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Marketing healthcare? How to build consumer trust


Who hasn’t Googled their symptoms at some point to try and self-diagnose an illness or injury? As consumers, we have access to an abundance of health information on the internet and we’re prepared to use it.

Health at our fingertips: in theory, this level of easy availability and control for users can be positively life-changing. However, it's important to acknowledge that the internet can both empower and mislead people.

This is especially worrisome for those who are already vulnerable and searching for solutions to their health issues. While there are many reputable sources of health information online, the abundance of unreliable or harmful information has turned the internet into a chaotic and unregulated space for health advice.

Consumers’ trust in the healthcare system has been shaken during the pandemic. Misleading and false information, lack of consistent messaging, communications missteps and voids, cyberattacks… the confidence picture isn’t pretty out there. Forrester predicts it’s this lack of trust that will cause more patients to avoid treatment, which will further impact population health and the economic health of the industry.

It's fair to say that building trust with consumers has never been more important for healthcare brands.

It starts with branding

While branding is important in all industries, it is particularly crucial in healthcare. Patients have more choices than ever before, with numerous direct-to-consumer healthcare brands emerging every day, offering a wide range of solutions to meet patients' healthcare needs at a time when the NHS is struggling to recover from pandemic backlogs.

The first step is to differentiate your offering from competitors and establish a unique identity that resonates with patients. A clear brand identity can communicate the values, vision and mission of the healthcare provider, which helps patients understand what to expect from their product or service.


Provide valuable content

According to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer report on Trust and Health, a lack of information is second only to cost when considering the biggest barriers to better health. Globally, 48% cite a lack of information compared to 55% who say they can’t afford good healthcare outcomes.

Good quality content provides brands an opportunity to address this need and build trust. 83% of responses to the report said they expected healthcare brands to play a meaningful role is their own health, the highest of any business sector.  

So, let’s breakdown what elements are crucial to any healthcare brand’s content marketing strategy:

  • Educational content: By creating educational content that provides patients with valuable information about their health, healthcare brands can demonstrate their expertise and commitment to patient care. This can help build trust by showing that they care about patient outcomes, rather than just making a profit.
  • Transparency: By publishing content that is transparent about pricing, procedures and outcomes, you can help patients feel more informed and confident in their decisions. Transparency can also help build trust by showing that healthcare companies have nothing to hide.
  • Patient testimonials: In sharing patient testimonials and success stories, brands can demonstrate their track record of providing quality outcomes and positive patient experiences. Patient testimonials can help build trust by showing that healthcare providers are dedicated to improving patient’s lives.

Regardless of which type of content you’re working on, one factor remains key – tone of voice. One of the key content findings in 2023 Edelman report is treating your audience as an equal. 60% say that they want to see that any research was based on people similar to them, with 62% wanting companies to explain how the product fits with their life by being empathetic to their problems.

Connect with your audience

Any marketing campaign – but especially in healthcare – needs to be built around targeting the right audiences. Of course, everybody is a ‘consumer’ in the health industry – but the over-55s will naturally be the primary focus.

This age group often feel ignored in advertising and that most brands don’t market to them effectively. Older consumers are often more sceptical of marketing messages and require more convincing before they put their trust in a brand.

Using long-form content in the publisher environment allows you to create engaging, trusted content that reaches all demographics, and can be easily tailored for more mature audiences.

Get in touch today to understand the potential of branded content for building trust in your healthcare brand.