Physicians (And Patients) Are Moved by Stories, Not Statements « Return On Focus --- http://returnonfocus.com --- Return On Focus

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    Physicians (And Patients) Are Moved by Stories, Not Statements

    August 26, 2011

    I recently received my second report of a ‘failed’ messaging research project from a client that was looking to ROF for some evidence-based diagnostics (or as I call it . . . sanity check).  Both Clients used the term ‘failed’, not I.  In looking at the stimuli and methodologies for both projects, I came back to a simple tenet that I learned long ago from personal selling.  The tenet is that physicians are moved by stories—not statements—and these stories must be written for them, not by them.

    Doctors are not marketers, yet traditional messaging validation techniques often ask them to act as if they were, by laying out dozens of discrete messages before them and then asking them to rank which are most compelling.  This democratic approach to message development is comforting yet suboptimal, because it gives the client a false sense of security that the brand messages are being presented in the right order.

    There are two fundamental flaws in this approach at the end of the day.  First, physicians are human beings and as such, they base their decisions on reality, not potential reality. It is really just simple human nature.  Opinions are grounded in what is and not what can be, which allows them to quickly discard messages that don’t align with today’s reality.  There is much evidence within communication theory that demonstrates, quite simply, that we don’t know what we want until it’s been shown to us.

    Second, is the difference between presenting robust factual evidence and the power of a compelling story based on these facts.  The vogue term now is “storytelling” because it accurately describes how most people process and internalize information – as part of a story with a beginning, middle, and end.  What physicians ultimately remember is a theme or vision, not a series of disconnected bullet point messages.

    It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and start telling your Brand story. Not sure how?  Give us a call.

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