Reputation and Relationships Create, Build and Sustain Brand Value

Guest Post by Gil Bashe, Managing Director, Health, Finn Partners

Israeli healthcare and tech executives are reconsidering how to set direction for their companies. The focus has moved from short-term sales and marketing to building a market-leading enterprise that demonstrates life-changing health system value. When the end-game is market traction, the business and tactics must change. Growing a sales and customer base requires a differentiation and value-building strategy.  Complimentary to short-term sales efforts, public relations, public policy and patient and professional advocacy can are also contribute to long-term success.
In healthcare, clinical and engineering outcomes do not assure commercial success.  The United States healthcare marketplace is undergoing fundamental change, with seismic shifts in consumer and Provider decision-making. American consumers, and their physicians, base decisions around two fundamentals: convenience and cost. Ultimately Payers – who reimburse or cover the cost of care – set the tone for a brand’s success. 
In some notable cases, perceived “sure things” have failed spectacularly, due largely to the multiple decision-makers influencing access to care.  One example is the PCSK9 cholesterol drugs. These wonders in genetic science were stellar in clinical studies and, so far, have hit the wall in reimbursement.
For Israeli companies targeting US hospitals and Providers, convincing the end-user their innovation can improve care or reduce cost is not enough. The American health system has myriad layers – that can delay or derail life-saving products from ever reaching patients.

Results from a 1,000-person US Finn Futures survey, to be presented for the first time at mHealth Israel on February 18th, show consumers who change health insurance plans frequently switch primary care physicians just as often, requiring them to be the owners of their medical history and regimen. Consumers cite their primary care physician as the most trusted source for medical information; however, more than two-thirds see those doctors only once or twice a year and change primary-care physicians as often as they change insurance plans - frequently. This lack of medical provider continuity is one of the many innovation door-openers that Israeli healthtech companies can potentially address. Many Israeli healthtech enterprises recognize this dynamic and are turning Payers into loyal fans. 

Israeli companies can confuse corporate visibility with holistic user value, based on a narrow interpretation of public influence. It’s not news articles alone; rather, it’s about when physician, payer, policymaker, pharma, MedTech companies and patients are talking about how the product and its application are important to care. Thought-leaders repeating how the technology or therapy is changing the standard of care is the currency of success. Target customers look for opinions of hospital centers, patient groups and professional advocacy organizations. Patients, physicians and payers ultimately shoulder the burden of advocating for product access. Seasoned marketing teams will activate these decision-making communities as part of their public relations/public affairs efforts.

Beyond traditional media, Israeli marketers must have solid partnerships with leading third-party groups that cover their therapeutic category (e.g., the American Heart Association, American Pharmacists Association or National Organization for Rare Disorders) to secure their advocacy voice. These groups place patient before profit. Smart reporters are more interested in the voice of the marketplace than clever corporate White Papers. In choosing an agency and allocating budget for public relations/public affairs, consider how the brand will create, build and sustain value. While visibility is important, reputation and relationships are the foundation that determine long-term credibility.

Gil Bashe, Managing Partner, Health, Finn Partners, will be one of the keynote speakers at the mHealth Israel conference. Click HERE to book a 1x1 meeting with Gil.