision, purpose, and stories that are relevant to its target audience. These are stories only that company can tell.
Figure out your “why” and package it into a branding experience. The better stories told, the greater attention received. People do not make time out of their busy schedules to read about boring specifications which they already know industry regulation covers.
2. Know your audience.
Building a brand is a customer-centric undertaking. Your potential customers are the focus, and they must be given an experience. Fortunately, a medical device company doesn’t have to look too far to learn about its target audience. As a B2B medical device company, it’s fairly easy to identify your potential customers – healthcare practitioners and other healthcare industry stakeholders such as the procurement department in hospitals.
But it isn’t enough to just know your customers. You must also understand them, their pain points, what they need, what they are “googling,” and the most effective ways to reach them. Building a strong brand is a never-ending process. It must be continuously refined – not based on the current trends but centered on what the audience wants to hear, what gets their attention, what drives their buying decisions, what factors into such decisions, etc. Knowing your customers allows you to craft a memorable experience for them every time they connect with or consume your brand.
3. Create a branding experience through content marketing.
To build a strong brand, a medical device company needs to be more than just its products – this brings us to branding as storytelling and using those stories as told by every product to craft a memorable experience for its target market.
Tongue depressors may have the same primary function, but some people are working to make it an even better, less intrusive device. Telling the stories about them will grab attention, and fortunately, the possibilities are endless.
Adopting a content strategy helps the company ensure the alignment of its message across multiple platforms. Diligent reinforcement of this message helps the brand familiarize itself with its target market and build trust. Trust becomes customer loyalty, which could be the difference between making one-time sales and having repeat customers, which helps the company maximize its return on investment into branding and marketing.
You can leverage content marketing to create a great brand experience by focusing on these three tactics :
- Webinars and video content: B2B webinar stats speak for themselves – 91% of B2B professionals rank webinars as their favorite video content, and 49% of B2B buyers engage with video content before they make buying decision. This is due to the amount of research that goes into making B2B purchase decisions. A study also revealed that at least 20% of webinar participants are transformed into qualified leads. Host informative memorable webinars that address the interests and solutions to challenges of your target audience.
- Targeted content on social media: This tactic is important for lead generation – more than 53% of B2B buyers reveal social media influences their buying decisions. A presence on social media is also crucial for SEO and link building – 83% of marketers who have used social media for five or more years “agree” or “strongly agree” that it has led to more organic traffic on their website. A strong presence on social media is also crucial to building strong brand awareness. According to recent research, brand names that are active on social media have a greater opportunity to be found by brand-new prospects.
Targeting curated content on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram doesn’t have to be boring. It puts a medical device company in a better place to tell its story and influence its perception in front of keen prospects.
- Inbound marketing: Inbound marketing plays a very important role in an effective medical device marketing strategy in 2021. According to this article, 41% of marketers agree that inbound leads produce a measurable ROI; 79% of companies that have a blog confirm a positive ROI for inbound marketing; 80% of business decision-makers say they prefer to get company information in a series of articles compared to advertisements.
Generating inbound leads helps the company further familiarize itself with prospects and retain its customers, turning them into loyal clients.
Every medical device has a story to tell, and every medical device company has a vision that drives it.
A strong brand connects to its audiences emotionally by telling the best stories it can tell consistently. It is an art that goes beyond the specifications and functions of its medical device. Instead, it is about creating an experience for the audience through alignment in messaging across the board, told as exciting stories that people want to know. That’s how to connect with the target market on an emotional level and build a strong brand.
At Insivia, we deliver scalable growth for medical devices. We understand that medical devices are unique in their audiences and regulation and know the challenges and opportunities involved. Our goal is to help you scale your medical product and business. Let us help you capture the market.