Responsible marketing in women’s health: How to highlight credibility and educate consumers

The women’s health gap equates to 75 million years of life lost due to poor health or early death per year; the equivalent of seven days per woman per year. Across the UK, Femtech start-ups, organisations and brands are working hard to address women’s health issues and overcome gender biases in healthcare and medical research. 

However, recent research published by the BMJ has raised concerns about corporations co-opting feminist messages around women’s well-being to promote useless health tests and treatments. The research points out how these marketing messages echo those historically used to promote harmful products like tobacco and alcohol to women.

This comes soon after The Lancet’s study on the over-medicalisation of the menopause in recent times, which garnered a lot of attention in the UK media, concluding ‘Although management of symptoms is important, a medicalised view of menopause can be disempowering for women.’ 

As this new research states, promoting healthcare interventions that are not supported by evidence, or while concealing or downplaying evidence, increases the risk of harm to women through inappropriate medicalisation, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment.

PR therefore plays a vital role in ensuring brand messaging shared with these audiences through earned media coverage is balanced, considerate and clinically sound. 

Here, we outline five ways in which brands can ensure they are communicating responsibly to their target audience, by highlighting credibility and educating consumers through their women’s health marketing campaigns. 

Evidence-Based Content

Audiences are now far more likely to question and consider the science behind the information and advice they consume from brands – and so it’s more important than ever before to provide content backed by medical research and evidence. This could include articles, blog posts, or videos explaining various aspects of women’s health, citing reputable studies and sources. By emphasising evidence-based information, women’s health brands can establish credibility and trust among consumers.

Expert Interviews and Collaborations

Collaborate with healthcare professionals relevant to the wider women’s health sphere, such as GPs, gynaecologists, dieticians, and psychologists, to create informative brand-friendly content.

Much like questioning the science behind branded content, consumers are now also more likely to interrogate the background and experience of a so-called ‘expert’. Social media has played a role in this, due to the huge number of unqualified content creators speaking out on medical issues – and so brands should take this diligent approach when it comes to expert collaboration.

Once you have appointed expert/s that you trust, PR can work to create impactful speaking opportunities for them with media that will resonate with your target audience. This approach helps consumers feel confident in the information provided by the brand.

Transparent Product Information

If the brand sells health products or supplements for women’s health concerns, ensure transparency regarding ingredients, manufacturing processes, and any relevant certifications or approvals. 

As an example, in the last decade, there became a firm expectation for health brands in this space to be transparent around whether their product was vegan friendly or animal tested. Fast forward to today, this has evolved into a keen interest in how ingredients are sourced, or whether the ingredient or formula was in its optimal form – linked to a growing consumer awareness of ‘bioavailability’ and efficacy. We’ve seen this in the viral Magnesium Glycinate trend. 

For supplement brands with ambitious marketing plans, this means communicating the presence of cost-saving or understudied materials to audiences in a clear way. Avoiding or trying to bury this kind of information whilst proactively pushing your product to consumers as a desirable, quality choice can result in mistrust – negatively impacting the brand if picked up by a news outlet or on social media.

Providing detailed product information and explanations of how each ingredient benefits women’s health can help consumers make informed choices and build trust in the brand. 

Interactive Tools and Quizzes

Develop interactive tools or quizzes that allow consumers to assess their health status or risk factors for certain conditions. These tools can be based on validated assessments and algorithms, providing personalised insights and recommendations. By offering such resources, brands empower consumers to take an active role in managing their health while demonstrating expertise in the field. We have seen this done successfully with the likes of Hertility, Daye, and Kindra.

Community Engagement and Support

Create online communities or forums where women can connect with each other, share experiences, and seek advice on various health topics. Brands can moderate these platforms to ensure accurate information and provide input from healthcare professionals when needed. By fostering a supportive community environment, brands not only educate consumers but also demonstrate their commitment to women’s health and wellbeing. Flo’s ‘Secret Chats’ App function is a great example of how brands can foster openness and sense of community amongst users.

Women account for 80 percent of consumer purchasing decisions in the healthcare industry – and so their influence and power in this regard should not be underestimated. By implementing these strategies, women’s health brands can effectively highlight credibility and educate consumers, ultimately building stronger relationships and loyalty within their target audience in what can be a noisy and overwhelming space for consumers. 

If you would like to discuss how our specialist Healthcare PR team could help with your next women’s health marketing campaign get in touch today.

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