Bill Swanston

We all know some stories by heart. The tortoise and the hare. The Good Samaritan. Stories are as old as humankind. In the most ancient caves you will find stories drawn on the walls of great hunts and conquests. Storytelling is at the heart of who we are as humans.

So what makes storytelling so powerful?

To answer that question, it will help to take a look at this video:


What did you see?

When this video was shown to a group of 36 people in 1938, there were all kinds of responses to that question, ranging from domestic abuse, to bullying and more. People said things like “That triangle is mean” or “He’s going to hurt that child!” Only one person said that this was a video of two-dimensional shapes moving on a plane (that person was probably an engineer).

The point is that humans are wired to absorb information through stories. When there isn’t a story, we make one up to make sense of it.

This is because stories tap into our human sense of empathy. We are able to put ourselves in the shoes of the participants to feel lessons and retain the information of the story for ourselves.

Storytelling in Healthcare Marketing

As marketers, we have access to one of the most powerful storytelling mediums ever created: Video. But often healthcare marketers fail to take advantage of the true potential of this medium. Don’t believe us? Check out some of the footage below. We think you might find it familiar…


Breaking the Mold

As you can see, there’s room for improvement, and plenty of opportunity to make your healthcare brand stand out from the noise. By breaking away from the expected visual clichés of white coats, pats on the back, holding hands, etc. permeating the marketplace, healthcare marketers can harness the power of storytelling to help their brand stand out among their peers. Let’s look at a couple of examples of unexpected healthcare ads from Frederick Swanston.

Reinventing the Testimonial

Testimonials are healthcare canon. And why not? Patient stories are often powerful and heartfelt. But with so many testimonials being used by healthcare brands across the country, how do you make sure your stories get heard, and remembered? Here, we decided to take a unique approach that told the patient stories while also emphasizing the brand promise of “Expert care for every unique individual.” Take a look to see the result:


Every hospital has stories like these. But by telling the story in an unexpected and one-of-a-kind way, the ads become memorable and stick with the viewer way more than a traditional testimonial would. This maximizes the potential of video in telling a brand story.

And the beauty of video is that it can be used across channels. See below for examples of how this format played out on an extended version on the campaign landing page, and a :15 teaser video that was used as a pre-roll ad.


When video storytelling is used correctly, it can be a powerful tool healthcare marketers can wield, to help their brands achieve their goals. So don’t settle for the typical approach that many healthcare brands take.

Telling Your Own Story

Every great story starts with a central theme. That’s the heart of your brand. Without this, it will be impossible to tell a cohesive, memorable story. Here are some questions you can ask yourself about your brand to get to the core of your story:

• What makes you unique?
• What can you do that no one else can do?
• What problems are you solving?
• How are you a hero?

Once you have answers to these, you’ll begin being able to craft your own story.

If you need help developing strategy, or producing video for your healthcare brand, reach out to Frederick Swanston. We would love to talk about how we can make your brand stand out.