What Color is Your Stethoscope? Color in Medical Devices
May 29, 2018
Dear House Rules,
Our company has become more involved with medical device manufacturers lately, and we want to understand everything we can about our new clients’ industry. We’re especially looking for marketing ideas for an industry that isn’t known for featuring many active advertisers. Do you have any thoughts?
No, you won’t find a medical device company doing as much advertising – particularly direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising – as its pharmaceutical counterpart. This is because the majority of devices aren’t chosen by patients, but by healthcare professionals (HCPs). HCPs are the ones who need to be convinced of their efficacy, precision, safety, durability, and sterility, and there’s one element of medical devices that is a more powerful influencer than you’d ever believe:
The color, materials and finishing (CMF) category of industrial design can be loosely defined as the use of color to improve a product’s usability or to elicit an emotional response from the consumer. Here are just some of the ways color can play an important role in the design and marketing of a medical device:
- It’s widely known that colors can evoke emotions. Cool colors, for example, are associated with relaxation and tranquility. Yellow and orange are associated with optimism, which makes those colors are great for rehabilitation devices. Medical devices that help physicians to feel confident and in control of the situation can even lead to better outcomes.
- HCP practicality often drives the CMF decisions made regarding medical devices. Medical facilities historically have chosen the blue/green color palette because it reflects the least amount of light and is therefore the easiest on surgeons’ eyes.
- White, of course, is often the go-to color for medical equipment, since it connotes cleanliness and sterility. This uniformity is also boring, however, and the medical space is ready to begin exploring other options.
- Color can also play a functional role, as with cables that need to be hooked up to medical equipment in a certain way, providing a visual cue indicating where the cable needs to be inserted. This can be vital in a stressful, high-activity environment, where often every second counts.
As materials go, plastics are the perfect canvas for CMF, as they allow an almost infinite choice of colors. With plastics, you can get practically any color you can imagine.
The devices may be already designed and developed in a specific color, but the savvy brand marketer will use those colors – and the rationale behind choosing them – to inform all marketing regarding the brand. The client who knows its agency is taking every detail of its product, right down to the product color, into consideration before developing a tactic or recommending a strategy, is going to feel confident that its agency understands its brand. At Xavier Creative House, we’d love to share additional insights such as this with your firm, or partner with you in the future.
Reference: 1: https://www.plasticstoday.com/medical/why-you-should-pay-more-attention-color-medical-device-design/139061179747277. Accessed May 16, 2018.