In our quest to highlight the power to break the non-differentiating established health and science marketing and advertising rules, we created a “revolution" based vintage collection featuring events in history that shifted cultures and redefined political systems by challenging dogmas. There are many lessons one can gleam from these revolutions. For us, behind these events we see an analogy to the global health and science marketing and advertising industry. An analogy that helps illustrate the pressing need for differentiation in a market rife with conformity and ruled by outdated doctrines. Through these collected illustrations, we hope to inspire health and science brands, by showing them the power of radical differentiation and by granting them insights into the meaning of “brand supremacy". This original illustration is the first piece in this collection of three, and focuses on the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
The autumn of 1917 was a defining moment for the people of Russia. Driven to the limits of their tolerance for a system that unjustly benefited the few while punishing the many, these motivated men and women moved to overturn the autocratic regime that shackled them to the bonds of Depression-like meagerness. These people, the Bolsheviks, overcame a significant challenge in their attempts to remove all aspects of this unbalanced system from their lives. In doing so, they installed a provisional government and, for the first time in over 900 years, returned control of the country back to its people, ushering in a bold new direction for the country.
A similar form of tyranny is alive and well in the health and life science industries. You see, under this regime, companies are called to stick to rigid and unjustified conventions in their marketing and advertising: keep the colors blue, use lots of negative space, focus on technical, and never shy from using stock imagery of doctors or researchers that everyone else is using. The assumption is that if you want your company to have credibility in this industry, this is how you are expected to market yourself. This is how you are expected to think. This is how you are expected to look. However, to blindly obey these rules is to embrace conformity and forgo your brand's chances at supremacy.
When every health and science brand looks the same, there is little to no room for any brand to stand out and thrive. As a result of this, more established brands remain the default choice for consumers, and thus they get to keep winning. The point is that a handful of big brands win, and everyone else doesn't. In other words, the few continue to benefit while the masses suffer. Just put yourself in the decision maker's shoes for a moment. In medical imaging for example, “No one gets fired from choosing GE" (heard that before, right?), but the same cannot be said when you order systems from a less recognized brand.
Just like in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, it's time to takes action, time for a different way of thinking, and above all, time for a revolution. Considering the similarities between their plights, health and sciences brands would be wise to follow the Bolsheviks' example: When the old ways no longer work how they should, it's time for a change. It's time for radical differentiation.
Some brands have already taken the extreme opposite path to radically differentiate themselves. Brands like Benetton. More than your average fashion company, the Benetton brand has made it their mission to defy marketing and advertising norms at every turn. Rather than keep the message on the clothing they sell, Benetton uses their marketing and advertising to spark discussions about important social topics.
Closer to home, brands like Life Technologies, Illumina, and Sequenom have occasionally followed similar approaches, challenging the doctrines of an industry in their own unique way. In their ad aimed at oncology researchers for the Solid 5500 series, Life Technologies took the road less traveled for life science tools providers. Rather than harbor on technical, product-focused language and imagery, they chose the path of purpose driven research and emotion. Using the imagery of a young cancer patient whom their technology was designed to help, Life crafted a campaign that succeeded in making the 5500 more than just another cookie-cutter life science product brand. Targeted result: convey that the 5500 empowers oncology researchers to ultimately make a tangible impact on patient's lives.
Illumina similarly defied industry conventions with its MiSeq campaign. Featuring imagery of a researcher and her MiSeq sequencing system, this campaign took on the stereotype of cold, logical researchers, and turned them into warm, engaged people. The female researcher in the ad stands in such close proximity to her new sequencing system, and with such enthusiasm for it, that the reader cannot help but empathize with her, her feeling of ownership and her sense of joy. Targeted result: researchers to want to “own" their sequencer and reach the same level of excitement as the female character in the ad, based on the promise of what the instrument can do for them.
In the case of Sequenom, we can vouch for the power of differentiation personally. As the ad agency for their ADME PGx Panel campaign, instead of focusing on the product, we focused on the result of the technology in an interesting and unconventional way. Barring the use of product or technology, we chose the ultra-simple imagery of “the different ant" to symbolically convey the power of Sequenom's panel to help researchers easily and reliably identify sub-populations in drug metabolism. The result: convey purpose, simplicity and assurance. Moreover, not only was this differentiated campaign successful at connecting with Sequenom's target audience, but the uniqueness of the imagery was so stark and vibrant that Sequenom even received requests to have the campaign printed as posters for distribution.
By approaching their campaigns in a less conventional way, these brands helped differentiate themselves and their products from the competition and rose above the pack, with quantifiable results.
Just like in the Bolshevik Revolution, it's time to embrace new schools of thought. It's time for the marketing and advertising stalwarts of the health and life science industries to spark their own revolution. It's time to shoot for brand supremacy.
Brand Supremacy isn't about subtle or incremental improvements. It's about market domination through disruptive marketing and advertising. Unlike the trial and error method – a.k.a. the old way of doing things – Brand Supremacy generates higher ROI on your marketing efforts faster and in larger amplitudes. This approach works in two key ways: developing radical differentiation and crafting transformational brand experiences. Both of these come through leveraging four core strategies. We call these strategies “secrets" because so few in the health and science industries truly understand how to leverage them and the success they can bring.
Join the revolution. Fight doctrines. Achieve brand supremacy.