KISS – Healthcare and the Potential of Simplicity

By Guy Mastrion

As a Creative Director in advertising Ive always considered my ultimate task to be making complex ideas seem simple. To boil down the promise of a brand to its essence is a process of subtraction.

I appreciate well-designed and simple objects, ideas, visualizations, whatever. Lets just keep it simple, especially in this day and age of over communication.

Many, many moons ago in a time far away I went to Parsons School of Design with the intention of becoming a photographer. Over the course of my study I became a student of design as well. Both disciplines compliment each other because to be effective at both requires being a good editor.

The camera is an editing device and there is much to be seen when working with a camera in hand. But if we put the camera down and start “thinking like a camera, the full potential of this type of simplicity begins to make itself apparent. To see the challenge before you and begin to frame it, to break it down, to find the most meaningful and relevant parts and exclude the rest are the first steps in crafting a meaningful solution.

These days, were bombarded with streams of communication, both personal and commercial. And at such a rate as to make life miserable for anyone foolish enough to even attempt to keep up with all the options available.

As a result, consumers are increasingly becoming minimalists; they are becoming editors, by necessity if not by design. So how best do we serve up an idea to a minimalist? We must find new ways to simplify.

For a deeper understanding of simplicity I direct you to the master himself, John Maeda and lawsofsimplicity.com. On his blog and in his book Maeda gives us 10 laws of simplicity, a thoughtful journey to the heart of the matter.

Technology may be enabling all the mayhem around us, but it is also going to provide the solution. First we have to train ourselves to show some restraint, like a camera, and frame the most salient and needed bits of information. We must simplify.

The blessing and the curse of digital communications are both its seemingly endless depth and the proliferation of seemingly endless channels.

We need to bring simplicity to bear to help consumers manage the load. Brands that can deliver on simplicity will have a real advantage today and for years to come.

Consumers of healthcare products and services face myriad challenges and often a very complex set of decisions if their health goes south.

With so many products available, often with very similar efficacy and safety profiles, any brand in order to differentiate itself for doctors, other healthcare workers and the consumer-patient market in general, must provide a clear and concise benefit in a simple and accessible way.

Healthcare brands, particularly those in the pharmaceutical space have a demonstrated inability to edit effectively. By including everything, everywhere, in every possible way, we communicate nothing. Simplicity is not achieved. Opportunities are lost for the brand. Worst of all, the patient in need may go without the best of care.

What do you think? Are healthcare communications in need of an overhaul so they can embrace simplicity?

How can we use digital media, as a camera, to help re-frame a brand to deliver simplicity?

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