In college, a friend gave me William Gass’s novel, “On Being Blue.” He made the color sparkle in ways you can only imagine. But it’s safe to say Gass didn’t work in healthcare marketing.
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Now when I see blue, I see red. It’s the color cocaine of our healthcare and medical device industries. Blue is cool and calming, but – please pay attention here – it’s not a brand. Some CMOs claim that their blue is better, because it’s a few shades away from a competitor.
In healthcare marketing, blue is camouflage for brands that don’t want to stick out, or get noticed by consumers. Of course, it makes perfect sense for institutions plagued with tepid claims like “We care more,” “Be Well,” or my favorite, “We’re the Gold Standard.”
Consumers want reasons to like your hospital or institution. And they’re desperate to understand your brand in pragmatic terms: “We have more board certified orthopedic surgeons,” “ We’re the hospital for kids,” or “Our device is the most sensitive on the market.” We care more? I don’t think so.
Unfortunately blue is a symptom of the brand blahs. It’s a safe place for designers and marketers to play, because the nuts and bolts of a competitive position just aren’t there.
Breaking out of blue isn’t easy. Chances are the decision was made decades ago when you were still scrawling with crayons. Can we please address this by adding new colors to your palette to balance big blue?
Try a pinch of pink with blue, electric blue and blue, or blue with a dab of yellow. It’s a small gesture that could yield big results. Look at the sea of blue booths at trade shows, and consumer facing websites, print, TV, email, logos. Use it, and blue hoo, you’ll give your customers a reason to pay attention to your marketing and they’ll remember when the time comes, “Take my baby to the hospital with the streak of pink!”