Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on May 22, 2017

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A Healthcare Branding Prescription from Vince Parry

vince parry on brand

“Brand identity helps doctors see the patient behind the condition.” Vince Parry has spent his career at the forefront of the healthcare branding industry. He has launched some of the most iconic healthcare brands, such as Lipitor, Botox, and Prozac. He has also been instrumental in transforming the way society is educated about illness and the possible options for relief. We discussed all of this and more on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

About Vince Parry

Vince Parry, a 30-year veteran of the health and wellness communications industry is the founder of the Parry Branding Group. Throughout his distinguished career, Vince has worked on many of the most well-known corporate, franchise, service, and product brands. He was previously the Chief Branding Officer at inVentiv Health, the Founder and President of Y Brand, the Founder and President of GSW NY and the Chief Creative Officer at Sudler & Hennessy.

Vince has appeared on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and BBC radio, has been featured in Medical Marketing and Media, PharmaVoice, Pharmaceutical Executive, and MedAdNews, and guest lectures at the Rutgers Pharmaceutical MBA program on healthcare branding. He’s also the author of Identity Crisis: Health Care Branding’s Hidden Problems and Proven Strategies to Solve Them.

Episode Highlights

Why is healthcare branding so different? “The big difference between consumer branding and healthcare branding is that consumer branding is a celebration of self. The new iPhone reinforces your identity. With healthcare branding, it restores your identity. It restores what an illness has taken away. It’s a protection.”

Healthcare branding and storytelling. “Illness is a great drama.” That’s because it comes with an antagonist. Something else that you’re fighting against. “Take overactive bladder vs. incontinence. Overactive bladder personifies the illness.”

“You can’t walk into a store and buy Lipitor.” We talked extensively about the challenge pharmaceutical marketing presents as the end-user can’t buy the product. But they can ask the physician. Vince stressed that you still need to educate the doctors on the drugs and illnesses as they don’t like being uninformed.

What can other businesses learn from healthcare branding and marketing? You have to learn about your customers and asking questions is the best way to do that. “But you can’t ask direct questions like ‘How do you feel about this?’” Consumers today are informed about market research and can inadvertently skew their responses. That’s why you need to approach them in an indirect manner.

What brand has made Vince smile recently? “If it’s a real smile I’d say the New York Yankees — because they’re my team, my brand.” Then Vince pointed us to more of a “shaking my head” smile at pharmaceutical brand Movantik, for their creation of the concept of opioid-induced constipation. “You mean … constipation?!?!” joked Vince.

To learn more, go to parrybranding.com.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …Recently, Seth Price gave us a shout on Twitter for our episode featuring his Road to Recognition co-author Barry Feldman. Thanks for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. He also teaches at the University of Iowa and is host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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