An organization’s brand is often summarized into a tagline, a rallying cry for what the organization promises to deliver to its customers. Marketing slogans should inspire and motivate customers.
In these two instances of medical marketing slogans, the organizations haven’t fully considered how their taglines are perceived from a patient’s perspective.
UC Health: In Science Lives Hope
Cincinnati residents can’t escape the relatively new UC Health slogan, “In Science Lives Hope.” There are billboards, bus stop ads and radio spots. It’s a memorable and catchy tagline, but it also misses the mark.
I don’t want to hope my doctors can treat me. I want to trust their expertise, experience and intuition. And I think most patients would feel the same way. When a patient is told, “We have this new treatment that we are hopeful about,” that implies high-risk and uncertainty– not what anyone wants to experience in a hospital.
Also, as a Christian, my faith and hope are in God. Hope is a religious and devotional concept concerning the future. For individual patients seeing these billboards, they are concerned with how medical science can improve their health right now. And they don’t want to hope that treatment will work.
James Cancer Hospital: There is No Routine Lung Cancer
As a patient and caregiver, I’ve always been comforted when a doctor tells me that a condition is routine, and we can follow a standard, well-researched path of treatment. Being told that no cancer is routine may personalize the treatment plan, but it also clouds the ultimate outcome of treatment, which can be scary. James Cancer Hospital explains the details of their slogan in this post.
The biggest problem with this slogan is the accompanying image of a diseased lung. Just like with optometrists displaying huge eyeballs or dentists plastering diagrams of implant surgery on billboards, no patient wants to see a larger-than-life depiction of their medical condition. It’s understandable that medical professionals find these images fascinating and compelling, but their patients get a little queasy when confronted with such starkness.
As an aside, the complementary marketing campaign “There is No Routine Breast Cancer” depicts imaging of a woman’s body from the shoulders up. Showing pictures of lung cancer? A-OK. Showing pictures of breast cancer… Too racy? It’s a strange decision to obscure breast cancer when the assumed goal of the marketing campaign is authenticity.