What Should Healthcare Brands Do About Mixed-Reality?
Rico Cipriaso, SVP, Digital Strategy and Transformation
and Eric Ong, VP, Technical Director, Concentric Health Experience
AR and mixed-reality are powerful tools for enhancing visualizations for patients and providers in healthcare marketing.
More immersive digital experiences can drive empathy, helping accurately model experiences and expected outcomes.
Scaling AR experiences to platforms consumers actively engage with is the top executional barrier for today’s brands.
Healthcare brands are ripe for the AR and mixed-reality revolution.
Everyone frets about their health. For someone newly diagnosed with a mispronounceable disease, picking up a prescription from the pharmacy for the first time is the culmination of multiple steps of worry, research, and grappling with challenging content. The pill or injection they receive is a reminder of hope and the possibility of a positive outcome. What if we could reinforce that hope with an experience that truly brings to life the sources of life-changing solutions?
Imagine: a routine scan from your mobile device at the start of your treatment unlocks a window into information about the disease, expected outcomes, and the support you need to get through it. With augmented and mixed-reality, healthcare brands have an opportunity to create dynamic visualizations for patients and providers that arm them with the education to drive better experiences and empathy to drive positive outcomes. AR/VR will help enhance both B2B and B2C efforts.
Imagine: a routine scan from your mobile device at the start of your treatment unlocks a window into information about the disease, expected outcomes, and the support you need to get through it.
Aiding Modern Education
Precision and depth of understanding are essential for healthcare practitioners. With AR and mixed-reality, these professionals’ learning tools can be enhanced with more multi-spatial visualizations of the body, cell and chemical interactions, and more, giving providers the confidence to act decisively in treatment.
We’ve seen that spirit extend beyond university and medical school settings; throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public health professionals and medical influencers collaborated on mobile AR data visualization to help people better make sense of the large amounts of evolving COVID-19 data. Applying simple AR layers to social content can help bring life to flat charts with 3D animation, ultimately driving a more digestible and interactive educational experience.
Driving Empathy Through Enhanced Experiences
We know emotional appeal is the magic sauce of good marketing. Enabling more immersive healthcare brand experiences in B2B and B2C with mixed-reality can give brands the tools to emulate patients’ experiences, model the impact of new drugs, products, and services, and help translate patients’ lived experiences. In our award-winning work for Sunovion, we leveraged VR to bring Lonhala Magnair’s in-person, interactive “Room to Breathe” to more healthcare providers. We rendered the home of a user of the drug in VR to showcase how each room of the house reflects the product’s unique features, including nigh silent administration, quick nebulization time, and convenient audiovisual feedback. The campaign grabbed the attention of prospective targets in an eye-catching way and helped place them in the patient’s shoes.
These mixed-reality approaches can also arm those suffering from chronic health ailments with tools for better communicating their needs and experiences. Excedrin’s 2016 Migraine Experience VR campaign used mixed-reality to model the audio, visual, and spatial effects a migraine can have on a patient, adding an experiential layer that helped drive added empathy. Their effort went beyond the VR headset experience to include a mobile app version that let anyone share the experience with loved ones. With the world returning to the office from remote work, healthcare brands will have many opportunities to generate compelling mixed-reality content about navigating and advocating for support in this evolving health environment.
Finally, B2B healthcare marketers exhibiting at trade shows can integrate mixed-reality into their product demonstrations and showcases to enhance the persuasive element of their presentations.
What to do?
- Think beyond a standard deliverables list, to envision impact first.
- Seek partners that understand the current martech landscape wand are committed to experimenting with new storytelling methods.
- Always develop a plan and allocate funds for extensive testing.
Exciting possibilities await healthcare brands with mixed-reality, but executional barriers remain, from closed Martech platforms that don’t yet allow AR or VR executions to the difficulty of getting mixed-reality experiences into the hands of target audiences. Rolling out an AR or VR experience now often means introducing a new platform to consumers – and we know consumers find difficulty in leaving an already-familiar walled garden. As a result of this, while the idea behind an experience may be great, brand efforts end up shifting from building more engaging experiences to solving the issue of sourcing new products and tech solutions to make mixed-reality. Realistically, brands will need to create these experiences on apps and platforms their consumer bases already engage with, or the bar is high for scaling adoption.
The good news: more investment in mobile mixed-reality makes this a ripe time to experiment with these new digital marketing tools to ensure your brand is prepared to leverage emerging mediums of storytelling and consumer connections.
Now is the time to stretch your creative possibility and think beyond a standard deliverables list to envision impact first. Being able to experience healthcare solutions is more potent than simply knowing about them – how can you use mixed-reality to drive more effective marketing?
Second, seek partners that understand the current martech landscape and are committed to exploring how newer storytelling mediums unlocked by emerging technology integrate into omnichannel marketing efforts. Be critical about whom you work with: they should be conversant in the potential of mixed-reality while nursing a healthy skepticism for the tactics needed to scale consumer adoption.
This leads to our final advice: always ask your mixed-reality partners to develop to plan and allocate funds for extensive testing. Because of the high engagement barrier inherent in these solutions, you want to ensure your brand comes to your customers with a fine-tuned, new and expansive way of telling your story, absent any kinks in the user experience.
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