Futureproofing healthcare communications

In the last few years, as COVID-19 made its much unwelcome steps across the globe, we have seen a renewed public interest in health and healthcare. Prior to the pandemic, interest in health – especially in India – was often seen through the lens of government initiatives to improve delivery of healthcare amongst the less privileged sections of society. COVID-19 changed all that. People now want information on how best they could keep themselves healthy. It is here that communications plays a great role in strengthening the bond between the public and health and pharma brands. A bond between equals and one which is not established only when there is a crisis.

Recent studies have suggested that, amongst the challenges presented before the healthcare sector, the three top issues are unequal access to healthcare and health services, employee well-being and the ongoing mental health crisis. Given that audiences expect the health sector to have the greatest impact on positive change in the world in the next six months, we are at a critical juncture now.

 This is also a time for both public and private sector executives to communicate and show genuine care towards their customers, their employees and their business. This is the triple duty of care that must be performed to build future credibility and wellbeing, with open communication being the key.

 What then must be done to ensure that communication between the public and the healthcare sector remains robust and resilient in the coming days?

 Ramping up Tomorrow’s Communications

To start with, healthcare brands should focus on effective communication with their target audiences. As vulnerable populations are more receptive to messages that are in keeping with their realities, it pays to focus on local realities when engaging in communications.

 Secondly, nothing helps more than the demystification of science. If the pandemic provided a silver lining, it was the fact that when conveyed in simple language, public health information can reach the masses effectively. The fact that most Indians are double vaccinated proves this point!

 Then again, healthcare firms should tread carefully and maintain clear communications. It pays to take nothing for granted while enjoying the brand’s “moment under the sun”.

 Building a Purpose Legacy

 Lastly, nothing helps more than building an authentic purpose legacy that people can identify with. To future proof, healthcare communications should focus on larger social issues. Today there is a newfound recognition of the health sector’s association with social issues; there is also an understanding that healthcare delivery and the health of the environment and people are closely tied. Audiences expect the health sector to have the greatest positive change in the world; however, this is tinged with a degree of cynicism. This is where continuous and consistent engagement is called for to future proof communications between the healthcare sector and society in the coming days.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.
These articles were published in the PRAXIS 2022 special edition print magazine of Reputation Today.

Juhie Gorwara
Juhie heads brand, communications, digital marketing and CSR for Philips in the Indian Subcontinent, and is a part of the India Management Team. Prior to joining Philips, she was the Global Marketing Leader at Aricent (now called Capgemini Engineering) where she led the global marketing portfolio including Communications, Digital Marketing, Events and Demand Generation across APAC, US and Europe. Before Capgemini, Juhie has been in leadership roles in marketing communications at IBM, Avaya and Yahoo. She started her career at Lowe (Lintas) in India.

Juhie has 20 years of work experience in Strategic Marketing, Brand and reputation management, Public Relations, External and Internal Communications, Digital Marketing, Demand Generation, Events and M&A strategy. Having worked in India, the United Kingdom and the United States, Juhie has the ability to adapt quickly to various businesses, industries and stakeholders.

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