Brand Matters: The Healthcare Sector

5 min readOct 20, 2021

There’s been a huge surge of people looking for an alternative to the NHS, this means private healthcare companies need to pay a lot more attention to their branding.

Private healthcare Insurance was already growing before COVID-19 hit, but the pandemic has brought about a fast and significant uptake in both private healthcare insurance and usage.

“Compare the Market said there had been an average 40% increase in year-on-year private health insurance sales over the past seven months”
The Guardian []

Private healthcare used to be something considered only for a certain section of society, it was much more of a lifestyle service. Now, more and more people are exploring it as an opportunity to skip the increasingly long waiting times at the NHS, which have reached record levels.

NHS waiting times are at a record high

“Around 5.45 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of June — the highest since records began in August 2007”
Sky News []

This places a lot more emphasis on how private healthcare companies brand and market themselves. Previously, they were quite passive and there wasn’t much sense of competition as there was a much more natural customer journey that funnelled the right people towards them. Now the market is opening up to new audiences; audiences who are asking different types of questions and looking for different things. An audience who is coming in unsure, anxious, and cost-conscious rather than confident, assured and cost indifferent.

Healthcare Companies have to ensure that they are ready for this new audience. These people won’t be naturally funnelled towards them, they’ll be starting their searches from scratch just like other consumer industries. That means it’s vital these brands are nailing their positioning, story and messaging, ensuring they are all factoring in these new audiences. Once the branding side is sorted, it’s then about making sure people can find them, and that their communications are clear and well-structured to give them the information they want and create the right customer journey.

We’ve been working with private healthcare provider, Healthier Weight, on their brand and marketing. They provide weight loss solutions in a highly competitive market and came to us because they knew their brand wasn’t compelling enough and needed help to improve their digital marketing.

The first task was to understand their audience; the key was to explore the emotive reasons they needed private healthcare and why they chose Healthier Weight. We could then pull out the common themes and use them to build a brand that would resonate with the target audience, helping to establish a deeper connection beyond just stats and costs.

What we discovered was that there are generally three C’s of Healthcare Branding.

Credibility — Many are switching from the NHS, an institution that they know they can trust. Going into Private Care feels like entering the Wild West for many of these people, they are very wary of which brands they can trust.

Care — This isn’t just about the level of care, but the feeling that the brand they are dealing with understands them, and has a genuine interest in their wellbeing. Healthcare brands can’t appear too transactional, cold or clinical, and this is where the importance of emotive messaging plays a big part.

Clarity — There’s a temptation in the healthcare sector to overload patients with information. While the aim of keeping the patients informed is correct, the actual effect is often overwhelm and confusion. Good branding is about breaking down the key aspects of the offering into easy-to-manage bitesize bits.

Once our strategy teams had done their part, it was over to our digital team to review and optimise their digital marketing. We rebuilt their website and created landing pages to match specific marketing messages, and optimised the entire site from an SEO perspective. We then took the new brand messaging and implemented them across PPC campaigns.

The results were immediate: we achieved the lowest CPA and highest CTR in history for Healthier Weight’s PPC campaigns. Before starting, organic traffic was close to zero and grew to over 10k users a month with a 7% conversion rate. PPC CPA dropped by nearly 50% from £14 and PPC conversion rate increased by 50% from 9%.

“We got Orb in to review and make recommendations on the development of the Healthier Weight brand and our performance marketing. The attention to detail and quality of research was particularly impressive, as it turned out to shape a robust, dynamic, and accurate Brand Strategy and outstanding digital marketing performance. We went from having a lack of clear vision and structure, to a cohesive, clear, and joined up brand strategy and better digital marketing performance than we could have hoped for. We are now embarking on the next phase of work to evolve the brand identity”

Sam Davies, Commercial Director, Healthier Weight.

Having done numerous projects for the NHS in the past it’s been interesting working within the private healthcare sector. There are so many brands in this space that simply haven’t put any thought into their brand and the landscape feels like a forgettable, homogenous pile. It feels like this industry isn’t ready for the changes that are happening.

Some healthcare brands are starting to realise though; we’ve just partnered with Healthshare for a really exciting project. Healthshare is an independent supplier of healthcare supporting the NHS, as well as private patients, with their growing volume of private patients they have recognised the need to pay attention to their brand and digital strategy.

Through a research process that involves all their key stakeholders, we will uncover their brand experience and purpose, and use these as the building blocks for a new brand strategy and evolved brand identity. We will then be reviewing their digital strategy and building a new website that showcases the new brand effectively.

It’s an exciting time for the private healthcare sector as well as for us at Orb!

If you’re a healthcare organisation and don’t feel like your brand is strong enough then get in touch today about how we can help:




We are Orb, a creative agency built on Better. Everything we do is to make your business Better.