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The “doctor” will see you now

|November 26, 2015

Fitness, wellness and healthy living in general are relatively recent phenomena. Remember those Jane Fonda aerobics videos? At the time, they were ground-breaking. Remember when health food stores were for “crunchy granola” types? Now they’re mainstream, with Costco projected to sell over US$4 billion in organic food in 2015 alone – more than Whole Foods! More than ever, people are pursuing lifestyles that embrace health and wellness.

Self-diagnosis, or “DIY healthcare” is also mainstream now. Access to a family doctor (if you even have one) is limited, while at one’s fingertips, Dr. Google offers ready advice. With an unending stream of experts, recommendations and new products on offer, how can today’s consumers find sound answers to their questions about prevention, therapy and healthy living? How can a wearable device help them improve their exercise routine? Which cold medication, which painkiller will provide them with relief? Which new diet will best fit with their lifestyle to help them lose weight?

The July 2015 issue of McKinsey Quarterly reported that over-the-counter drugs, along with travel and investment, were the top categories where consumers turn to social media for recommendations, leading to product purchases for 40-50% of them. This is double the average of 26% across all product categories.

So how can organizations in the consumer health and wellness space make their voices heard over the cacophony of so-called health gurus and celebrity experts? How can they cut through the clutter and show consumers that they care?

At NATIONAL, we attack this challenge from the consumer’s point of view. Through our unique Belief Based Behaviour (BBB) methodology, we use digital ethnography to analyze thousands of online conversations, in order to better understand the consumer’s mindset when it comes to health matters. This research approach goes beyond the rational needs to uncover deep-seated emotional wants. Why do a 20 year-old hockey player in B.C. and a 62 year-old translator in Quebec both favour mindfulness exercises and a holistic approach to their health? It clearly has nothing to do with their socio-demographic profile. By better understanding the values and beliefs that drive consumers’ choices for treatment, we help consumer health organizations connect with their customers on an emotional level, inform them in more meaningful ways, and speak with them in a language they understand.


Find out more about NATIONAL Public Relations’ work in Healthcare


Written by David Mann

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