As a pharmaceutical marketer, instilling trust in HCPs and patients is vital. Trust in a pharma brand’s data and claims opens the door to increased engagement. One method other industries have been using to successfully forge trusting relationships with customers is brand worldbuilding.
Let’s step back for a moment and briefly discuss what worldbuilding is in general before we dive into its use as a pharmaceutical brand strategy.
At a basic level, worldbuilding is defined in its name. It’s the process of building a world for the stories we read or watch unfold in movies, television, and videogames. The tools needed to do so? Setting, language, rules, mood, etc.
Think of a story you love now or one you adored as a child. You likely aren't bombarded with nostalgic snippets of dialogue but rather flashes of the setting. You might recall the story's emotional atmosphere (its mood). Whatever comes to mind is the result of worldbuilding techniques used within that story.
When powerful worldbuilding is at play, your surroundings fall away. Your mind clears, allowing you to focus on the story in front of you. You are locked in.
Worldbuilding elevates a story, just like it can elevate a brand.
What is a brand world?
A brand world is the curated space you create for your customers.
It reflects the values of your brand and distills its essence so that customers aren't confused about what your brand stands for.
Most of all, a brand world is immersive.
Orangetheory is a prime example of a company utilizing immersive brand worldbuilding. It has built a recognizable (and loved) world of vibrant orange, motivational messaging, splat points (a term coined by Orangetheory), and more.
If well-developed, pharmaceutical brand worlds can capture and hold the in-demand attention of HCPs and patients, nurturing that aforementioned sense of trust, once they feel comfortable operating within your brand world.
Pharmaceutical brand worldbuilding steps
Example 1: Mucinex
Creating a trusted world for your brand, product, or service starts with streamlining your messaging and designing relevant content that amplifies your brand’s voice—all while ensuring compliance, of course.
What content constitutes your brand world? Newsletters, websites, Instagram Stories, blog posts, tweets, etc.
Be consistent across channels to uphold the self-imposed rules of your world. Without consistency, your pharmaceutical brand world will fall apart.
Take Mucinex, for an OTC example of pharmaceutical brand worldbuilding. Mr. Mucus, Mucinex’s gross glob of a mascot, is a vital organ in the body of Mucinex’s brand world.
You’ll find him on packaging, Instagram, in Mucinex commercials, and so on. He is practically synonymous with Mucinex. I, for one, picture him when I picture the brand. He sets the tone for Mucinex’s brand world, reflecting that “zombie feeling” Mucinex fights.
Mr. Mucus strengthens the consistency of his brand world. Consistency breeds familiarity, which, in turn, breeds loyalty.
Additionally, when an HCP or patient comes to rely on a pharma brand to "speak" to them in a particular way, they place a certain amount of trust in it. Each time that their expectations are met inspires more confidence in that brand and its distinct world.
Example 2: AbbVie
While Mucinex's worldbuilding shines because of its main character, AbbVie's worldbuilding rests on its welcoming messaging.
Across social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn, AbbVie shares graphics, articles, studies, etc., that carry the same tone of togetherness while still providing important information to visitors.
One hashtag used by AbbVie is #BelongAtAbbVie, which pushes for every variety of inclusion.
Here are some welcoming phrases pulled from AbbVie's posts:
- Families come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter what they look like, each one matters.
- Helping employees be their best selves includes supporting them to care for their #MentalHealth as much as physical health.
- Make a positive impact for future generations.
- Why isn’t medicine one size fits all? As our scientists explain, the more we understand about patients’ unique genetic makeup, the more tailored our medicines can be.
AbbVie’s pharmaceutical brand world is open to all, fortified by its consistently inclusive and thoughtful messaging.
Build a detailed brand world with digital storytelling
Digital storytelling combines storytelling techniques with immersive technology to bring brand narratives to life.
A snackable digital story, as designed by STORYSOFT, is an innovative platform to leverage to bring your brand world to life. It takes digital storytelling to new heights.
Let's take a look at the immersive world of our NUULIFE demo story. NUULIFE is a treatment to help patients suffering from depression. The brief seven-page story pulls in its brand's soothing blues and powerful purples. The tone is consistently positive, given NUULIFE’s brand world is characterized by hope.
Page one introduces the slogan of the brand world, “help your patients regain their love of life,” while also beginning a story about a young man struggling with depression. When done thoughtfully enough, patient stories should pluck at HCPs' heartstrings (the instrument of empathy).
Worldbuilding + digital storytelling + branding = marketing magic.
Pharmaceutical worldbuilding has its restrictions. Your world and its stories need proven safety data, ISI, etc. It's not as simple as fictionalizing a patient experience and setting your brand loose in a hero's cape.
When creating a STORYSOFT Story, none of that is an issue because our builder uses approved brand assets to keep MLR teams happy.
A digital story defies the rigidity of pharma while complying with its regulations. What more could you ask for?
Note: While you’re fleshing out your brand world, remember to use user experience (UX) laws as a guide to ensure HCP and patient satisfaction.
A constellation of digital stories for HCPs and patients
Once you’ve perfected the inner world of one digital story, create another, then another, connecting them to build an immersive pharmaceutical brand world that spans the benefits and uses of your brand.
Consider it a valuable constellation of stories that showcases why your brand is the best option for specific HCPs and patients.
There’s no limit to the types of digital stories you can weave into your brand world: focus on a real patient’s experience using your brand; go over treatment options; introduce a nurse navigator; create an engaging patient registration form; appeal to HCPs with a mix of personalization and hard data; and so on.
When viewed as a grouping, those stories represent your brand holistically, which is a far more powerful approach than treating stories as isolated, one-off experiences.
A force of a pharmaceutical brand world is born, one which HCPs and patients can enter whenever they need more information about your brand.
One way to give HCPs and patients easy access to your brand world is by embedding your digital stories into your website.
Think of your website as a home base for your brand world. Every story can be stored there, the breadth of your brand's capabilities conveniently placed for customer consumption. Plus, as with all STORYSOFT stories, it's all personalized.
How worldbuilding can benefit pharma brands in the future
Pharmaceutical brand worldbuilding is just the creative marketing solution the industry needs to boost HCP and patient engagement.
In the ever-advancing digital landscape we occupy, digital storytelling gives your brand world an edge, as well as the gift of a wide online audience.
To grab the attention of that audience, you need to stand out. HCPs and patients are inundated with marketing content. It’s time to get building so that you can welcome them into your brand world and earn their time and trust.