90% of healthcare professionals agree that purpose matters in brand choice

18 March 2021 – London, UK and New York, USA – New research from Hall & Partners and Porter Novelli highlights the importance of a healthcare company’s purpose to healthcare decision makers

Nine out of ten healthcare professionals (HCPs) said they considered a company’s purpose, particularly how they are working to improve patient care and the healthcare system, in their prescription choices. More than half said this was a strong consideration, according to global research announced today by Hall & Partners and Porter Novelli.

The research, which surveyed 1,600 HCP and payer respondents across the US and Europe, also showed that 8 in 10 payers also considered a healthcare company’s purpose when assessing a new health technology entrant or prescribing. 2 in 10 payers said their purpose should carry a lot of weight in prescribing decisions.

The research study shows that clearly communicating a company’s purpose beyond its product does influence purchasing decisions. It also highlighted a fascinating shift in what purpose means to HCPs and payers and how healthcare companies can begin to address expectations now, in the recovery post pandemic.

When looking at the global response to COVID-19, respondents felt that healthcare companies increased their legitimacy throughout the pandemic, collaborating to support patient care as well as playing a significant role in developing vaccines. A complimentary study fielded by Porter Novelli showed that 1 in 3 of all respondents globally stated the industry has done the best job of supporting coronavirus efforts compared to other industries like financial, retail and travel.

Forging partnerships that deliver better outcomes for patients and addresses healthcare system challenges are what defines purpose for most physicians. Integrating diversity, equality and inclusivity measures or addressing sustainable development goals were also important, but shown to be less so. A majority of respondents (over half of HCPs and a third of payors) felt that the best way for healthcare companies to show their purpose was by partnering with healthcare systems to address current gaps, such as health literacy and home care solutions.

Efforts during the pandemic have demonstrated that pharma walks the talk and brands should not delay capitalising on this newfound trust.

– Stacy Vaughn, Managing Partner US Health, Hall & Partners

“People have been wary of trusting pharma brands to be as altruistic as their mission statements suggest,” said Stacy Vaughn, Managing Partner of US healthcare research at Hall & Partners, the leading healthcare research and insight agency. “However, efforts during the pandemic have demonstrated that pharma walks the talk and brands should not delay capitalising on this newfound trust. There is the potential for healthcare manufacturers to be the role model for the way society and business operate together.”

“By taking leading role in the global response to the pandemic, healthcare companies have been able to lift concerns around their reputation and demonstrate their value and commitment to improving patient lives,” said Lisa O Sullivan, European Growth Lead at Porter Novelli, the global purpose communications consultancy. “Now is the time for companies to play a more active role as an enabler and to plan purposeful strategies over a longer period. Being seen as purposeful and delivering on that promise matters more than ever.”


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