Jason Voiovich, VP, Marketing, Analytics & Research Services, Logic PD
*This is part 2 of a two-part series on the legal impact of traditional medical devices finding their way to home use. Yesterday, we looked at the broad macro trend of traditional medical technology finding its way into the hands of the average patient. Today, we’ll explore the branding implications of this trend.
Before we go too far in today’s discussion, we need to get one thing straight: Today’s med-tech product isn’t really a product at all.
Oh sure, there’s some sort of sensing or treatment delivery “device”, but when that device is actually just a collection of sensors that were in your smartphone or smartwatch anyway, is it really a “separate” device? What I’m getting at is that we need to broaden our thinking about today’s med-tech device in order to get our hands around the branding challenges.
Today’s med-tech “device” (if we want to keep calling it that) is actually the combination of three separate but interconnected parts:
- The “device” itself, with all the caveats noted above
- The interactive service provided (often experienced via a subscription, but also delivered on-demand)
- The aggregated data generated from all devices in the field (yep, you guessed it, “Big” data)
There are plenty of ways to define a brand, but I tend to like the simplest one best: A brand is a promise. When you think about it that way, it begs three important questions that will help us unpack the challenge here: To whom are you making the promise? What exactly are you promising to do? And what benefit will that person (or persons) receive?
Three components of a modern med-tech device. Three important branding questions. Let’s go!
Of course, this is just skimming the surface of the branding and legal strategy you’ll need to have in place as you work in this brave new world. We haven’t even talked about privacy, security and notifications (the core of HIPAA protections). We also haven’t explored all of the new stakeholders in this value chain, especially the provider and payer networks.
But we don’t need all of the details in order to start thinking about the implications of this trend now.
Take it from me: We see a lot of cool stuff in the product development pipeline at Logic PD. We work with the med-tech companies coming up with these ideas, and without divulging anything confidential, it is pretty cool stuff. It will absolutely improve people’s lives.
But if we botch the launch with off-the-mark creative strategies and weak branding, these products will struggle to reach the market. Simply adapting the “clinical” brand to reach a “home” audience will not work. The devices themselves might be less complex than their hospital-bound cousins, but their branding strategy is far more challenging.
The new product pipeline is typically 12-24 months, and the device-makers have already started. As branding and trademark folks, that means we’ve got time, but not much of it.