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AWARENESS ISN’T ENOUGH ANYMORE
Jay Bolling
Contact Jay
President & CEO
Roska Healthcare Advertising


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Traditional DTC efforts are based on the premise that mere consumer awareness of the problem (disease), and the solution (Rx product) will motivate people to call their doctors and discuss treatment of their medical conditions with specific brands. But research (like the 2006 CommonHealth linguistic analysis of DTC advertising’s influence on physician-patient communications) confirms that only a small percentage of the target consumer population will take any action at all based on these "awareness" efforts, let alone request a branded medicine.

It’s hypothesized that those who take action are only the ones who have been considering treatment for awhile and the advertising helps accelerate their predisposed behavior. The vast majority of consumers are not ready to take action so are relatively unaffected by traditional DTC advertising. Most potential patients are caught in a gap between awareness and action, and won’t pursue Rx therapy as a result of DTC ads. As a result, these advertising efforts are inefficient and not a good choice to maximize brand ROI. Even if the goal were to raise awareness of a medical problem, there may be better methods than DTC/TV.

Today’s DTC communications must use interactive techniques that go beyond "awareness" to motivate and engage consumers to take the required action (pursue Rx therapy). This shift, from awareness to action, is achieved only by gaining patient acceptance — i.e., the realization that seeking out solutions and treating their conditions are positive steps toward a healthier life and better lifestyle. These messages must be applicable across all media channels and leverage new technologies to gain this "acceptance" and increase the number of potential patients who take the desired action.

To move patients from awareness to action, and align Rx brands with relevant content, marketers must look at the three distinct stages that define acceptance:

Avoidance   Assessment   Acknowledgement

Each stage presents different "hurdles" (that are characteristic of the psychosocial behavior that defines each stage) and "solutions" (that help motivate patients to change mindset and progress across the continuum to full acceptance). Since we can’t "proactively" know in which stage each member of our target audience resides, effective DTC communications must address the hurdles/solutions in all three stages of acceptance so patients can find themselves (self-identify with the "hurdles" and associated "solutions").

Within each stage, messaging techniques are used to get the audience’s attention and prompt them to "engage" with the communications — techniques such as:

Personification

  • Allows patients to "see themselves" and the consequences of their inaction (defined in the Edelman Health Engagement Barometer) and is especially useful to engage those patients who are avoiding their condition
  • Acknowledges their condition, provides empathy and emulates the "loved-one connection"
  • Leverages "life moments" to help shed light on the potential problem

Personalization

  • Leverages 1-to-1 communication techniques that are especially valuable to engage patients in the assessment stage
  • Uses "story-telling techniques" to help patients feel like they’re not alone and removes the potential shame of inaction (to date)
  • Provides a foundation of "trust" and "credibility", painting a realistic picture of the potential problem and solutions (unlike the "fairytale" images/messages so characteristic of traditional DTC advertising)

Projection

  • Uses communication techniques that help patients "visualize success" and acknowledge their need to take action
  • Provides a "roadmap" for action and helps remove the barriers associated with treatment (health literacy, access, cost, etc.)
  • Confirms the functional/emotional benefits of taking action
  • Empowers patients to take responsibility for their health/well-being
Acceptance Model

Roska Healthcare Advertising has developed the Catalyst™ Brand Acceptance Model, a proprietary approach to DTC communications that addresses the ineffectiveness of today’s DTC/DTP advertising by motivating patients, which maximizes brand ROI. It bridges the gap between awareness and action, and establishes a solid foundation for longer-term, adherent patient behavior. It was developed with input from a behavioral psychologist at the Wharton School of Economics, and is based on historical work from the Health Belief ModelKübler-Ross Grief Cycle and the Prochaska & DiClemente Stages of Change, as well as our 20 years of experience in developing/implementing DTC & DTP initiatives.

For information on how you can apply the Catalyst™ Brand Acceptance Model to your DTC efforts, contact Jay Bolling at jbolling@roskahealthcare.com or 215-699-9200.

