St Jude pacemaker recall
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
31 August 2017
How a brand addresses a pacemaker recall
Our experience in the medical device industry reaches across many of the top brands. Branding St. Jude Medical (now Abbott), working with Medtronic and many others gives us tremendous expertise in this area. Now, there’s a St. Jude pacemaker recall because some are being hacked. Who knew safety was no longer a table stake?
Let me back up for an instant. We were the branding company that developed the “More Control, Less Risk” theme line for St. Jude Medical a decade ago. Market research demonstrates that issues of control and risk are the highest emotional intensities among physicians. So, St. Jude Medical claims it.
The company delves deeply into the pacemaker space, second in the market behind Medtronic. The brand position puts St. Jude into a space of preference because doctors see themselves in the brand.
Now, where does the brand stand with the pacemaker recall?
“Who wouldn’t implant a pacemaker they didn’t think was safe? Picking a pacemaker that isn’t safe is like choosing a beer because it tastes like shit.”
An emotional brand provides cover for issues like a pacemaker recall
Well, with the purchase by Abbott, the theme is likely to go away. Think how effective that brand promise is when considering a pacemaker recall? It’d mean the brand would provide cover.
In fact, those with the pacemaker receive a simple three-second software update, fixing the problem. No big deal, right?
In the field of pacemakers, safety is just a table stake. Who wouldn’t implant a pacemaker they didn’t think was safe? Picking a pacemaker that isn’t safe is like choosing a beer because it tastes like shit. Everybody owns safe.
Now? It depends on the brand. You’re still preferred if the brand gives you emotional meaning that could address safety. “More Control, Less Risk” does that. What does Abbott mean now? Does it align itself with an emotional belief that creates preference? Without a meaningful brand, concerns become greater because there’s no emotional cover.
The lesson? An emotional brand designed to create preference by tapping into the strongest belief in the market gives you permission to address fears. An unemotional brand that features product benefits doesn’t.
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