Be “Relatable” to Increase Patient Volume

Martin Lindstrom

Imperfect moments = real life and real life = relatable.   Relatable can be a powerful driver to get at risk people into your healthcare system. 

I was involved in the production of  a television commercial series, some years ago, for an Academic Medical Center to raise donations. 

Retired medical professionals were asked, “what medical advances had occurred in their lifetime?”  

Seems like a straight forward question.  But the interviews were anything but straight forward. 

The answers were honest, shocking, personal and even uncomfortable

In one interview a man broke down, recalling a moment seeing his father peering at him through a window after being quarantined with polio as a young boy. 

On camera this man and his story were raw, awkward, honest, human and utterly imperfect all in the same moment. 

Marketers often want to shout great achievements at their targets.Afterall the core of his story was not about great medical advances, it was about a scared boy and his dad.   So, it took some convincing to keep this story in the finished series. 

This simple story spoke significantly increased donations by inspiring medical advances than shouting ever could. 

Turns out the point of medical advances is to save us for moments like that in our life.  

In an article in Fast Company Magazine, ‘Why Brands Should Strive for Imperfection,” Martin Lindstrom uncovers much the same thing.   He discusses how imperfections make products and services relatable. 

Some moments that seem to reflect negativity of a marketers brand can actually best relate to their audience. 

So now you must ask:   Are you shouting what you want people to know? Or are you giving people something they can relate to? And what ever you do, please don’t ask patients to be your actors. 

The honest patient story is more powerful.  And more relatable. 



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