An Unfamiliar Story: Using Digital Narrative in Marketing

Human beings are fascinated by reality. Unfortunately, they are not enraptured with their OWN reality, but the reality of others. Genres such as investigative reporting, documentaries, true crime, medical realities, and even realities about people who are dealing with compulsive disorders are some of the highest-rated, and most-watched programming in the world. Why is it that we crave the opportunity to peek into other people’s lives?

The Nature of the Beast

Humans are, by instinct, voyeuristic. We are nosy, peeking out the living room curtains when we hear a ruckus, driving by the same house trying to determine if someone is home. WE are all alike in that we are nosy, er, deeply interested in the lives of others.

Some say that this voyeuristic nature has more to do with genetics that it does emotions. Our ancestors told stories, sacred stories, to preserve their history. Over time, the stories either evolved into parables or legends. It was the prehistoric form of the podcast or the digital narrative.

No matter what the procedure or the catalyst for the procedure, your patients had a reason for their elective surgeries. With some, it might have been maintenance. With others, and these are the stories you want to find, the elective surgery meet some deep-seeded need in them that stemmed from an emotion or a place where they felt they were lacking. Odds are, there are hundreds of potential patients who share those same emotions and feelings and are in the contemplation stage. If only they could hear from someone similar, find out how it felt to go through the process with you and your staff, take a peek into the life of someone who has taken the step they are considering.

Shooting for Legendary Status

Keep in mind that the digital narrative, once completed and fully produced belongs to you and you can do with it whatever you want. But there are specific kinds of stories that make better narratives when it comes to marketing.

We want to talk to the patients that affected you on a more personal level. We want to talk to the patients that your staff connected with, looked forward to seeing, cheered on when there was difficulty. We know that there is a certain degree of detachment in a medical setting. But often, the doctor/patient relationship becomes more than skin deep. Patients often see you not only as a doctor but as a resolution to a problem they have dealt with, possibly their whole lives.

The digital narrative must be emotional.

It must be a rescue story without a hero, and that can be difficult to achieve. The truth of the matter is that while it would be easy to focus on you and your practice as the hero, your reach to potential patients will increase exponentially if you allow the patient to be the hero. It shows a great amount of empathy and delivers a message that your put patients first. You and your practice are the means to an end – the patient couldn’t have done it without you. That is the legend that we want to share.

How it Works to Your Benefit

This is a process that has several stages. You could say that right now, your are in the incubator stage.

Let’s break it down so you have the big picture by way of the small components:

  1. Incubator – You have read through this blog, and no doubt, one or two patients have come to mind. When you get a moment, write down their names on a piece of paper and put it on your desk, where you can see it. Now we are going to allow those names to simmer in your mind for a couple of days. You will return to the piece of paper as you think of words that either describe their experience as you, the doctor, perceived it, or described your experience.
  2. Action/Inaction – On about day three or four, you will either have written some words on the paper, or you will have forgotten the paper existed. Both are perfectly ok. This is the stage where you decide that you don’t have time right now or you are just not convinced (inaction) or that you want to move ahead with this project (action)
  3. Momentum – If you are deciding on action, this is the stage when you make contact with Caledon Virtual’s visual strategy team. We will speak with you and schedule a kick-off meeting that will provide us with details about your vision for this project, the timeline, how you want to use it, and when you want to get started.
  4. Forward motion – Your practice will be given a list of things to do, mainly contacting the patient and finding out if they are interested in being featured. Caledon Virtual will be busy gathering video components, creating titling, working on color schemes and preparing the shell of the digital story.
  5. Tiny Celebration – Caledon Virtual will ask to meet with you, the patient and anyone else from your practice that you feel would be valuable in this project. We will ask you to tell the story in tandem with the patient – patient/doctor/patient/doctor – that helps us get a rhythm and a tone for the project. We expect this meeting to be emotional, so be prepared. The reason that we call this stage “Tiny Celebration” is because we now understand the relationship, the feelings, the vibe and the direction of the story. Oh, and we will probably cry as well…
  6. Logistics – Caledon Virtual will handle all logistics. From videography to interview questions to scheduling the shoot either in person or virtual, requesting additional assets from you and your patient and making certain that everything follows HIPAA guidelines.

From there, it is just a matter of using compelling footage to tell a compelling story. Depending on your location, logistics, and other factors, it is process that can be completed in as little as two weeks. That is optimal as far as we are concerned. And then we have an asset, a stand alone asset independent of any other factors, that belongs to you.

If you would like to begin featuring patients telling their stories of how you have helped them overcome or change for the better, Caledon Virtual has the process and strategy in place to make that happen. Call today to find out more or to speak with one of our visual strategy specialists.

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