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Is This Real Life? The Future of Storytelling

Is This Real Life? The Future of Storytelling

August 14, 2017 0 Comments

Say goodbye to fact sheets, print ads and celebrity endorsements and PSAs to get your client’s message out into the world. Consumers are looking to connect with one another through firsthand experiences from others just like them.

As health care communicators, we want to share stories that inspire and motivate the patients and families we serve to dream big, while staying adherent to treatment routines. The use of real and raw narratives can leave a lasting impact and dramatically propel a conversation forward in a way that celebrities and other notable figures haven’t been able to do in the past. There are several reasons why companies are starting to take this approach when it comes to health and wellness education:

  • It enhances patient and doctor dialogue: A strong dialog can foster a positive HCP-patient relationship that could ultimately support shared decision-making as well as improve disease management and outcomes. It can also motivate a patient to stay adherent to their treatment plans.
  • It can encourage two-way conversations and educate others too: By being open and sharing the good, bad and ugly, it may give others living with the same condition the courage to share their own experiences. These types of initial social interactions can ultimately lead to community building and a support network for patients. It also allows patients to be their own advocates, particularly on social media platforms.
  • It establishes credibility: Many patient populations are active online and look to peers for information on treatments, nutrition, activities and questions about daily challenges living with a chronic condition. Often times, the patient voice can be perceived as the most credible source to the community and someone to relate to.
  • It fosters empathy: Communicating about the physical and emotional toll of chronic disease can be really powerful, often times spurring overwhelming empathy for audiences. A great example of this was Excedrin’s The Migraine Experience, which used virtual reality to simulate migraines for those who have never experienced one (e.g. mother, boyfriend, best friend and co-worker). For those that haven’t experienced a migraine before, it was certainly eye-opening and allowed them to understand what others might be feeling.

Finding the right story can be challenging, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. The impact can be far reaching for the community and general public and go a long way in helping drive your and your client’s message. In my experience, it has been very rewarding and inspiring to hear and bring these remarkable voices to life. As you begin looking for your next big creative idea, before recommending a celebrity or public figure, take a moment to think about how real-life authentic patient stories can resonate with your target audience.

To learn more about CCA and the work we do with patients for our clients, visit

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