Neon and 90NORTH on Practicing Empathy in Healthcare Messaging

To avoid authoritative marketing, our people from Neon and 90NORTH share how they’re advancing in healthcare messaging by practicing empathy. 

Jesse, Managing Director at Neon, shared how his team addressed the issue of domestic violence empathetically with the campaign “The Last I’m Sorry.” During a three-month research process, Jesse and his team brainstormed reasons someone may stay in a dangerous relationship. To help domestic violence victims find a way out, the agency put up over 330 billboards nationwide with the words “Are you living in fear of the next ‘I’m Sorry?’” The billboard included a link to a hub of resources for those in need – thelastimsorry.com. For victims who may have someone watching their every move, the website has a safe search feature.   

“People could see it without being blamed for looking at it,” said Jesse. 

Hilary, President of 90NORTH, describes how the agency uses an “empathy engine” to understand the pain points that have caused patients to stop seeing a physician or taking their medication to craft messages that are “warmer and more welcoming.” Qualitative research from doctors, patients and nurses provides insights to why patients don’t take action to better their health.  

“Authoritative marketing forces you into a directive that you should be doing something,” Hilary said. “When you help people make their own decisions, that comes with a certain self-motivation. We’re really trying to understand what people are going through and what is plaguing them in their quest to improve their health.”