Skip to main content


Healthcare Storytelling Part 1: How your organization can supercharge its origin story

A picture book with a mountain

Picture a young man in the 1940s heading west with his sights set on Hollywood. He arrives to little fanfare and struggles to find the fame and fortune he seeks. With a baby on the way, bills to pay, and slim prospects for breaking into the entertainment industry, he turns to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. It didn’t take long for the struggling actor to find success, and, true to his word, in the 1960s, he built a shrine for St. Jude in the form of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This abridged version of the Danny Thomas story is well known — and for good reason. It illustrates why this organization was created. It’s human, it’s memorable, and it doesn’t hurt that it taps into our love of an underdog. While not all organizations in the healthcare ecosystem have traveled such an unconventional path to success, there is no doubt an engaging story hiding in their history. And, after all, if there is one thing that connects us, it’s the love of a good story. Let’s talk about how to draw out the real origin story of your organization.

Is your About Us page pulling its weight?

Just about every organization has an About Us page, and most do a nice job of telling audiences what they do. Maybe the date they were founded, key facts and figures, or a glimpse of the people behind the scenes that bring the company’s mission to life. Keywords like ”innovation,” ”enablement,” and ”evolution” are always plentiful — but it’s much harder to decipher why an organization exists or what their origin story is.

And, for healthcare consumers, these matter. Audiences want to know whom we are buying from, and, particularly when all things are equal, that’s often the factor that will tip the decision-making scales in your favor.

Injecting storytelling into your About Us page is part of the answer, but it also involves thinking about how you can infuse that story into your website, social media presence, marketing collateral, and all of those other channels your brand touches. But first we need to uncover your story.

Find your why

If you’ve never heard Simon Senek talk about the concept of Starting With ”Why”, I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes with him. The basic premise is that consumers don’t buy what you do or how you do it — they buy why you do it. Figuring out the ”why” unlocks your story and creates opportunities to connect with audiences at a deeper level and pave the way for long-term loyalty.

In his TED Talk, Simon uses Apple as his example, but you can apply the same structure to any healthcare or life sciences organization. For example, let’s say you work for a diabetes device maker. Your “what” could be that you make a continuous glucose monitoring device. Your “how” is that you have the most advanced technology and an innovative vision. But your “why” is that you are creating a world for diabetes patients where they can manage their diabetes with freedom and confidence. Now that’s the foundation of your organization. That’s the origin of your superpower. And, most importantly, that’s what will resonate with your audiences.

Build on your origin story

Articulating your why opens opportunities to paint a picture of the future for all of your audiences. It gives you the opportunity to tell stories, and it can (and should) change the way you look at how you create content on your site. My colleague Michael Adkins has much more to say on using storytelling to create engaging content with the hero’s journey in his upcoming post.

But, for now, have a look around your website, marketing and sales materials, and social channels. How often does your origin story pop up? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” let’s look at some ways you can infuse that story around your digital ecosystem:

  • When describing your products, are you the product details into why your company does what it does? And you are describing the product or creating the vision of what the product could mean to the consumer?
  • When developing content for potential employees, are you creating a shared vision of the future that connects into your origin story — a future that their skills and experience can contribute to?
  • When developing post-conversion nurture campaigns, how are you empowering your audiences to live the vision your storytelling has created? How are you setting them up for success?

Good storytelling can tug at the heartstrings and are infinitely more adept at creating connections than factors such as price, convenience, service or other proof points that many organizations tout. Of course, these factors do go into decision-making, and they are details that any good healthcare consumer would want to know. But a good story can truly set your organization apart from the pack.

Our Digital Healthcare Strategy team helps healthcare and life sciences organizations better understand their audiences and create memorable digital experiences. Contact us today for more information.













Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Marlana Voerster

Marlana Voerster is a Senior Healthcare Strategist at Perficient, where she works with providers and MedTech, pharma, and digital health organizations to build brand loyalty and enhance the patient experience through customer-centric digital experiences.

More from this Author

Follow Us