Health is universal and global, yet we experience it individually, personally and locally. It is this essence that drives the innovation that helps us emerge stronger from disruption and contagion. Innovation does more than simply power a multi-billion dollar industry, it powers us forward as a species, and gives us hope for a better tomorrow. For the decade ahead, it’s crucial that innovation is fuelled by what we call ‘Inclusive Intelligence’, a set of behaviours that dentsu has identified will enable brands to navigate the trends in consumer attitudes and market conditions to come.

These trends are at the centre of the dentsu consumer vision, which places 2020 in the rear-view mirror and asks the crucial question: what will happen next? Across four reports, we outline the themes that will shape the next decade and provide recommendations for how brands should respond. A particularly relevant theme in the context of health is Bigger Bolder Brands, which we have chosen as the focal point of this article.

The meaning of Bigger and Bolder Brands

The global pandemic has caused many consumers to reassess their lifestyles, specifically with regards to wellness and wellbeing. Dentsu research found that more than half (53%) of people globally expect to use technology daily to measure aspects of their health in the next 5-10 years. With this trend in mind, we’ll see that larger and more trusted global brands will gain strength and market position – leveraging their extensive customer data to deliver services that empower consumers.

Another Dentsu research project found that one-third (33%) of consumers would consider using a single company for all their lifestyle needs by 2030, including shopping, healthcare and financial services. These select brands will become the lifestyle partners of choice, posing an existential threat to many brands and organisations that don’t adapt. In tandem, we’ll increasingly see that consumer expectations of how they want to engage with healthcare brands (and what they expect from them) is determined by factors outside of health, such as time- and money-saving. Brands that recognise these drivers, acknowledge the individuality of their markets, and demonstrate their understanding of wellbeing’s centrality, will rise to the top. Evolving to keep up with consumers, as well as the competition, is the real endgame here.

The theme in action today

In consideration of this brand model, there is no better example than Amazon. A trusted, broad ranging global brand with whom consumers will come to engage with more broadly and deeply. The sheer volume of its consumer data (and consumer experience), combined with its ability to deliver exactly what consumers want, when and where they want it, is going to provide a competitive advantage for its health business. This 'Amazon Effect', is a phenomenon that Groves and Lawrence suggested will shape a 'future of hyper-personalisation in healthcare marketing'.

As Amazon continues to make significant inroads into a dizzying array of health-related industries they will completely reconfigure the health industry as we know it. By 2018, 49% of all ecommerce activity took place on Amazon. The breadth of Amazon’s reach and the depth of its innovative capacity developed since that time should send tremors through the existing healthcare establishment. Provider and service networks, health insurers, immediate care clinics, remote and distant diagnostic services (telehealth), retail and mail-order pharmacy, electronic medical records, audience segmentation and profiling, and third-party vendor profiling and engagement capabilities, are just a few of its areas of focus.

Fig 1: Amazon’s existing and potential health related opportunities

Key disrupters on the pathway to 2030

Over the past 12 months we have seen dramatic temporary and permanent changes across all aspects of society. Consider the following, specific to health industries:

  • Accelerated adoption of tele and remote health diagnostic tools by providers, healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients
  • HCPs restricting access to themselves, their offices and staff by pharmaceutical representatives, patients and caregivers
  • Payers operating in a dynamic environment that required them to navigate constantly evolving coverage requirements, extended Rx fills, and changing government policy to meet consumers' and employers’ expectations
  • Deferment of regular check-ups, elective surgery and often chronic disease maintenance and treatment
  • Additionally, primary care physicians have acknowledged a dramatic 85% worsening of mental health, 31% increases in addiction, and 37% of chronic conditions getting 'noticeably worse'

These changes will influence individual relationships, as well as our pursuit of wellness, but over the next 10 years, the winning brands will be those that enable, engage and support target audiences on multiple levels. It will be critical to incorporate the following in the development of strategy:

Fig 2: Roadmap of Disruptions Driving the 'Rethink' of Healthcare Delivery

The implications for health CMOs

With a foundational understanding of the consumer’s evolving perspective there are a set of guiding principles to which healthcare marketers can refer, in order to inform best practices and align with the core elements of Inclusive Intelligence which the report reveals. These principles enable brands to connect with their key stakeholders in the most impactful ways.

  • Organisational emphasis on trust and empathy ensures you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of people, and their respective needs better than anyone else
  • One brand/one company is not necessarily a solution. Collaborating across teams, brands and product categories will allow you to go further, do more, and achieve stronger relationships than you could ever realise on our own
  • Leveraging robust, secure and seamless data stacks enables actionable insights by virtue of connected intelligence that informs brand knowledge and provides support for individual pursuit of wellness and personal health

With this foundation established, CMOs will be in a better position to consider how their health operating environment will evolve over the next 10 years, and how can they can take a leading position to leverage these changes, demonstrating the proactivity that Inclusive Intelligence demands.

Kent Groves is global chief strategy officer and Matt McNally global president at dentsu health