Part 1: The Power of Sensory Branding—What You See

As humans we are very visually-oriented. In fact, studies show that ninety percent of information transmitted to our brains is visual. The colors, shapes and images we view communicate complex stories, emotions, impressions, associations and moods.  

Because healthcare is filled with every kind of human emotion—from the joy of birth to the grief that accompanies illness or death—the power of the senses (especially vision) can create a strong identity for your organization and a solid emotional bond with the population you serve.

The Visual Expression of Your Brand

In healthcare, very careful thought must be given to how people visually experience your brand. Unlike a product—which is an impersonal physical item that people evaluate before they buy—healthcare is very personal. Patients don’t “buy” healthcare—they experience it. They want to feel a deep emotional connection.

That emotional connection happens when you:

  1. Discover Your Culture

It is imperative to know and understand your culture before you begin any type of branding.

  • Why do you exist?
  • What is your purpose?
  • Which feelings best describe you?
  • How can your unique purpose be depicted visually?
  • What does your brand sound like? (Our series will cover this.)
  • What is your brand voice? (We’ll also discuss this in this series.)

At Hailey Sault, we have a process we call Stand Up Branding that gets to the very core of these important questions. It is specifically designed to discover your singular purpose—your why—and translate that into a uniquely powerful, emotional brand.

Once we discover that emotion and what differentiates you as a healthcare organization, we can begin to engage your audiences with the sights, sounds and words that will inspire them to fall in love with you.

  1. Open Up Your Brand

Most sensory information is processed outside our conscious awareness, but that doesn’t mean that it goes unnoticed. Your brand identity is built on visual elements that include your logo, typography, graphics and imagery, as well as colors, shapes and textures. These elements generate emotions and feelings that create strong and relevant perceptions of your brand in the healthcare consumer’s mind.

Each element plays a role in impacting your audience. Combined they create communications that generate a set response at the point of contact. The right photo conveys the compassionate and expert care you provide cancer patients. A typographic treatment compels someone to learn more about how you can help them with a chronic disease. The correct color motivates a man to click on a digital ad about colon cancer screening.

Here is an interesting statistic. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65 percent of the information three days later.

When you open your brand up to include engaging visuals, you can grab your audience’s attention at a level that creates a very strong, memorable connection.

  1. Know The Medium Equation

This is an obvious statement, but one that is ignored more than you may think. Each communication medium—digital, social, print, television, collateral—is a different animal. They work differently. They each live in their own environment with other messages surrounding them. Your audience interacts with each differently. A clear understanding of each medium and your objective for each is needed, as well as some forethought about how your brand can be visually interpreted using that medium.

Use the structure of your brand identity to create visual impact in each medium. Allow your audience to enjoy the experience of your brand in their medium(s) of choice. Don’t crowd a digital ad, allow print to contain one impactful visual message, show it all in collateral and get emotional with video.

The Right Visual Is Worth A Thousand Words

Emotions form the basis of thoughts, and what we see fuels those emotions, wielding the power to persuade, to tell a story, to induce to action. Healthcare is filled with emotions—anxiety, stress, fear, sadness, guilt, grief, joy and happiness, hope and on and on.

Being acutely aware of your brand’s visual identity and how it can be used to communicate the emotion of healthcare can put your marketing efforts over the top.

Don’t miss the next two blogs in this series, when we discuss how your brand sounds and your brand’s voice.