“We need to get creative.”

If you’re a health care communicator, you’ve probably heard (or said) this phrase a number of times.

When tasked with sharing clinical findings, medical recommendations and trial data with those who need it most in a way that resonates and cuts through the clutter, “be creative” becomes the health care marketers’ mantra.

But finding the balance between a creative strategy and an informative one can be tricky. Target audiences are not one dimensional. It takes more than just the clinical data, and more than just a fluffy creative tag line to truly connect. Marketers need to understand how to communicate the 360-degree impact of their product on their audiences’ lives.

Creativity in health care communication needs to ladder back to their root concerns and appeal to their ultimate motivators. 

After all, we’re only human. Even when we care about a topic, messaging that fails to make the topic feel real, relevant, and captivating often makes our eyes glaze over.

Creativity can take many different forms, but there are a few clear signs your creative campaign will actually resonate with your consumer.

Your creativity supports your message. 

There’s creative, and then there’s what I like to call “kooky.” Don’t get me wrong – kooky, over-the-top ads or marketing materials can have their place, especially if your goal is to simply capture attention in a crowded space where new, ground-breaking information is less common.

But there are dangers that come with being too over-the-top with your creative communication. When your creativity comes across as “silly,” your audience may start to see your brand as less-than-credible. And if you’re being so kooky that your message gets muddled, you’re doing yourself an even bigger disservice.

Creative strategies don’t always have to be showy. Low-key creative tactics can be more impactful in disseminating information and keeping your audience’s attention. At the end of the day, your creative campaigns should support your message, values and brand purpose.

Your creativity is authentic. 

Sometimes, we can be so focused on making sure our strategies are creative that we forget we’re discussing real issues people are dealing with, not just as patients, but as humans. Rather than using creativity to gloss over the seriousness of these issues, it should be used to help strengthen your brand’s authenticity and connection to your audience.

For example, while educating about the importance of an annual flu shot for one client, we created a campaign that featured people who had experienced the flu firsthand. We brought their unique and personal stories to life in a way that stayed true to what they went through (frequently using their own words), while conveying the key messages and call to action that our target audience would need for the content to resonate and drive action.

Your creativity is strategic. 

Integrating creative and strategy in health care communications is more difficult than many other industries. Health care brands are bound by communication regulations that, at times, are at odds with our most creative, compelling ideas. Finding a way to convey the human story, adhere to strict FDA rules, and balance the overarching goals of our companies and brands can be a juggling act.

It takes the right amount of time, resources, and research to put creative, strategic, informative communication methods into practice. Factor these elements into your timeline and campaign budget from the start to avoid having to settle for creative-ish.

Yes, creativity can be hard, especially when it comes to health care, but if making your brand message stick with your audience is a priority for your brand, creative communication should be too.

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