Creating impact with community: the role of brand messaging in women’s healthcare
Maira Genovese of MG Empower looks at how to create safe spaces for women and plugs immersive research as an integral step to building healthcare brands.
Brands in women’s healthcare have a responsibility to listen and be credible / Bewakoof
Consumers are voting with their wallets more than ever; we have a responsibility and an opportunity as brands and marketers to push for change and, particularly in the case of women’s health, make room for discussions that are shy of judgment, stigma or doubt.
It’s clear that many topics in women’s health are still seen as taboo, or avoided altogether. When it comes to launching a brand, product or service in support of ’women’s health, it’s vital that we cover it in the most appropriate way. The most effective method to achieving this? Implementing a co-creation process with influential voices of the community.
The power of co-creation
The difference between this and a more traditional research method is that the community isn’t just asked about, but fully immersed in the subject – key voices are literally given a seat at the table, helping brand leaders to make better-informed decisions in real-time.
Not only does collaboration help your brand by revealing potential blind spots or unconsidered challenges, but it also genuinely supports the target community by creating space to truly understand and fulfill their precise needs. It creates a genuine and mutually beneficial support system – and there is no better foundation on which to build a brand.
With that, let’s dive into the most crucial steps for brands when creating impact with co-creation.
First, identify your audience (it may surprise you)
First things first: assuming that a community is one unique, homogenous group of people is a common misconception by some marketing teams. It’s important to avoid this by taking the time to unveil the unique consumer personas within a defined community.
Chances are it’s not just one, or even a few types, but a wide network of people with different experiences, knowledge and expertise. Once you start digging, you’ll be surprised who comes out of the woodwork. Think industry experts, influencers, and everyday consumers.
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Listen and learn
Once you’ve identified the voices, give them a megaphone. Take time to understand their challenges, ask questions, and create a space for openness. Make sure to leave no stone unturned, and certainly don’t shy away from difficult topics.
You can streamline this process by using influencers as your community's proxy. As they’re in constant contact with your target audience and have a platform where they can directly ask questions to their followers, you can count on genuine and diverse feedback. It’s the exact approach we took when working with Stripes, the brand founded by Naomi Watts to support women going through menopause and perimenopause.
We put Naomi and her team in the same room as women who were pro-aging as well as influential voices in the community, so they could ask questions like: what do you need the most in terms of access to support and education around menopause? What is your biggest frustration, and how can we help to alleviate that?
There’s more than one type of insight
As well as being backed by real stories, you need to be backed by real data, especially when you’re talking about women’s healthcare, where scientific accuracy is of the utmost importance.
You’ll want to bring in highly credible experts and science-backed researchers to build trust and a reputation. Layering expert voices grounds your discussions in facts, ensuring your creative process doesn’t stray from the right path and that your brand contributes to the cultural and scientific conversation.
Curate an army of authentic voices
Once you’ve identified your community, understood their wants and needs, and sourced the right data and experts to back it all up, it’s time to spread the word.
To get this phase right, lock in a range of hero ambassadors. This means relatable talent that fits your niche, whether that’s mega, macro, mid, micro or a mix. Just like the creative process itself, it’s important to involve diverse amplifiers who can help to drive localized impact across the range of subcultures you’ll (now) be so aware of.
But don’t stop there. Make sure you get doctors and clinical influencers on board who can serve as direct reports to educate and support audiences. Aim for hard-earned organic advocacy, generated through the community and user-generated content.
The verdict: brands, back yourself
Time and time again, results from the co-creation process prove incredibly impactful; slowly, we are seeing dialogue around women’s health open up. The launch of brands like Stripes, particularly in the US, confirms just how much marketers need to help lead this conversation – not only around menopause but around how women’s issues are targeted and viewed across industries.
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