Jay Bolling
AWARENESS ISN’T
ENOUGH ANYMORE
April 2011
Jay Bolling
President & CEO
Roska Healthcare Advertising

Traditional DTC efforts are based on the premise that mere consumer awareness of the problem (disease), and the solution (Rx product) will motivate people to call their doctors and discuss treatment of their medical conditions with specific brands. But research (like the 2006 CommonHealth linguistic analysis of DTC advertising’s influence on physician-patient communications) confirms that only a small percentage of the target consumer population will take any action at all based on these "awareness" efforts, let alone request a branded medicine.

It’s hypothesized that those who take action are only the ones who have been considering treatment for awhile and the advertising helps accelerate their predisposed behavior. The vast majority of consumers are not ready to take action so are relatively unaffected by traditional DTC advertising. Most potential patients are caught in a gap between awareness and action, and won’t pursue Rx therapy as a result of DTC ads. As a result, these advertising efforts are inefficient and not a good choice to maximize brand ROI. Even if the goal were to raise awareness of a medical problem, there may be better methods than DTC/TV.

Today’s DTC communications must use interactive techniques that go beyond "awareness" to motivate and engage consumers to take the required action (pursue Rx therapy). This shift, from awareness to action, is achieved only by gaining patient acceptance – i.e., the realization that seeking out solutions and treating their conditions are positive steps toward a healthier life and better lifestyle. These messages must be applicable across all media channels and leverage new technologies to gain this "acceptance" and increase the number of potential patients who take the desired action.

To move patients from awareness to action, and align Rx brands with relevant content, marketers must look at the three distinct stages that define acceptance:

Avoidance   Assessment   Acknowledgement

Each stage presents different "hurdles" (that are characteristic of the psychosocial behavior that defines each stage) and "solutions" (that help motivate patients to change mindset and progress across the continuum to full acceptance). Since we can’t "proactively" know in which stage each member of our target audience resides, effective DTC communications must address the hurdles/solutions in all three stages of acceptance so patients can find themselves (self-identify with the "hurdles" and associated "solutions").

Within each stage, messaging techniques are used to get the audience’s attention and prompt them to ”engage” with the communications – techniques such as:

Personification

  • Allows patients to "see themselves" and the consequences of their inaction (defined in the Edelman Health Engagement Barometer) and is especially useful to engage those patients who are avoiding their condition
  • Acknowledges their condition, provides empathy and emulates the "loved-one connection"
  • Leverages "life moments" to help shed light on the potential problem

Personalization

  • Leverages 1-to-1 communication techniques that are especially valuable to engage patients in the assessment stage
  • Uses "story-telling techniques" to help patients feel like they’re not alone and removes the potential shame of inaction (to date)
  • Provides a foundation of "trust" and "credibility", painting a realistic picture of the potential problem and solutions (unlike the "fairytale" images/messages so characteristic of traditional DTC advertising)

Projection

  • Uses communication techniques that help patients "visualize success" and acknowledge their need to take action
  • Provides a "roadmap" for action and helps remove the barriers associated with treatment (health literacy, access, cost, etc.)
  • Confirms the functional/emotional benefits of taking action
  • Empowers patients to take responsibility for their health/well-being

Acceptance Model

Roska Healthcare Advertising has developed the Catalyst™ Brand Acceptance Model, a proprietary approach to DTC communications that addresses the ineffectiveness of today’s DTC/DTP advertising by motivating patients, which maximizes brand ROI. It bridges the gap between awareness and action, and establishes a solid foundation for longer-term, adherent patient behavior. It was developed with input from a behavioral psychologist at the Wharton School of Economics, and is based on historical work from the Health Belief ModelKübler-Ross Grief Cycle and the Prochaska & DiClemente Stages of Change, as well as our 20 years of experience in developing/implementing DTC & DTP initiatives.

For information on how you can apply the Catalyst™ Brand Acceptance Model to your DTC efforts, contact Jay Bolling at jbolling@roskahealthcare.com or 215-699-9200.


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