e4m Health Communication Conference: Consumers understand genuine intent: Shivam Puri
Puri, CEO of Cipla Health, spoke of the state of the healthcare industry and what it takes to build a strong brand in the space
Thanks to changing technologies and the rising consciousness among people, the healthcare industry has been booming and how. No wonder healthcare generates such a high revenue.
Keeping its relevance in mind, at the first edition of the e4m Health Communication Conference, Shivam Puri, CEO, Cipla Health in his keynote session shared his learnings on what it takes to build a strong brand in the healthcare space.
Puri started off by highlighting self-care as a concept and noted how the Internet, with its access to health-related content, has brought about a sea change for the industry.
“Some years back, access to information was very limited. We had this family chacha family mama we used to call for all health related questions. All we had our own family doctors that used to go to. Today you see these videos online put up by regular consumers, reviewing products, and talking about how to use the product and what does the product does. Videos put up by some random individuals, clock 10,000 15,000 hits. And the fact remains that we believe that the guy on the internet, who has a good number of views, at least talking about something credible.”
He pointed out that there is a lot of communication being floated by regular individuals today. And this, he said, has gave way to the healthcare industry boom. Within that, self-care is growing by leaps and bounds.
Citing one of the recent works of Cipla with one of the top four consulting companies, Puri revealed that 40% to 50% of healthcare tomorrow will actually get driven through the concept of consumerisation.
Puri pointed out that “natural” is a big emerging phenomenon in self-care. “Patanjali succeeded because of course the products are priced right, there's a lot of faith in the promoters who are running the product and also because there are these natural ingredients that the products have.”
This boom of natural carriers, he said, has in a way also translated into growth of self-care as a concept in the industry.
Moreover, he suggested, “Everyone knows consumer is the king or the queen, but you know when we actually end up making product related decisions especially in the healthcare domain, we are so confident of our own understanding that we actually lose touch with the consumers, but it actually has to go to the consumer, ask them a few insightful questions.”
Puri shared an instance of Cipla’s work for its popular smoking cessation product, Nicotex and how a consumer insight helped the product grow further. “We asked consumers ‘What do you think about us and what do you think about the brand?’ One thing that they said is ‘Despite having heard of the brand for multiple years, we still don't fully believe that a chewing gum can actually help me quit smoking.’ This is serious business,” he contended.
What Cipla then did was that they went back and changed the communication. “It essentially goes down to the consumers’ world, and talks to him or her as a friend and says that it's okay for you to try and fail, but let's do this thing together. We have seen the impact on the brand since it went live with this communication, the stats have actually grown by double the rate of what we saw over the years,” Puri added.
Another key takeaway was that consumers understand the difference between genuine and fake. “You can't fool around with the consumer. They see through what you're talking about. When the intent is right in any sort of activities that you're doing or actions you're doing, any attempt at making a genuine difference to the lives of the consumers, they pick it up,” he remarked.
Furthermore, he observed that taste democratises healthy products. “So every time you have a product, if you really want to democratise it, it has to be super tasty.” Another learning he shared is that doctors remain the strongest pillar of brand equity in this industry. “Don't ever assume that to communicate, you will get a few influencers and the product will become a hit. You need to ensure that doctors like your product, so they might not recommend your product because of course of the nature of OTC industry, in many cases, but they should really genuinely like your product,” Puri explained.
He advised that in the health industry, influencers, key opinion leaders and testimonials have a very large role to play. “It’s about changing the mindset in terms of saying, let me bank on testimonials and few opinion leaders to form the strong nucleus or the foundation of the brand,” Puri asserted.
He stated that for driving accessibility or democratising your product by actually giving it on a low price doesn't necessarily mean that you do it for cheaper. “It essentially means that you actually do it at a lower price by giving a lower dosage or a lower size of the product because consumers might not understand what certain categories in the space do for them. You have to convince them to adopt these products by building relevance of the product,” Puri said. He established that the key task continues to be continued relevance in order to make a mark in the healthcare category.
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